OK, my friends, let’s dive right in. Shall we? Well, I don’t mean that literally, of course. Nevertheless, I begin this post by notifying all of you that we are entering generally forbidden territory given our well-manicured modern world. So let my rant begin.
Our own Javacat alerted us this week to a new product marketing campaign that is just now sweeping through India where being dark-skinned is still an obstacle to socio-economic advancement, and apparently a roadblock to happy sexual relations as well. With a long history of color-based caste distinctions on the subcontinent, it comes as no shock that India’s dramatic economic turn towards the West is also targeting fairness of the flesh as a necessary condition for a satisfying sex life. Marketers for the latest product placement, Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, are trying to sell Indian women on the benefits of having a fair-skinned labia and vagina. And I thought a manicured mons pubis, like a well-trimmed lawn, was the cat’s meow. But, of course, bleach is the perfect answer for a dark pussy, at least in a world run by chemical manufacturers and hucksters. Of course, some of us feel sex more viscerally, you know, in the intestines. That, of course, is where the real dirty stuff comes from… so color makes no difference to the visceral among us. In fact, the darker the better. Well, what the hell, any man here up for bleaching his bone? By the way, Midas Care Pharmaceuticals, the Indian-based firm that manufactures this ‘must-have’ quim whitener also offers a full line of tried and trusted insecticides if any of you ladies feel like giving them a whirl.
Do you think maybe these home-team Southeast-Asian entrepreneurs are going just a bit too far here? Well, perhaps not. It seems to be part of an overarching civilized trajectory and a key component of the cowboy-capitalism rapidly infecting the globe, to manipulate the conquered or economically colonized population as thoroughly as possible. Just remember what Monsanto has done continuously to ‘enhance’ our food supply and their profit margins. As well, it is in the nature of modern society to clean up every centimeter of nature, to tame and sanitize every bit of whatever appears wild or dangerous. And we all know that what is dark is naturally dangerous. Moreover, we were advised in the Book of Genesis that it was Eve, the woman, who was wild and wily like the serpent, and in need of taming. On the other hand, perhaps the executives at Midas Care, or even Indian women for that matter, never heard of The Vagina Monologues, theatrical monologues delivered by women in homage to that sacred passageway – unapologetically celebrating everything about their dark, damp, and secretive sexuality. But let’s be fair, shall we? (Pun intended.) Such a purported advance in intimate feminine hygiene is itself a white-washing; it is the bread and butter of our domesticating patriarchal mindset to sweep away all signs of nature – make everything clean, white, and bright. Remember, that is why people of color are not to be trusted here in the homeland. [I remind you again of the Trayvon Martin affair.] In any event, now you ladies can have fresh, white pussies to match your fresh breath and white teeth.
It continues to amaze me how modern consciousness clearly embodies this most perverse attempt to subdue or reengineer mother nature – a mindset, in the colonizers’ terms, of ‘continuous improvement’ and spotless perfection. Indeed, we have perfected the techniques and technologies to domesticate every centimeter of our world, natural and social. All feral, wild, or indigenous elements, including the female anatomy must be conquered, dissected, and then carefully cleaned, airbrushed away or eliminated.
But why is it we have so little regard for what is primal, dark, mysterious and generative? Why do we unrelentingly attempt to light up every corner of the globe, demystify the naturally chiaroscuro quality of life, making everything one-dimensionally bright? What is it about the curriculum of the West that is so captivating? Perhaps we create those nice, fair and fresh, artificial surfaces to insulate us from the wild and uncultivated stuff going on down there in the dirty underbelly of life – of nature, of our own fleshiness. We domesticate the wild and the darkness (mystery) along with our own wildness, leaving behind only “tokens of nature” (and a whitewashed vulva) in its stead.
In fact, we are so good at cleaning things up and clearing things out that we have inspired further eradication of those primal, dark, indigenous populations around the world – most recently in Guatemala.1 We, the civilized ones, are also cleaning out those dirty workforces across Europe while ignoring the growing indignation.2 And, according to consumer advocate, Elizabeth Warren, our elites are also clearing-out purses on Main Street and pensions on Wall Street without so much as batting an eyelash.3 Meanwhile, the Republican candidate for the post of United States hegemon is busy courting Christian evangelicals.4 But this only serves to highlight the fundamental(ist) source of our problem with the body and the darkness of the mysterious feminine.
Monotheism has always had an extremely negative take on the physical world, including, if not especially, the human body. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Even the Hindus and Buddhists see this world as an illusion, while the other major world religions – the Abrahamic faiths – either deplore or deprecate the physical world. Just recall St. Paul’s constant pleadings about the limitations of the flesh; in his words, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Sins of the flesh are among the most heinous and most in need of the Christian confessional. Such otherworldly faiths strive for communion with a transcendent non-corporeal divinity. The focus is always up to the sky-god father above, never down to the earth mother below. Moreover, these sentiments are tied to the Hebraic and ancient Near Eastern notion of a liner historical trajectory, and its focus on the salvific future, rather than being grounded in cyclical regeneration tied to the earth and the cycles of nature – the wild, the feminine. Finally, for the believer, cleanliness is close to godliness; and we have been well warned that sex is dirty, and evidently a darkened vagina is too mysterious, so it must be cleaned up or at least bleached sparkling white like a brand new tennis dress.
This then brings us to the new cover article in Time Magazine, again a piece meant to shock and disturb our modern sensibilities. This four-year old boy is standing there sucking at his young mother’s bared breast. So, you can’t handle it? Well, I also have my reservations as well. But why are you so disgusted? Is it because you did not get enough physical contact from your own mother, or not enough tit from your wife or lover? Are we so disturbed by the signs and images of attachment or close physical contact that we shudder, secretly jealous, at the implications? Are we afraid of our own bodies? The cover photo of Time is marketing propaganda intended to sell copy by being disturbing and shocking. Yet, I doubt the editors even considered the real genesis of such shock. The problem of the human body and sexuality has become a bogeyman for us today in the West, in the modern civilized world. Yet, “research suggests that our early hunter-gatherer ancestors raised happier, more compassionate kids — thanks to natural birth, extended breastfeeding, and co-sleeping.”5 These practices are as old as our genus – perhaps two million years old. So, what’s our beef?
We hear from some self-appointed analysts that this sort of attachment parenting somehow undermines the status of women in our society. Really? Is that what women say who engage in such parenting practices? Perhaps these analysts mean that it undermines a woman’s potential servitude to the capitalist labor force and the politics of exploitation. I would venture to say that the vagina whitewash certainly undermines women’s status, self-image and the mystery of their natural sexuality; however, attachment parenting does no such thing. Yet, in our topsy-turvy culture, we reverse these priorities and the expectations we have of women. Some liberal feminists even try to convince the rest of the female population that these new priorities are correct – commitment to anonymous corporate bosses rather than to the family or the tribe. The culture does not want women to be tribal, emotional, raw, or physical. And, most of all, we want their dark places lit up like a Broadway billboard; bright and shiny so we can see where we are going and what we are getting into. In short, we want control. It all needs to be cleaned-up, well-manicured and sanitized like our white porcelain toilet bowls and our well-groomed golf courses, so we can better handle the shit and the sand-traps. And, God forbid, we certainly don’t want to see any woman’s natural attachment to her child; this as well seems dirty and unnatural to our nice white civilized sensibilities. So no more breast-feeding in public, thank you… not at any age!
(Remember… I warned you all above about today’s rant. peace, sandy)