Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brown Girls shouldn’t have brown Vaginas part 2

Since I had a lot to say, and always do… I had to cut the writer short last time… & since he says it so well, here’s the rest of what he had to say regarding colour & genitals (in case you missed part one of this post, you can read it here)

The modern recourse is to blame everything on colonization and cultural imperialism, but equating feminine beauty with fairness is not a post-colonial phenomenon, not even if we look at imperialism before the industrial/capital driven one in the last few centuries; it seems pervasive in many eras and cultures, even within predominantly ‘white’ cultures themselves. Not all white women have pink genitalia, but that seems to be the standard for them as well, if the internet and pornography and feminist critiques are anything to go by.

Moreover, there wasnt just an internalized racism at play here. These men did watch pornography but did not hold the same colour standards for themselves (after all pornography involves both sets of genitalia). In fact, when it came to the penis, colour paled in comparison to the importance of size; where both pornography and popular perception (and perhaps even empirical evidence, I am no expert) suggests that ‘black’ people have the biggest penises.

Penises become a source of great envy and personal complexes for men, and despite the similarly prejudiced notion that the colour black is not aesthetically appealing, it still becomes the ideal because of the sheer power and prestige associated with magnitude.

In a weird way, one which resists reductions to racism or cultural colonization, the black penis and the pink vagina seemed to be the genital ideals.

* * *

The fact that we have ‘genital ideals’ is pretty surprising for me really… its not an issue I had given much thought to prior to this brown vagina conversation. Of course I am familiar with mens’ obsession with penis size, but anything other than that had not crossed my mind. I wondered if black people had the same colour prejudices when it came to genitals as brown people did… did black guys expect black girls to have pink vaginas like brown guys supposedly expect brown girls to have? I decided to ask an African-Canadian friend.

Of course by now, none of my friends are surprised by the bizarre questions I ask or types of conversations I have with them. I am lovingly called a perv… but clearly they aren’t familiar with the true definition of that word :P

After much beating around the bush and uncomfortable answers that were going nowhere, my friend ‘B’ finally decided to open up:

B: ok, the first time i saw a dark vagina, i have to admit i didn't know what to think, i had thought they were all light coloured. so i can see where they (he’s referring to the group of men mentioned in my previous post about this topic) get that idea from, and just urban myths take it from there, if that’s what everyone is telling you what else are you supposed to think? I had the benefit of not knowing anything, so i was a clean slate

me: well why did u think they were all supposed to be light? porn? did u think a black girl would have a pink vagina?

B: partly porn yes, and also because i had never thought of it till i actually saw one that wasn't, once i realized, it made sense

B: it was an unconscious assumption

me: yeah but if u hadn’t thought about it… why had the picture of a light one popped into ur virgin brain as the standard?

B: because thats all that i had seen

me: where? porn?

B: from the very little porn that i had seen

me: but that was ur only source?

B: at the time, yea

me: and as a black guy it didn’t occur to u that black girls may not have vaginas that looked like that?

B: lol, u overestimate a man's ability to think clearly in a sexual situation

me: cummon now

B: seriously, do you think that’s what we're thinking, that we rationally try to analyze things? we're trying to not cum in our pants and hoping the girl doesn't laugh at how little we know

B: the only time a man's able to have any type of rational thought at that point is if he’s having sex with a girl that he has no feelings for whatsoever, like a prostitute, like i said, afterwards you are able to realize, but at the time? not so much

B: and following this post, you may want to do another about girl’s reactions to un/circumcised penises

me: I’d do one, but it wouldn’t really apply to my readers since most of them are Muslims, I assume all the men are circumcised. So there wouldn’t be much variance in opinion.


So, obviously he doesn’t represent ‘all black guys’ or anything, but just in the context of this conversation with him.. its interesting to see that he too fell victim to the expectations set up by the average Caucasian porn vagina.

Of course, he’s not a dickwad, so he doesn’t have idiotic thoughts like ‘dark vaginas are loose’ or ‘dark vaginas give you STDs’ – for him it was a simple case of not thinking it through (apparently they can’t rationalize when aroused..heh… who’d a thunk), and expecting to see what he had always seen on screen. For the Pakistani’s previously mentioned, there was value placed on the lightness of the vagina. There was prejudice and disgust….

I conclude that a lack of exposure and (sexual) education/awareness are the reasons for difference in perception between the Pakistani men and my friend B. Despite the fact that B was taken aback because his expectations had been set up by pornography, once his logic kicked in… a variety in colours made sense to him. And that’s really all it is. People come in different colours, so do penises… then why not vaginas?

As I’ve mentioned time and time again. Pakistanis need more Sex Ed.
One basic tenet of sexual health I’d like to emphasize is: use a rubber people! I know of waaay too many Pakistani men that cheat on their wives with random women/men, and don’t even have the decency to wrap it up. Not only do they risk unwanted pregnancy…. But they bring home diseases to their wives. Sad part is, a lot of these women know what’s going on but are afraid to question their spouses about it.

So one step at a time towards sexual health. If we can’t teach these kinds of men to respect women yet. At least we can make them aware about the risks of unprotected sex.

Qondoms all the way! :)

Do you think education is important, when it comes to something like sexuality?

Ayesha, Female, 28
Immensely. It is a far more important aspect of our identities and perceptions of self than are religion or nationality or ethnicity. Under no circumstance should we internalize hatred or derision based on our sexuality, and that can only come through understanding and accepting yourself for what you are.

Layla, Female, 19
It is yes, but I’m still deciding on the right age to be educated. It all depends on the individual and how and what they do with the knowledge.

Ambreen, Female, 28
i think its extremely important.... its ur body u should know what u like and what u dont like

Mariam, Female, 26
Absolutely…its absolutely important…being educated about something makes it a little more real and less perverse…our country needs to do that desperately… because right now sex is seen as something sooooo dirty at the grassroot level…awareness on the topic is so flawed… its leads to a lot of frustration in our population…. Not just the men...the women too….this frustration leads to a level of sickness in the men especially in our country, that actually makes me want to kill myself…from time to time…. – I have been at the receiving end of some of these frustrations…and it really makes you want to … even if not kill yourself… kill them! It makes you want to completely remove yourself from it. I do not consider myself a part of this country for this reason essentially! Fine we have other problems… but this is not something that can ever be a part of my reality…and I think that its going to drag our country down…as it has. It can change… but its probably gonna take close to a hundred years…and I don’t have that kinda time. And this book… will have some effect… but generally the people who will end up reading this book will probably already be on the right track or some form of the right track….i think the people im probably talking about …which make up the majority of the sickness of this country…will probably not come across this book… or if they do…will probably not pick it up and read it. They’ll regard it as either rubbish or trash or promiscuous or whatever…so I don’t think it will change anything at the grassroot level.

Fatima, Female, 25
I think its something that lacks greatly in our country and it needs to be done because we are sexual beings…I grew up with confused sexuality… I didn’t even know what side of the sexual spectrum I was on – now I’ve figured it out... and my theory is that the whole world is bisexual…just to different degrees.

Sumeira, Female, 25
Of course it’s important. You should know yourself; you should know your body first. So yea – there should be that awareness, you should know what you’re doing. We don’t talk about it … and people don’t know – in this society most people are segregated…

Zobia, Female, 22
Absolutely! I think it’s really ridiculous how they don’t teach sex ed in Pakistan. It is extremely important in my opinion and can prevent disease, unwanted pregnancy and eliminate the completely unaware and unknowing attitude our people have towards something that is a part of everyone’s lives.

Saira, Female, 22
absolutely! yes! I think so.

Rabia Female, 23
Yes definitely. A lack of education on sexuality is what has caused it to become an increasingly ‘unmentionable’ topic. Raise the issue, address it in the right manner according to religious/moral guidelines if you’d like, but discuss it – spread awareness!

Farah, Female, 29
Yes – I think so . I’d love to help write a curriculum for sex-ed in Pakistan.

Sam, Female, 28
O yes. and its not like sex-ed is sexy, its actually anything but, its very scientific medical stuff. but it clarifies your basics and it really instills in you the kind of caution you should exercise. Like i said most info is pretty unreliable kids receive is through other kids or sources like porn.

Maliha, Female, 21
I do. I don’t know what the deal is with people who think sexual knowledge is all inborn. Anyone who thinks that should meet the couple one of my friends encountered in her clinic – they’d been doing anal sex for years and actually came to the clinic for infertility issues – when they examined the woman it turned out she was still a virgin. They’d simply been doing it wrong. Methods aside, its absolutely necessary to teach safe sex practices. That can be done easily in a normal school background. But something else that needs to be taught and needs a gentler setting such as the home is simply about how to respect one’s own body and be aware of it – as well as how to respect other people’s bodies and privacy…too little of that is done, which is why so many people end up confused and weird and may even be molested without understanding what’s happening.

Mahreen, Female, 26
To some extent, yes. Having a broader, more liberal worldview may make you far more open to different experiences, but then again I’ve seen lots of uneducated people having uninhibited, kinky sex.

Next time, what my male interviewees have to say about education & sexual awareness.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brown girls shouldn't have brown Vaginas

So last time I finished up on a positive note, feeling warm and fuzzy about the fact that there are some great, non judgemental Pakistani men out there. Enlightened was even a word I had used. But you know, who am I kidding here…these types are not the norm. Hypocrite, and sexist dbag are words better suited to describe the average (straight) male-supremacist desi dude. The entire society is set up to create them that way, with this sense of entitlement....especially in regards to women. Culture and religion endorse it.

They can be judgemental in ways I hadn’t even fathomed possible. Just the existence of products such as this is testament to that:

What. The. Fuck. No, really... What. The. Actual. Fuck. Why on earth does the already sick desi obsession with being *fair* outdo itself yet again and transcend to a whole other disgusting level? Why? Why do we need to bleach our genitals to satisfy some ridiculous brown male fantasy of wanting a white vagina? That can't be safe.

White porn, is 'the standard' I guess....where a lot of young south Asian men learn about sex, sadly their logic can't extend to understanding that brown women will not look like the white women in porn. And ffs, most women of any race, don't look like women from porn.

Just like penises, vaginas come in all shapes, sizes and colours. If you expect a dark skinned girl to have a pale lady're out of your mind, just a little bit.

I recently had a discussion with someone who brought up how he had had a conversation about the colour of desi (south Asian) vaginas with other brown guys. He was pretty mortified by what he heard as well. He’s been nice enough to write an account of that evening for this post, pretty shocking to say the least:

A few months ago I was sitting with a bunch of men in a gathering where alcohol was in abundance and conversational restraint in dearth, so the topics naturally revolved around sex, and eventually, what was the best sex they had ever had. Descriptions of ideal sexual partners invariably involved skin tones and complexions and one such description produced a remark that would spark a curious discussion that is to be the basis of this write-up; said a middle-aged man with two wives and a legion of mistresses, ‘no matter how fair skinned a desi woman is, her vagina and nipples are always dark’.

This sweeping statement, which I can tell you from personal experience is factually incorrect, was met unanimously with agreement and approval.

From here on the conversation became exclusively about the colour of female genitalia. Many of the men sitting there were frequent visitors to brothels, and frequent visitors to foreign countries and, predictably, brothels in foreign countries. They also had wives, girlfriends and professed to engage in casual sex without monetary transaction as well.

Turn by turn they related their own stories of the darkest and fairest genitalia they’d come across. As skin colour is also deeply embedded with class and social stature, the most denigrating remarks were for the dark skinned sex workers or servant girls with whom they’d had sexual encounters.

Accusations of lack of cleanliness, hygiene and health were abundant. That they did not like performing oral on somebody with dark vaginas and nipples. The ideal colour was pink; it was repeatedly said that foreign men were ‘lucky’ to have convenient access to it, that the colour somehow made all the difference when it came to oral sex, and that generally their most pleasurable sexual encounters were associated with that colour.

‘The best sex we’ve had’ inevitably involved mentions of the pinkest labia or areolas; they were considered aesthetically more pleasing and therefore more arousing, and arousal played a key part in eventual satisfaction.

Two or three of them deemed that lighter skin around the breast and crotch areas was a sign of sexual health and that they were more suspicious of contracting diseases from darker coloured organs.

(lol if this was true, *all* light-skinned people would be STD free, and that is really really not the case. Idiots.)

One man said that, ‘darker vaginas tend to smell, and taste rotten’. This was a guy who’d never been with a ‘light’ genitalled woman, and was basing this opinion on his experience with pornography; that white men readily seemed to perform oral on fair genitalled women, whereas for him it was an ‘unpleasant’ activity.

(well clearly, you can always tell how a woman’s vagina smells by watching her in a porn video, And you almost never smell anything foul coming from the TV... so you can safely conclude that their vaginas don’t have a smell at all. Can’t argue with such airtight logic. What an intelligent fellow.)

Now I’m going to wager here that performing oral sex, on either gender, by either gender, is not everyone’s cup of tea (sorry if that ruined your evening tea) anyway. Or maybe he just wasn’t doing it right. But it’s curious that instead of exploring his own sexual interests and limitations he would blame, as seems the norm, the woman instead. In this case, the colour and constitution of her genitalia. That had it been more pink his experience would’ve been better somehow.

Another man said that darker vaginas were relatively ‘loose’. Of course the male fascination with vaginal tightness is nothing new, nor even culture specific, and requires an entirely different debate altogether. But this was just another example of attributing a perceived negativity about sexual organs to their colour. ‘Loose’ was his exact phrase, he didn’t even use an Urdu word. He said it quite confidently and when queried by me he could not qualify his statement, beyond saying that ‘they are’ and ‘ask anyone who’s been inside a fairer one’.

(by now, the level of stupidity has crossed every limit that my mind could’ve possibly imagined - However the upcoming sentence sums it up best)

At this point I considered it a small wonder that dark skinned vaginas weren’t held responsible for the rise in oil prices and power outages.

Of course, these highly sexually active men were also going around making snap judgments and generalizations partly out of necessity of habit; given their promiscuity and that they view sex as gratification only, not performance; they don’t have ‘partners’, they have outlets or victims or means to phallic relief.

(And sadly, the writer of this piece has captured the very essence of how too many desi men view’s a heartbreaking reality. Our cultures don't even recognize that marital rape is a thing, consent is not a concept stressed upon. Women suffer the most of course, but I imagine that something is taken away from the quality of such men’s lives as well. They will never truly know the joy of making love to a partner and not an object of sexual gratification. It must get lonely. But even sadder is the fact that they might be too stupid to realize it.)

So the sexual experience of the woman does not matter, and where one would rationally think that inexperience would actually lead to less pleasurable intercourse, they are firm in their belief that inexperience means tighter vaginal muscles and exponentially more pleasure.

Hence they say things like ‘a thin back means she’ll be tighter down there’. Or ‘thick arms and hands imply wider, unpleasurable vaginas’.

* * *

Well. That was fascinating, disgusting and sad, all at the same time. A rare glimpse for us into the types of conversation that (brown) guys can have when no women are around. Thank you for that.

This conversation definitely sparked a lot of interest on twitter too, here are some interesting things people had to say;

Omair Zeeshan: illogical though. Darker skin has more evolutionary benefits. Should be hardwired to prefer

sharabi kababi‏: Let's face it (heh!!), no one's really examining vags, most of us are just happy to get it in :)

pathipen: Maybe I "knew" men who were more open minded.

Smacula: I think we are all to blame. Porn sets up unreal standards. We like unreal standards. We see real and scorn>>

Smacula: << in that way, porn is much like aunties. Who show off their unreal kids, and set unreal standards. #sorryButHadTo

* * *

I will stress again, that our country is in desperate need of sex ed. We’ve seen what can happen when pornography is a person’s only source of ‘sexual education’ … it makes me sick to my core.

It's time to make sure we raise our sons to be decent men.

If the kinds of thoughts we’ve been discussing in this post seem at all familiar to you, or you see nothing wrong with them, you’re obviously an ignorant asshole. But I suppose it's a start you're here, reading this.

If after reading this you still think having such thoughts are ok, go lock yourself in your room...and don’t come out till you can shine your brown dick to gleaming white or a rosy pink. Just sayin’ ;)