‘Sexual Wellness,’ Huh?
Brands selling "V serums" are suspiciously silent on Roe v Wade.
Twenty-four hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade — a decision that immediately outlawed abortion in states with trigger laws in place and jeopardized reproductive rights all over the US; a decision that will result in increased maternal mortality and murder, abuse and assault, unwanted infants and unemployment; a decision that violently strips Americans of bodily autonomy and basic human rights; a decision that means millions will go without necessary healthcare; a decision that deems women legally lesser-than — I came across an Instagram video promoting vagina-adjacent collagen injections.
“It’s not just about the face wrinkles ladies,” wrote Pawnta Abrahimi, a registered nurse known as @pawntacosmeticderm. “We now can treat your wrinkles down south.” She sprinkled in some floral emojis and suggested that patients “combine this treatment with our vaginal tightening & rejuvenation package,” hashtagging the post #lookandfeelyourbest.
Translation: 13 states have enacted forced birth laws, but don’t worry! If you happen to survive your government-mandated pregnancy, you can tighten that birth canal right up — and plump your pussy wrinkles for a Barbie-smooth finish — to be the best incubator-slash-object you can be!
Or, as is the underlying message of most beauty products and procedures: Anxious about your lack of political, social, and economic control? Here’s a little aesthetic control, as a treat! (Naturally, the state only allows you aesthetic “control” over your own body because the aesthetics of capitalism conveniently and covertly compound cis women’s political, social, and economic oppression, all while making you feel liberated by your consumer “choices”… Maybe now is a good time to remind ourselves that having choices as a consumer is not the same as having choices as a human??)
Anyway, big thanks to beauty publicist and Unpublishable reader Gloria Yang for sending this post my way! Perhaps she put it best when she messaged, “This is vile.”
After seeing that video, I had to wonder how the “sexual wellness” brands that built a $100 billion dollar industry on “feminine” washes and “yoni oils” and “V serums” and so-called “skincare for down there” were reacting to the Roe ruling. Many have been suspiciously silent.
For example, Bloomingdale’s was eager to speak to the press when it launched its “sexual wellness” category last year. Despite the fact that this Supreme Court decision was leaked over a month ago, there’s still no word on how Bloomingdale’s plans to use its income and corporate influence to support “sexual wellness” via abortion access for all. Plenty of smaller, independent brands that offer “vaginal care” products — Moon Juice, OSEA, Dr. Barbara Sturm, Rosebud Woman, Nessa Organics, The Perfect V (yes, unfortunately, that is an actual brand name) — haven’t acknowledged the biggest “vaginal care” news of the past 49 years, either. It’s almost as if they don’t care about “sexual wellness” at all, huh? Like they only ever meant to mine our bodies for profit or something??
Of course, cosmetic injectors and corporations aren’t required to address SCOTUS’s attack on reproductive freedom. If they choose not to advocate for abortion access in some way, though — a strong public statement! ensuring reproductive health coverage for employees, but not in a creepy, corporate-surveillance way! rescinding financial support for anti-abortion politicians! signing a petition (and not just signing, but operationalizing the values stated therein)! donating a percentage of sales to an abortion fund!!! — I suggest they rename their product categories.
Instead of “Sexual Wellness,” how about “Sexual Sales Mongering”?
Instead of “down there care,” maybe “down there commodification”?
Because there’s nothing “well” or “caring” about a company that won’t protect the bodies it profits off of.