11 December 2005

I love mine. Do you love yours?

I've been thinking for a while about writing on this topic, but bedroomdancer spurred me on with her post about vaginas.

Many years ago, to cut a long story short, I organised my first lesbian love session with a friend of mine.
On the way to her house I stopped in a bar for some dutch courage. I got talking to a man there. He asked if the earring I wore (one of those double female symbol ones) meant I was a lesbian. So I boldly said yes.
Then a woman at the bar piped up, "We don't like lesbians in here, because they're fanny lickers, and we don't like fanny lickers here." (For all you American readers, in Australia fanny means vagina).
I was astounded. What kind of woman doesn't like fanny lickers? What kind of woman feels so bad about her own vagina that she would hate anyone who wanted to lick it?

Later that night, with my head buried between a woman's legs for the first time, I sure as hell wasn't thinking about that woman at the bar. I was thinking how sweet and musky my lover's scent was. How beautifully wet she was. How I parted her hair to find the jewell it hid. How she bucked umder my tongue....

But I thought of that woman in the bar often since.

There used to be a magazine over here called Australian Women's Forum. Because Forum wasn't sold under plastic covers, censorship laws meant they could not show an erect penis, or a woman's inner lips.

Forum decided to run an article about labiaplasty. They said that many women have never seen a vagina other than their own. So they go to the newsagent and flip through the sexy mags. But since all the hard-core porn is in plastic covers, all they would see is air-brushed vaginas with no inner lips. Then they would feel deformed because their inner lips poke out a bit, and they would go to the plastic surgeon to get them chopped off, to look 'normal'.
Any plastic surgeon with ethics would send them home with some hard core porn to get a better idea of what is normal.

Some women do have lips that protrude so much they are uncomfortable. But most women who go for labiaplasty just think their vaginas look wrong.

Forum tried to show medical before and after pictures of labiaplasty. The censorship board wouldn't let them, perpetuating the very thing that the article was written to denounce.

Forum gave up. The censorship rules are not set in stone. It's the personal opinion of whoever is working that day that counts, and the perception of the magazine. Cleo could write penis or orgasm on the cover; Forum wasn't allowed. Everytime they submitted a magazine to the board, they had to pay. If it didn't pass, they had to pay again to submit it again, and pay again until it passed. With no uniform laws, they never knew what would pass and what wouldn't. The article on labiaplasty was the final straw, and the magazine folded. They just weren't able to be the informative magazine they wanted to be. It was a great loss to horny women in Australia.

The board thinks that women's vaginas are offensive. That offends me so much. How dare they think my body is offensive? Watching MTV, they blanked out the word clitoris. That offends me. Clitoris is a medical term for a part of my body. How dare they say my body is offensive!

No wonder women like that one in the bar exist. There is nothing in our culture that tells them their body is beautiful, is normal. Nothing that celebrates our bodies, nothing that says they are OK how they are.

Hooray for plays like the Vagina Monologues! And books like Cunt. At least some women are trying to reclaim their vaginas.

9 December 2005

Christmas comes but once a year. Thank God I'm not Christmas.

Ooooh, I love the new site counter. I'm so curious to know which of you comes from where. So far, my readers are in Australia, the US, Canada and Bulgaria.

I was thinking about this today as I pushed my way through the crowds doing their Christmas shopping in town. Have you Americans thought about what Christmas is like in Australia?

My foreign housemates say "Great, Christmas in Oz means Christmas on the beach!" I love that. I've never ever spent Christmas on the beach.

I've always felt a little unsettled by Christmas. Usually it's bloody hot. But the traditions don't reflect the climate. We still have the fake snow on the windows. We have plastic mistletoe and plastic holly, because the holly doesn't fruit this time of year. As a kid, I would swelter in the kitchen before christmas as we baked a ham, and made a pudding and christmas cake. We'd do heaps of baking. And we'd be baking.

And don't get me started on Father Christmas! Those poor bastards that dress up for the kiddies. Furry white cuffs, big fake beards and heaps of stuffing under the santa suit. You can see them sweat; if you're lucky you can sometimes see them pass out from heat-stroke.

Oh, we make some half-hearted attempts to 'Australianise' Christmas. Occasionally you'll see kangaroos pulling the sleigh instead of reindeer. But really? If you think about it, would that work? Kangaroos hop. Sleighs slide. Not a match made in heaven.

More than half of the cards and the wrapping paper and the advertisements still have a mid-winter theme. I know a grand total of two Australian Christmas carols; the rest are all your northern winter ones. Jingle bells doesn't mean much here.

My favourite carol was probably 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas'. I so badly wanted a white Christmas. The whole culture around me was telling me that it should be winter for christmas, and I thought for a long time that the country, the land I was on, was wrong somehow. It was Australia's fault that it was summer. It didn't occur to me until I was much older that maybe it was the culture that was wrong. We are hanging on to traditions that just don't fit. And sticking a few gum leaves on doesn't really help. It doesn't change the fact that we are celebrating what is essentially a mid-winter festival in the height of summer.

I'm quite happy to celebrate Yule in winter with the pagans. But turning the wheel of the year 180 degrees isn't all that's needed here. We need to create our own traditions, based on the country we're in. The Kaurna people, the indigenous inhabitants of the area I live, had six seasons. They could see and feel those seasons. But somehow we try to cramp them into four, because the traditional model of four seasons is what our ancestors knew. But how long do we have to be in a country before we look to the land for our symbols? Or are we going to be facing north forever?

Stay tuned for 'Why I Hate The Easter Bilby'.

3 December 2005

Isn't easy being green

I just couldn't stand that lime green template any longer. I had to change. Hopefully it will be a smooth transition...
It'll take me a while to find some of my old links though.