The Sexist

The Morning After: Savage Vajazzling Edition

* Dan Savage weighs in on vajazzling:

So I have to know, Dan: What is your opinion on vajazzling? – Vajazzle Azzle Gadazzle

Asking for my opinion on vajazzling, VAG, is like asking a vegan for her opinion on the wallpaper in a steak house. I’m simply too revolted by what’s on the menu to take much notice of the décor.

Vaginas: Revolting no matter what, so why bother with the appliqué?

* Via Feminine Things, the argument for why schools should not alert students to acquaintance rapes on campus.

* Old, but good: I Blame the Patriarchy on men in wedding dresses:

When I got a spam for “men in wedding dresses” this morning I thought, hell yeah! I sure do wanna see some men in wedding dresses. I bet men look even more asinine in wedding dresses than women do. And who doesn’t want to look at something asinine first thing on Sunday morning?

Men universally look asinine in women’s clothes, yeah? The reason for this, and for mild funniness in other low forms of humor, is incongruity. Nothing says “I submit to my species’ disdain and surrender forthwith any claims to my own humanity” quite like a wedding dress. Women’s clothes are designed, according to a rigorous standard of misogyny, to communicate that the wearer is totally up for self-abasement. Men, on the other hand, are required by law not to be totally up for self-abasement. Therefore, in accordance with the laws of patriarchy, comedy and gender, a dude in a wedding dress is improbable and unnatural, thus causing the observer to laugh or retch or curl a cynical lip.

s.e. smith writes a Dear Dear Abby: Please do not explain away sexual assault by calling it "hitting on another woman."

* John DeVore of the Frisky advises women to ask men out on dates, then insists (thrice!) that the woman need not foot the bill:

If a woman asks a man out on a date, she is not obligated to buy dinner. I just wanted to clear that up. . . . don’t worry about the bill. I’ve actually been asked this question. The dude will take care of it because that’s what dudes do. There are some things the male species will always be in charge of, like bear defense. You know what else? Buying dinner on the first date. (Dear Testicles: She’s going to spend time and money getting her hot on anyway.) . . . Now make sure you look gorgeous. And don’t worry: He’ll get the check. If he doesn’t, he’s a donkey pizzle.

I love that DeVore's imaginary female reader is so afeared of being expected to pay for anything ever that she avoids social situations because of it.  You figured us out, man! We're so nervous about the possibility of whittling away our petty women's salaries on the beers of our suitors that we have instead spent centuries waiting for men to initiate all romantic contact. Also, we refer to men who have earned our disdain as "donkey pizzles."

Image via freeparking, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

  • K

    Am I the only one that gets the feeling this "Vajazzling" thing is one of those things that gets media types all hot and bothered, but doesn't actually exist in the lives of anyone that is not Jennifer Love Hewitt and/or media types? Anybody remember the "Rainbow Parties" hype a few years ago? Or Jenkem, for that matter?

    Even Fox News carried a story on it: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,591129,00.html

  • tigerflight

    what do you call it (vajazzling) when a dude does it? cause there is a dude on xtube with like... permanent studs outlining more or less where his pubes should be.

  • http://www.annajcook.com annajcook

    I'm with @tigerflight . . . it's not like vajazzling (jesus, what a totally chav word!) has to be genitalia specific. you'd think Savage could engage in a little speculative fantasy and imagine what the male equivalent would be, and how he'd react to that. I realize he specializes in the snappy comeback, but really. Dude. Think before you write!

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    Or even specific to the genitalia! World, meet "baldazzling".

  • Katie

    I just don't really like Dan Savage. Thanks for the needless hate on female anatomy, Dan!

  • k not K

    I don't know, I've pretty much accepted the fact that Savage is squeamish about vaginas. I think the answer was pretty funny actually

  • rebekah

    k, I have a sister and ten cousins in the rainbow party age range. I have talked to them about this kind of stuff and purposefully made myself the "if you ever need someone to talk to you need to call me and I will come get you and sit down with you" person. The phone call I got last saturday? To come pick up my twelve year old cousin because she was traumatized from being coerced into the rainbow party thing. She also proceeded to tell me that she had avoided the last few parties for this specific reason. They are still happening, at least where I live. This is not something that Oprah made a bunch of hype about and that was it. This is a real thing that is really going on with middle school girls. I for one do not appreciate it being played up as media hype when it clearly is not.

  • Ellen

    I'm with K not K. Savage Love is awesome in so many regards that I'm willing to overlook his distaste for vaginas. In his defense, his position has always been "vaginas are gross because I'm gay" not "vaginas are gross because they're vaginas" That being said, he could be more sensitive to women who make up oh, about 50% of his reader base. It seems like if he doesn't have anything nice to say he shouldn't say anything at all. That way he could avoid catastrophes like the canned ham incident of aught eight.

  • kza

    I would have killed for a rainbow party when I was a kid. There is no way they exist like the media says they do.

    The dude that in the last piece sucks. He gives good advice by telling girls that it's ok to ask out guys and then totally fucks up the rest of the piece. booo

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    The weird thing about "vaginas are gross because I'm gay" is that many, many straight men and many women, too, would co-sign on the "vaginas are inherently gross" idea. I seem to remember Savage turning that belief around on straight men sometimes---telling them that if they think vaginas are gross, then they're gay. Which is oversimplifying the issue, but may be effective in cutting that shit out anyway, because straight men are even more afraid of being gay than they are of vaginas.

  • rebekah

    kza, the rainbow party is a relatively new thing as far as I know. I'm 18 and when I was in middle school, we knew that it happened, but there were only a few girls who did that, and it certainly wasn't prevalent then. Times have changed in six years, which really scares me. There are people in my other sister's (she's in kindergarten) school who are already sexually active. Her school just expelled a pregnant student (I think she's in the sixth grade). These things are real and they are happening. Just because they didn't when you were around doesn't mean that they aren't now

  • amellifera

    Dan Savage always leaves me conflicted in these situations, because of how much good he does. Only he would pair, "vaginas, ewwww" with a post teaching why you shouldn't use "pussy" to mean weak. And yes, he's heavy-handed about it, but it gets the point across to a demographic that would never listen to it otherwise. Too bad his commenters didn't listen to that part.

  • Fau

    @7 and this here is an instance of a self-created fad, life imitating "art". Before the feeding frenzy, it was yet another hoax.

  • Emily H.

    I totes don't see the point of getting offended at Dan Savage's joke. He's a gay man, gay men are likely to think vaginas are kind of gross, just like lesbians might think penises are kind of gross. Yes, the idea "vaginas are inherently gross" is still all too common, but no one who reads Savage's column & has even moderate reading comprehension skills could think that's what he's getting at. He's using himself as an example of the truth that if you're a woman with a boyfriend who's grossed out by vaginas, HE'S GAY. He's pointed out many times that guys who won't go down on their girlfriends, or be accepting of their bodies in other ways, deserve to get dumped ASAP. One really have to strain to find an antifeminist reading of his approach to gender relations. And I'd much rather he go on being funny, rather than cutting any jokes that might offend or upset someone (which, since he writes about sex & gender, is almost all of them).

  • upk

    I agree that vajazzling seems like a manufactured trend, existing only so pundits will have something new to cluck their tongues at.

    But let's just say for a moment that this is real and will catch on. What's the big deal? People get tattoos and piercings in that area and are not scorned for it. Some of you might even think those things are bad-ass. Must body decorations be painful and permanent in order to be legitimate?

  • Saurs

    "One really have to strain to find an antifeminist reading of his approach to gender relations."

    Not really. Plenty in the ol' feminist and womanist blogospheres have issued clear and reasonable complaints, both about his take on "gender relations" and his tendency towards gross oversimplifications when it comes to people of color, e.g. his rant about black homophobes in California with respect to the success of proposition 8.

    The "vaginas r gross" schtick can be misogynistic whether it's delivered by a gay man or not. It's a political statement. Expressing one's distaste for toes or calves doesn't alienate one-half of the human race and shame them for possessing inherently "ugly" body parts. Disgust for vaginas is a fairly universal sentiment; it's also almost pathetically childish. Fear of women, fear of female body parts -- even if you don't want to prong them, which is all they're good for anyway, right guys? -- isn't that part and parcel of misogyny? Don't fear and disgust inform hatred? This is really basic stuff. That Savage writes it, and in a fairly humorous tone, doesn't actually mean he truly believes it or doesn't get it. It's still part of the drip drip drip of putrid misogyny that infects this culture. That because a gay man has "no use" for a vagina, apparently, he can (therefore?) express distaste for it based on the fact that it's icky? That fucking stinks, in my opinion.

    Apart from that, has Savage earned a free pass from the feminist guardians of culture (whoever they are, wherever they might reside)? His column is chock-full of gender essentialism. He extolls the pretty princess aspects of femininity and has also expressed a pretty potent disgust for fat people, especially when they're women. Plus, he's vehemently pro-porn and pro-BDSM, and for a lot of feminists that's reason enough to find him tiring.

  • Melissa

    Actually, I'm gonna agree that there's nothing bad or offensive about a gay man thinking vaginas are gross, or with him saying it out loud, as long as the context is "I think vaginas are gross because I'm gay," not "vaginas are inherently gross and I don't know why anyone would like them." And he does have a very valid point when he says that a "straight" man who thinks vaginas are gross is probably not straight at all. Or at least a romantic asexual person.
    I mean, does the vagina have any real function besides sex, menstruation, and childbirth? So yeah, it's important that the people who either have vaginas or like to put their penises IN vaginas don't talk shit about how they're "gross," but a gay man? What reason would he have to need to like vaginas? He's not sexually attracted to them, he's unlikely to impregnate anyone (and even if he has a female friend serve as a surrogate for his child I'm sure he'd be just as welcome at her head in the birthing room as down at the other end)...I really just don't see any problem with it.

  • kza

    Who cares if someone thinks vaginas are gross. I think dicks are gross. And as a person who wields one I don't find that offensive.

  • Melissa

    Well, thinking dicks are gross as in...you're a straight guy and you'd prefer not to put one in your mouth, then of course there's nothing wrong with that.

    But if you think dicks are gross, and that, by extension, YOU are gross, then I'd think that definitely qualifies as a problem.
    And if you think dicks are inherently gross, not just gross in your personal estimation, then you're belittling and dehumanizing everyone whose orientation causes them to like dicks.

    So basically...
    "I'm a dude who doesn't happen to see dicks as erotic"...A-ok
    "Dicks are gross and OH GOD I'm gross too!"...the culture has a problem it needs to fix
    "Dicks are gross and there's something wrong with anyone who disagrees"...you have a problem you need to fix.

    lol

  • H

    Hello, excuse me-
    what is the name of the painting above, please?
    It's lovely.

  • JfC

    I sort of think it would be forgivable for Dan Savage to think vaginas are gross if he were John Q. Gayman, lawyer or poet or cashier. But for christ's sake he's a sex advice columnist! Your job is to be non-judgmental and non-squeamish about people's bodies! Why should women feel comfortable telling you about their Matters of the Vagina if you're going to sneer at the whole area as revolting?
    Ideally, I want everyone to just accept each other's bodies for what they were and didn't feel the need to express their disgust. Though I don't agree with everything Susie Bright does, I do appreciate her frank, unblinking and compassionate treatment of say, elderly people and fat people in matters of sexuality. That's what a sexpert is, and that's what every human being should be. Then again, I'm a part time naturalist. I can sort of forgive gay people for finding the opposite sex's genitals strange and unappealing, because society has been trying to force them into intimate contact and appreciation of them for their whole lives. Dan Savage has mentioned that he had slept with women while closeted/trying to make himself heterosexual so he probably has bad memories, but he needs to put that aside before advising women (or just heterosexuals in general) on sexual matters.

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