– How do you know Valentine’s Day is around the corner?
– Everybody is selling things that either smell, or indeed are intended to go inside one’s vagina.
Honestly. Every website, because season. Gwyneth’s vagina candle is old news, because we are now supposed to want to scent our surroundings with incense that smells of Erykah Badu’s birth canal.
For anyone who’s unsure as to what to stick up one’s yoni this weekend, there’s a plethora of seasonal items for consideration – from the classic jade eggs to luxury dildos, sorry, Dual Warming Wands (by Kiki de Montparnasse) as seen on beauty industry’s go-to website Violet Grey. Or, actually, just get some basic mugwort, wormwood and basil at your local Delhaize for a DIY healing vag-steaming sesh in the privacy of your (Gwyneth’s vagina-smelling) home.
In principle I am all for demystifying anything relating to women’s sexuality. Men (not all men) have been displaying (100% unsolicitedly) their genitals in public forever, it’s high time to shift focus to women’s reproductive organs. It’s when women’s sexual health gets branded as an exclusive luxury lifestyle that I get properly annoyed.
I cannot help but wonder whether some of the Goop-kerfuffle exists simply because of the brand’s American-ness and because its biggest audience (I would think) is based there? I have hard time believing that Europeans would have raised similar brouhaha about some of the more outlandish alternative healing methods. I can see European women doing an eye-roll while muttering “whatever fresh hell is this” at the suggestion to stuff rocks up their vaginas, and moving on to their appointments at publicly funded health centres.
Because surely this is one of the main reasons for the legal Goop-battles in the U.S.: the society is based on holding individuals legally responsible for everything. Making batshit crazy health claims in a country where healthcare is insanely expensive and nearly not everybody has access to proper care is irresponsible. There might actually be someone who chooses crystals over chemotherapy to treat cancer just because Gwyneth said them to have healing attributes, and they sell for $20 over the counter whereas a proper health plan costs thousands per month.
It’s maybe easier for us Europeans to take Paltrow’s goopiness with a pinch of salt, because at the end of the day, we don’t have to run around looking for cheap alternatives to our already paid for healthcare – or maybe we are just born more cynical?
I watched Gwyneth Paltrow’s GoopLab on Netflix in order to understand where she’s coming from. Apart from some seriously off the wall mushroom-induced group-hallucinations and ice baths (who knew Finns have been Goop before Goop was invented!) that are not exactly your regular beauty tips ‘n tricks (but entertaining all the same), the episode about female orgasm was actually very, very good.
As nuts as she might come across (while being an extremely smart business-mind at the same time), Paltrow is, in fact, pushing major boundaries and breaking taboos.
Because really, what is everybody talking about? Vaginas.
Goop, Paltrow and vaginas have been the go-to topics of newspaper columnists for years already, and somehow we don’t seem to be getting enough. Paltrow’s ulterior motive is, of course, to sell people unnecessary merch. Cashing in by branding female sexual health a faux feminist empowerment trip that needs to cost an arm and leg is much less cool. But what she is achieving, together with a massive personal fortune, is the gradual mainstreaming of the discussion about women’s sexual health.
As the annual patriarchal festival of sex is is all but in two days, the stress is upon us, because society. It used to be OK to just stress about not having a date. Suddenly our vaginas have become ever-hungry tamagotchis that need to be steamed, nipped, tucked and otherwise forever entertained.
No-one ever said it was easy being a woman.
I hope you have a fabulous Big V, whichever way you decide to spend it. Should you be gifted with something bold, something see-through, something polyester with something marabou (and very likely fuchsia), it is very OK to say thanks, but your vagina does not do man-made fibres.