The Sexist

Sexist Beatdown: Vajazzling, and its Inevitable Male Counterpart, Dickerating

The modern vagina.

Vajazzling, the latest trend in Swarovski crystal vaginal bejewelment, debuted on the national vaginal stage this January. And somehow, it has not yet retreated to the dark recesses of minor celebrity Jennifer Love Hewitt's panties, from which it came. Vajazzling has reinvigorated Hewitt's celebrity ("It shined like a disco ball"). Vajazzle specialists are popping up everywhere ("Aww, c’mon, this is gonna be great by the time you’re all done Vajazzling!”). Vajazzling has even caused one man, who we will call Jason, to look directly at a vagina ("It’s mesmerizing . . . This is probably the longest I’ve ever stared at a vagina").

In this edition of Sexist Beatdown, Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown and I discuss the latest trends in Vajazzling (vajazzle your vagina in the shape of a vagina!), why some men who like putting their penises inside vaginas are adamantly opposed to any other aspect of vaginas, and vajazzling's inevitable male counterpart: Dickerating.

SADY: I have to tell you, to see you here today is as dazzling a sight as a gloriously bejeweled vagina!

AMANDA: Ah, yes. A butterfly bejeweled vagina or a kitten bejeweled vagina? For vaginas come in many forms of bejewelery.

SADY: I myself am having my vagina bejeweled with the face of Biggie Smalls.

AMANDA: From what I understand, the only shape in which you can not bejewel a vagina is the shape of a vagina, as I suspect the motivation of Vajazzling is to distract from the idea that the vagina is there, and it is in fact a vagina.

SADY: RIGHT? Like, I mean: I hate to be a jerk here, but if you need my vagina to dress up for this party, my suspicion is that it is not going to be much of a party. Not to be all second-wave, but the continuing impulse to make ladyparts look less like themselves and more like gifts you would get from your dingier variety of novelty shop, next to the lava lamps, bespeaks some ill to me.

AMANDA: The good news is that for the most part I think everyone believes this to be a ludicrous practice. Then again, I have not rolled with Jennifer Love Hewitt's posse, so I may not be aware of the full scope of opinions on how much a woman's vagina ought to look like the back of a 7th grade girl's cell phone.


SADY: Right. I mean: I think "Vajazzling," much like Chat Roulette or the Sex & the City bus tour of New York, is one of those things that everybody writes about because no-one actually thinks it is a good idea. And yet... there are people on Chat Roulette? And I don't know, man. Like: I talk to girls about their Maintenance Routines, and it seems like there is always some new and trendy way to deal with what is going on there.

AMANDA: There are people who can write from experience: "Then we had sex, and none of the crystals fell off."


AMANDA: Yeah. And there's not a ton of self-reflection going on there. Even the most obvious of questions—like, Why am I bedazzling my vagina? And why has the dude I'm casually dating suddenly taken an interest in my genitalia?—are not being asked.

SADY: Right? Like, "Jason"—oh, Jason—is complimenting her with "this is the longest I've ever stared at a vagina." And given that Jason has grown up in our modern, pornographically-enabled age, I... doubt that this is the case, actually? But it might be the longest he's ever stared at HER vagina, and maybe that is the real issue here, you know?

AMANDA: Perhaps it is the closest he has gotten to like, putting his face close enough to maybe put his mouth on it?

SADY: "Sweetheart! I just noticed that there's something down there! Have you taken a look at this, because it's really wild!"

AMANDA: It is like people who bleach their assholes. How can you recover from an asshole-bleaching session and not wonder what the deal is with you requiring your asshole to be bleached?

SADY: Right. Like: I won't put bleach in my eye. FOR ANYONE. I don't care if you write me beautiful sonnets, if you are also like "and ah, the way you make me sigh / please stick some bleach into your eye," the answer is STILL NO. And I really don't think your asshole should be negotiable territory for bleaching EITHER. But what it reminds ME of, to take an even more extreme example, is that operation where you get your Business SURGICALLY CUT UP to be more attractive? "Labiaplasty!" It is a thing! And people do it! And then a year later their boyfriends or whatever STILL FEAR THE VAGINA so they have to make it look like a My Little Pony with vajazzling, I guess.


AMANDA: I just wonder why they still want to put their dicks in it? I mean, take the anal bleaching example—you're basically making your anus look less like an anus, so that your partner who enjoys placing their penis in your anus can do so without thinking about the fact that it's actually a real functioning asshole? Same with all these guys who claim to enjoy Tab-A-in-slot-B old fashioned heterosexual sex which includes sticking penises in vaginas, but who hate vaginas, actually, because they are icky. How do they rationalize those thoughts?

SADY: I have no idea. I mean: I do think it has got to be a fear thing. (JASON'S INTERNAL MONOLOGUE: "Okay, champ, this is going great, but whatever you do just don't look down! If you see the vagina, you'll panic! Play it COOL, MAN.") But also we need to note that although there ARE cosmetic procedures for penises, of the more or less invasive variety... nobody's really requiring dudes (with penises) to invest in them, you know?

AMANDA: Yeah. My theory: Sexual repression + Capitalism + Sexism = Vajazzling

SADY: Right. It's this very basic deal, as expressed by the fact that the Washington Monument is not an ovoid hollow in the ground, whereby penises are super and vaginas, although necessary, are basically H.R. Giger shit that would freak any reasonable person out. So you have to make them... like, really, REALLY infantilized, like to the extent of making them pink and sparkly and Lisa Frank binder-looking, to signify that they are female in the "harmless" sense rather than the "oh my God aaaaiiiiieeeeeeee" sense.

AMANDA: I am interested to know what a penis would look like if men were instructed to groom their penises so as to make them look less like penises.

SADY: Top hats? Draw a smiley face on it? I don't know. I know you're not putting crystals on that business any time soon. But when I start my new Dickerating business we'll find out.

AMANDA: I understand the crystals may not adhere to the male penis for a sufficient period of time. But there are places where our genital situations are not so different. So ... why aren't men encouraged to wax off all of their pubic hair?

SADY: Well, some are! But I've known girls who have expressed the idea that for a man to do so would be a sign of His Secret Gayness, and thereby a dealbreaker. I mean, why aren't men expected to shave their armpits? Hair is manly. For MEN.

AMANDA: So I just Googled the phrase "manlier penis"


AMANDA: And I came across a Web site which suggests that men who want to visually lengthen the penis might want to trim their pubic hair, in order to create an illusion of sorts.

SADY: Wow. It's like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!

AMANDA: HOWEVER, "the ladies may want a manlier penis ‘ so to speak ‘ and this comes with pubic hair." Someday, when we achieve full gender equality, washed up male actors will write books about illusory pubic hair techniques.

SADY: You know, I don't necessarily NEED to have that much information about Freddie Prinze, Jr.? And yet, like you, I look forward to that day!

Photo via Dawn Ashley, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

  • Keith B

    "Well, some are! But I’ve known girls who have expressed the idea that for a man to do so would be a sign of His Secret Gayness, and thereby a dealbreaker."


    Can we get more posts with Sady's input? It seems like she actually knows men and women in real life. The only things Amanda appears to know about women, men and sex are things she found through googling. Seriously, or rename this blog from the more clever "The Sexist" to "The lolMen rapeBlog"?

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  • Amanda Hess

    Hey Keith B,

    Since you seem pretty clueless on the googling front (I can totally give you some pointers on that if you want), you can find all Sady posts all the time over at her blog, Tiger Beatdown. I suggest you read her blog instead! I suggest everyone read it, actually!

  • jules

    “this is the longest I’ve ever stared at a vagina.”

    Wow dude, way to play into the stereotype that men are easily distracted by shiny objects.

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  • K

    I thought *everyone* was easily distracted by shiny objects. I know I -- OOHH, SPARKLY!

  • Marty

    Hey, let's read Robert Pattinson's illusory genital tricks! Since he hates vadges so much, maybe he also hates The D and uses arcane tricks to make it look like a heart or a kitten or something.

    On a more serious note, grooming double standards make me super angry. My primary partner has been letting her underarm hair grow for a few months, and it's great. I like it, she likes it. But now that sleavless shirt season is approaching, she is threatening to shave it. I can't really blame her for not wanting to take shit from her coworkers, but what the hell? Something I like and she likes is under seige because people who don't know either of us might go "ewgrossno."

  • Keith B

    Amanda, I know she has her own blog. I was suggesting she take your job at WashCP.

  • Keith B

    I'm sorry, I'm being a totak jerk. But really, she says great stuff and it's too bad it's only ever in the Beatdown posts. (yeah yeah, read her blog instead of this one etc).

    I guess to add to the conversation--what you say Marty really sucks. Acceptable appearance is really in the eye of the beholder, and the line falls differently for everyone. This can be bad in an office though--that's one place where violating whoever's standards of dress/cleanliness could have real consequences (if people can ewgroosno about tatoos or patchouli smelling dreds, I imagine underarm hair would also be a prob). Keep the hair, but keep the sleeves!

    But on your own time? If someone bitches, just tell them they shouldn't even be talking, with their shirt lookin' like a dishrag. No one's the ultimate judge of taste.

  • Sarah

    It goes without saying that one must shave or wax the kitty in order to be vajazzled. Which I disagree with. Women and men who insist that a woman must be clean-shaven down there are just as bad as women and men who insist on labiaplasty, bleached anuses, and vajazzled vajayjays. With shaving and waxing, there is still that underlying YOUR VULVA IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH message, no matter what reason you give for it ("It makes oral sex easier," "It's cleaner," "I like the sensation," etc.). Classic cognitive dissonance. Waxing as a widespread phenomenon in Western culture is ten years old, maybe fifteen years old at best. Did women before that just have to refrain from oral sex? Did their vaginas rot away because of uncleanliness? I think not. Why didn't they instinctively pick up the razor if pubes are such a problem and getting rid of them is such a necessity? And shaving and waxing regularly (read: time, money, pain) just to avoid the off-chance that your partner might get a pube in his or her mouth? Puhlease. I call bullshit.

    A lot of feminists (and I am in no way talking about Amanda or any of the guest authors on this blog) take the stance that a woman's choice is sacred no matter what, but again I call bullshit. Some of the things that women choose to do are kinda stupid, and damage other women's ability to choose freely. (I have never been able to walk out in public with armpit hair or leg hair without being harassed or whispered about by men and women alike. The women in my extended family enjoy a wonderful gossip-fest whenever they are reminded of the fluffy tufts beneath my pits. And I went in for a free bikini-line wax from a former friend who needed practice for cosmetology school, and you should have seen the way she stared at the two-inch long pubes sticking out from my mons. My God! The horror! Btw, I didn't like my 1980s pubes or the pain that came with obtaining them, and never waxed my bikini line again.)

    In conclusion, vajazzling and waxing and anus-bleaching and labiaplasty? Uh-uh. No.

  • Keith B

    Hah, I just thought of a conversation I had with some of my cousins who are Muslim. They told me that in the Koran, it's not mandatory that men have facial hair, but since The Prophet did, it's kind of "encouraged". The degree to which a society or sect encourages that varies considerably. In some places, if you can't/won't grow a beard or stache, your friends might be all "what's up with your bread, bro?" or "was that you I saw at the barbershop last week?". And it goes for the women's perception of men too--a cleanshaven man is either a religious or sexual deviant. So many ways facial/armpit/head hair (hasid women and men) can make you a pariah!

  • Sarah

    @ Keith:

    Armpit hair for ladies may be violating the office dress code, but it is not violating cleanliness. Armpit hair is not unclean. Getting rid of it has nothing to do with hygiene.

  • Vee

    I'm just going to take this moment to say that I love the Sexist Beatdown posts--it's a crossover of my two favorite feminist blogs, what's not to love?

    I also seriously appreciate you bringing up the most obvious questions that no one is asking: why, indeed? GOD, WHY. Because it's JUST about the visual, right, I'm not missing something here where it actually also feels good for women? I mean, at least piercing your nipples has a positive effect for you personally.

  • Keith B

    Jesus christ, Sarah. So now you're the authority on what people do to their own bodies? And all that talk about "it ain't nat'ral" "it weren't like this 15 years ago" sounds just like what people say putting down gay rights ("we didn't hear about this AIDS shit until all that gay sex in the 80s!" etc). Part of being free to make your own decisions is accepting that other people might not agree with them. If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married. If you don't like a big bush around your vag / shaft, trim it, shave it, wax it off.

  • Keith B

    Sara wrote: "Armpit hair for ladies may be violating the office dress code, but it is not violating cleanliness. Armpit hair is not unclean. Getting rid of it has nothing to do with hygiene."

    I know, but many offices policy not includes cleanliness but the vague and nebulous term "professional appearance". If they can say that flip-flops are not professional but oxfords are, they can probably complain about nearly anything else. There's probably a good bit of case law on what they can/cannot require of employees but I don't know where the line gets drawn.

  • Sarah

    "And all that talk about “it ain’t nat’ral” “it weren’t like this 15 years ago” sounds just like what people say putting down gay rights (”we didn’t hear about this AIDS shit until all that gay sex in the 80s!” etc). Part of being free to make your own decisions is accepting that other people might not agree with them. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married."

    You are completely off-base about my argument, which is this: waxing is a trend and a fad, and a decision that is made under duress of relatively new Western standards for female sexual expression. In other words, women don't shave their vulvas in a vacuum, which makes the "choice" argument difficult to buy. Sure, if we examine other choices, we find factors other than our own autonomy at work, but this "choice" is so new--we can literally see how it came into being--that it irks me when women and men defend it as the default now, as if being bare as a babe down there has anything to do with femininity. What irks me even more is that women who do nothing to their pubic hair are called accused of being masculine, unhygienic, unconcerned with personal appearance, etc. Capisce?

    Also, it is dangerous of you to imply that gayness is a conscious decision tantamount to a woman's decision to crop her pubic hair. Again, uh-uh. Your history of gay rights is pretty muddled, to . . .

  • Sarah


  • Keith B

    "What irks me even more is that women who do nothing to their pubic hair are called accused of being masculine, unhygienic, unconcerned with personal appearance, etc. Capisce?"

    Yes, sucks to be you, but that kind of thing happens for any number of reasons. Face it, in our (and most?) societies your appearance very much determines how people treat you. I'd love to know if there is a society where it doesn't work that way.

    Ok, true, so gayness isn't a decision. What about tattoos? Some people hate them. Some people can't imagine living without theirs. People always say it's a fad. Same for piercing. What exactly is the difference here? Do people who get tattoos diminish the freedom of people who don't? Or the other way around? Perhaps people who shave down there enjoy the way it feels. Perhaps you're missing out on something they are willing to sacrifice time and money on depilation for.

    Your whole argument seems to just boil down to you not liking shaving, and being tired of meanies picking on you, so somehow other women are making a stupid decision because surely they just made it so they wouldn't get picked on. Please.

  • Keith B

    You know, when Libby Miller invetned bloomers, she probably got a lot of shit about it being just a fad for uppity women who were too fat/lazy to put on a corset. The bloomers crowd won in the long run. Tastes change, conservatives will grumble about it, life goes on.

  • Vajoe

    It's not "vajazzling," it's "pubazzling." Nothing is on the vagina.

  • Jess

    Gosh, I sure am glad Keith decided to "contribute" to the conversation instead of "being a total jerk."

  • Jess

    (I guess looking back he only promised to "add to the conversation" -- i.e. make it have more words in it. Sorry for interpreting that to mean you were going to say something respectful, interesting, or useful, Keith! Carry on, you're doing exactly what you said you would do.)

  • Keith B

    Thanks, Jess. I appreciate that you have also added to the conversation by your use of :words:

  • Emmy

    Oh, Jennifer Love Hewitt. It is my deepest hope that in reality, after a good vajazzling she just spends the whole day admiring her "little lady" in the mirror while masturbating. That is the only, ONLY way it would ever be a satisfying process.

  • TT

    Men and women have different grooming routines. Men shave or groom their faces, get haircuts more often, lift weights and drink protein shakes, etc. Yes, women probably have to do more in the grooming department, but in each case, we're just trying to appeal to the opposite sex, so it's the opposite sex that sets the standards. Is it unfair that men set higher grooming standards than women for their sex partners? Possibly. But if women collectively decided that hairy legs on men were unattractive, and they withheld sex from any man with hairy legs, you better believe every man would start shaving their legs regularly.

  • TT

    And yes, I realize I'm only talking about straight men and women. Consider this the fine-print disclaimer.

  • Sarah

    @ TT: "Men and women have different grooming routines."

    So that makes waxing and anus-bleaching and vajazzling okay . . .? Because in the end, if women collectively decided penises needed dickerating and withheld sex, men would start to dickerate? Oh, dear. So many things wrong with this "rhetoric," so little time.

    @ Keith: I'm done yelling in your ear. In the meantime, have fun making up ulterior motives for my opinions. Um, why are you on a feminist blog, exactly?

  • Willy

    Oh my, there's such a double standard. Men would never consider CHOPPING FLESH off their sons' penises without their permission to make the penis less icky.

    Noooo, that would never happen to just about every infant boy in America.

  • je di

    I recently discovered your blog & I really enjoy reading it, thank you for what you do. This was funny & thought-provoking; I love "Dickerating" haha! I agree it is sad for "Jason" & his lovers that he had never enjoyed the beauty of a vagina before. Our culture is ripe with double standards but this is one area where I feel like both genders get a raw deal. I've known two grown men that have had circumcisions at their gfs nudge, and it wasn't because of the statistics on STDS & uncircumcised penises. I won't have oral sex with a man unless he grooms. I rarely shave my legs or armpits but always groom my vulva when I expect someone to lick it. I cut my hair, I wax my eyebrows, I clip my toenails why should my pubic hair be any different, for me? I love my vagina but have a hard time seeing her when I don't trim/shave. I don't think anyone not grooming is gross but I don't think the fact I do is hurting anyone else. *for this comment grooming means trimming/shaving/waxing; it has nothing to do with hygiene.

  • Sarah

    Circumsion has nothing to do with this argument. It is a different topic altogether, though if you think you're clever by bringing it up, rest assured that I am very opposed to infant circumcision.

    By bringing it up in the context of, "Well, [American] men are circumcised," you're implicitly saying, "Since American men are circumcised, it is fair for women to have to wax, pursue vaginal cosmetic surgery, and vajazzle." I'm sorry: two wrongs do not make a right.

    Yes, men and women have different grooming routines. But let me remind you that this vulva-shaving routine was not widespread in Western culture ten years ago. Why is it so necessary now? Did people just abstain from oral sex from pre-history until circa 2000 out of fear of getting a pube or two in their mouths? Were women unable to enjoy sex and oral sex because there was simply too much hair in the way?

    Again, the implication behind waxing, vajazzling, and vaginal "rejuvenation" is that your vagina is ugly, inadequate, unhygienic, and even manly in its untouched state. Which is a pretty sexist implication, in my opinion. My idea of sexual liberation is embracing my vagina (figuratively) and saying, "It is fine just the way it is. Stickers, glitter, crystals, glabrousness, and labia-cutting be damned."

  • Je di

    @Sarah I'm not sure whose mouth you are putting words in, mine or Willys. I cannot speak for #26 but I am in no way saying that circumcision gives society cart blanche when it comes to telling and/ or expecting women to alter their vaginas in any way. My point is that this area isn't fair to both genders; NOT that since it's unfair to men it's okay that's unfair to women too. And that I do believe a woman's choice to do with her body what she wants is sacred. No trickery here, I'm not trying to be clever. I say what I mean and I say it with respect to differences of opinion. I have much love for my hairy sisters I used to live in Austin. -j

  • Keith B


    Nice, "2000 years of western civilization"? Uhm, right. Well at least for middle eastern civilization, arguably as old, the Koran is quite clear that women AND men are to trim / remove body (not facial/head) hair. Oh gee, but only white folks are civilized here. Look up the sunnahs if you think I am making this up.

    So this is a feminist blog? The subtitle is "Sex and Gender in the District". I guess I didn't realize it's only for sheltered white chicks who like getting in a huff about shit they read on the internet to rant on. Come on, Amanda, can you rename the blog already?

  • Je di

    @Sarah I'm not sure who you were talking to, me or Willy. I cannot speak for #26 but I am in no way saying that circumcision gives society cart blanche when it comes to telling and/ or expecting women to alter their vaginas in any way. My point is that this area isn't fair to both genders; NOT that since it's unfair to men it's okay that's unfair to women too. And that I do believe a woman's choice to do with her body what she wants is sacred. No trickery here, I'm not trying to be clever. I say what I mean and say it with respect for differences of opinion. I used to live in Austin and most of my friends there chose not to shave. Much love for my hairy sisters of the world -j

  • Keith B

    Again, the implication behind bathing, showering, and using soap is that your body is ugly, malodorous, unhygienic, and even undesirable in its untouched state. Which is a pretty odorist implication, in my opinion. My idea of vomeronasal liberation is embracing my reek (figuratively) and saying, “It is fine just the way it is. Scrubbing, washing, trimming and deodorizing be damned.”

    Face it. This is up to people to choose. Stop trying to tell people your hairy cooch is somehow better, more correct, less HELD BACK BY THE MAN, than a trimmed cookie. Gawd!

  • maggie

    The more this stupid thing is talked about, the more it makes my eye twitch. You are NOT putting crystals on your vagina. Arghhhhhhhh.

  • je di

    oops I didn't see my 2nd comment show up, so before I resubmitted it I decided to make it less accusatory; hence the 3rd comment. =O) PS Happy Pi day!

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  • jeanniebeannie

    You're going to love this ad for it!

  • Melanie

    Do the men in the article suffer ADOS? (Attention Defficit..Oh Shiny)

  • hosermax a critical part of a "sexist beatdown" is denying not only the truth, but any non "pro-feminist" viewpoints, even if they are true?

    Is that why in spite of the conscious proto-feminist mindset, we still find women admitting that deep down, they just want to be raped?

    How else can you explain this?

    what is this, just a bunch of men sitting around trying to think of ways to stir-up trouble for women?

    Or a frank admission by many women that really they would be happier if a man took control of them and had their way with long as it was a man that they actually fantasized being raped by?

    Maybe women should wear t-shirts that say "I am the only one who can decide who I would enjoy getting raped by!"

    It's a simple fact: women are confused by their own wants, desires and needs.
    They are ashamed of who they are and what they think and don't want men to even begin to feel superior in any way. Even when they know that men are...even when they *want* men to dominate them, and ignore their whiny female bleatings, and just do whatever the man thinks best.

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  • Jason

    @Willy - agreed!

    "Again, the implication behind surgical excision of the foreskin is that your penis is ugly, inadequate, unhygienic, and even feminine in its untouched state. Which is a pretty sexist implication, in my opinion."

    Far more men undergo circumcision than women are vaginally "rejuvenated". Both are mutilation of the natural state of human genitals. Neither gender has a monopoly as the sole victim of society's disturbing expectations regarding genitalia.

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