Andrea Mills on Beauty and Pornography

A number of women’s magazines have recently been covering beauty treatments for women’s private parts. As if we didn’t have enough to be self-conscious about, we’re now supposed to worry about being perfect down there. It’s like trying to change your fingerprint, only more painful, I imagine.

What’s interesting is that the prevalence of vulvacials, vajazzling and labiaplasty suggests that pornography is setting standards of beauty for the average woman as much as Hollywood does. Are women really flocking to have these procedures done? Should they be? Was there a line way back there that we crossed? These stories examine some of these questions.

Andrea Mills is a Toronto based editor and stylist at a top home décor and design magazine, a web surfer and yoga lover. Follow her on Twitter @andreamillsTO

Andrea’s five links

1. Porn goes mainstream

In Germany, former porn actress Sibel Kekilli has received widespread acclaim for her mainstream acting roles. Steven Soderberg’s 2009 film The Girlfriend Experience starred Sasha Grey, an adult film actress who also appeared in the seventh season of Entourage. Is this a sign that the multi-billion-dollar porn industry is gaining mainstream acceptance? There is a lot of money to be made and Hollywood is already on it.

2. Five ladyparts “beauty” trends

This is a rundown of some of the “trends” I mentioned earlier. Bellasugar’s beauty blog has a refreshing, down-to-earth view in general and is great at calmly and humorously putting things in perspective. Many of the posts are short and sweet, honest and curious.

(Here’s another item from Bellasugar: Is the “New Wave of Plastic Surgery” a Good Idea? What is normal anyway? How far is extreme? A porn flick is not real life any more than Avatar is.)

3. The porn myth

According to Naomi Wolf—and I agree with her—the issue with porn is “not a moral one but a physical and emotional health one.” My mom always says that where there is no mystery, there is no intrigue. Judging by pop culture or a busy bar on a Friday or Saturday night, a lot of young (and old) women don’t agree. Naomi Wolf is my number one dream dinner party guest now that I’ve read this thoughtful article.

4. Pornophobia

I love how the internet allows you to stumble upon things you weren’t really looking for. Such was the case with this article by Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union and author of Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight For Women’s Rights (Scribner, 1995). It’s a long but worthwhile read—basically she explains why feminism and women’s liberation means freedom from discrimination in both the bedroom and the boardroom.

5. Nina Hartley defends the porn industry

Some schools of feminism should pay attention: The smart and well-spoken porn star Nina Hartley is a surprising voice of reason. Here, she makes some controversial remarks defending her industry, which she proposes is not suggesting how the rest of us should behave in reality. “Watching pornography to find out about sex is like watching a James Bond movie to find out how spies do their job.”