Um, This Underwear Ad Is Missing a Vagina

The weird thing about vaginas (" every single thing about those terrifyingly beautiful mystery-caves?" you might rightly say) is that we are perfectly eager to shine a giant spotlight on them when they are presented within contexts we find comfortable (the boundaries of which are absurdly arbitrary, and usually only encompasses the sexual and degrading), yet positively, pearl-clutchingly opposed to their display any other time. As is true with most parts of a woman's body, if an instance of bodily exposure isn't for the enjoyment of the male gaze, it's deemed firmly "inappropriate."

But what do "we" do (by which I mean, "what do they do" because I would just show the goddamn vulva like a grown person who isn't afraid of bodies, but that's just me) when we find ourselves at an intersection of "sexual" and "mundane" like online shopping? How do you advertise crotchless panties on a human model without showing It Which Shall Not Be Shown? (Man, 2014 has some weird problems.)

My dream is to see a day when we either feel free to post photos of labia wherever they are legitimately necessary (Necessary Labia is now officially the name of my riot grrrl revival band), or decide to start having fun with the sex-shamed, puritanical underpinnings of modern Western culture by utilizing funny censor bars, like Gary Busey's face:

Clearly, René Rofé did not think of this genius option when creating the visual aids for its crotchless underwear Amazon listing. The frightening results — with accompanying fake thigh gap, natch — say so much about the increasingly dysfunctional messages women are sent about their bodies. "Let your labia fly free so that your man can see them and like you better! But also your lady parts are inappropriate and not fit to be seen by anyone! Thanks again for letting us, the Big Faceless Idea of Other People's Opinions, to tell you how to feel about your body, and have fun figuring out what the fuck that is!"

My point is, can we please come to any other arrangement for the presentation of vaginaii in photos other than the creepiest of all Photoshop moves, the smooth Barbie-gina? You could put Gary Busey's face on it. You could use a mannequin, or an illustration. Sure, they both have smooth non-ginas as well, but it's not remotely as alarming as when you try to achieve the same look on a human model.

Images: Fotolia; Jessica Blankenship (you're welcome, world); Amazon