November 14, 2012
Like most people, I’m familiar with common beauty products that alter a woman’s physical appearance like hair dye and eye shadow, but I wasn’t familiar with similar products that change the appearance of women’s genitals. In the current issue of our newsletter, The Women’s Health Activist, NWHN's Senior Program Coordinator, Kate Ryan and Program and Policy Director, Amy Allina explore the known and unknown health consequences of a range of products and services that make that claim. Check out an excerpt of the article below or read the whole thing on the NWHN website.
Heart-shaped pubic patch? Take it all off? Vajazzle it with sequins? Deodorant? Bleach? Cosmetic surgery? There’s an astounding range of products and services available these days for changing the appearance of female genitals. Go online and you’ll find both discussion and debate about these practices. The debate often comes down to two questions: is it feminist? And, is it harmful to your health?
According to the cosmetics industry, there are many things about your genitals that you need to change… including the color. Fortunately, they can help you with bleaches and temporary dyes. Creams like Bleach Babe promise to get rid of the natural coloration of the skin around the vagina, while products like My New Pink Button promise to “restore the youthful pink color back to your labia.” My New Pink Button is a temporary vaginal dye that comes in four shades of pink and is applied to the inner labia using an applicator like one you use to apply eye shadow. While the company’s website doesn’t make it clear exactly how the product works (and they didn’t respond to our queries), it does imply that using My New Pink Button will improve your sex life, claiming “it will bring out that sexy, hot pink I am fired up look,” “it will bring out the animal in you,” and “tonight it’s show time.”
Read enough of these ads and you’re likely to be left with the sense that somehow the vagina you were born with isn’t quite right. What you won’t get is any reliable information about whether these bleaches or temporary dyes work the way the manufacturers’ claim they do and whether they pose any risk to your health. But whether you think a little vajazzle will add sparkle to your life or not — and whether you want to spend money changing the look, smell or color of your genitals — you should have full information about the benefits and risks of the options you’re choosing between, including what is not known, so that you can make a real choice about what’s best for you.Thank you,