Day: January 18, 2013

Bride Price

The wonderful Chloe Angyal is writing in New York Magazine about engagement rings, and the conspicuous showing-off of said rings on Facebook. I admit: I am a sucker for jewelry, so I actually don’t hate the engagement ring shots. That said, I don’t like engagement rings very much — or at least not the giant sparkly diamond kind. My objections are both political and aesthetic. You have to be living in a cave to not know just how evil the diamond industry is, and while conflict-free diamonds do exist, the cultural tying of “diamond” and “engagement” is a huge part of what drives the diamond market. And maybe it came from working at a law firm for so many years, but the look of all of those giant engagement rings was just… boring. They all look the same to me. But then I don’t think the tradition of exchanging wedding rings is a bad one. A token or symbol of commitment tied to a ritual is great. And a cool piece of jewelry? Sign me up — especially for some of the absolutely beautiful heirloom, antique or non-diamond rings that a few pals have procured. But the engagement, with only the woman wearing a ring and the attendant sense that she has accomplished something by getting a guy to ask her to marry him feels a bit weird. Not to mention the ownership/investment symbolism.

Do whatever you want with your body, but please don’t get “the Barbie”

This two-part series on labiaplasty is all kinds of horrifying / fascinating / mostly horrifying (part 1, part 2). Usual caveat: Do I think that people should legally be able to do pretty close to whatever they want with their bodies? Yes. Do I nonetheless think that amputating part or all of your inner labia because you want a designer vagina is about 17 kinds of fucked up and says a whole lot about our culture and our views on female sexuality? Yes. The fact that there’s a labiaplasty surgery called “the Barbie,” which removes the entire inner labia, is horrific. Barbie doesn’t have genitals! Barbie is a plastic doll. The goal of looking like you don’t have a vulva — not for any medical purpose, but because normal female genitalia has somehow been deemed aesthetically displeasing — is a pretty disturbing one.