A luxury spa will open next month in London's most chic zip code, Knightsbridge. Hot from New York, it will offer therapies from filling up and lighting up to steaming and tightening. But these treatments are not for your face.
VSPOT focuses instead on taking care of the private parts of women. The vagina vigilantes come across the pond and I wonder if British women will fall for it.
However, I suspect that there will be enough excitement for the expensive (and unnecessary) treatments as for the latest designer dresses.
My fear is that many others – who can hardly afford it – will do so because they will start to believe that there is something intrinsically wrong with their bodies. I am also concerned that we will soon be & # 39; medispa & # 39; s & # 39; as the expected VSPOT will see in towns and villages across the country.
Former Cosmo editor Linda Kelsey (photo) fears that a luxury spa opened in London to treat women's private parts will lead some people to think that something is intrinsically wrong with their bodies
After decades of boob jobs, facelifts and Botox, it unfortunately feels inevitable that marketers will have to invent new parts of our body that we feel bad about. Are your orgasms less intense or less easy to reach than you would like? Did you notice changes after the birth of your children? The people at VSPOT are here to help.
The V, in case you are in doubt, stands for vagina, although it also stands for vulva and represents all bits that women need not worry about for medical reasons. Serious things, such as vaginal prolapse, where the pelvic organs protrude into the vagina.
After success on chic Madison Avenue in Manhattan, Real Housewives Of New York star Cindy Barshop (no, I don't) brings her special spa to Britain for intimate titration, sharpening and relief – yes, like lighting up the skin.
Cindy is also a hair removal expert who founded the salon Completely Bare, with which you could weld your pubic hair into oblivion. And she promoted the "vajazzle" trend, where small rhinestone crystals are artistically applied to your pelvic area.
The treatments offered in the United States read as a gourmet menu, although less digestible.
Vaginal steaming, for a start – a method approved by Gwyneth Paltrow some time ago, but only last week, as reported in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Canada, was cited as responsible for giving a 62-year-old woman second degree burns.
According to VSPOT, his steam cleaning (around £ 100) will harmlessly "revitalize your uterus" and increase your libido. A mixture of herbs is placed in a steamer before it is directed to your genitals, while a technician massages your abdomen.
Excuse me if I abandon this offer because, according to real experts, most women have a perfectly balanced ecosystem – no steam needed.
Cindy Barshop agreed that the vagina is self-cleaning and told us that the steam "opened the pores" and was kept about four feet away from the canal. The reference to the uterus has subsequently disappeared from the website.
The next on the list is The O-Shot, to get you faster and more intense orgasm. Apparently, a painless procedure extracts your own platelets, which are then injected back into your clitoris and G-spot, previously prepared with a local anesthetic.
After success on chic Madison Avenue in Manhattan, Real Housewives Of New York star Cindy Barshop (photo) brings her spa VSPOT to the UK
The VSpot team forgot to mention that the jury still doesn't know if the G-spot really exists. If many women report that they cannot find their own, how is the VSPOT team doing?
According to consultant urogynecologist Dr. Sushma Srikrishna of King's College Hospital in London, despite many women singing his praise, "there is no evidence of its effectiveness and there have been no peer-reviewed clinical trials."
Cindy Barshop refutes this and quotes a single study on The O-Shot published in the Journal of Women & # 39; s Health Care in 2017. But Dr. Srikrishna says: "My fear is that this is a vascular area that can easily be damaged. Repeated injections can lead to long-term pain, infections and scars. & # 39;
Another Vspot treatment is V-Lightening, for women who want fairer skin. Although even VSPOT admits that it is "normal" to have parts of dark skin, a combination of professional treatments and home lighting products can apparently eliminate any "discoloration."
Dr. Srikrishna is shocked: "This treatment reinforces the belief that there is something wrong with pigmentation. These ideas can quickly become the social norm, without discussing risks.
"Substances that lighten the skin can remove its protective barriers, making you susceptible to infections and scars."
Cindy claims that the treatment uses only soft products – referring to a "soft almond peel" developed for sensitive areas. The horrible thing is that this is all part of a wider movement that benefits from the idea that your genitals must conform to a stereotype – undoubtedly encouraged by the expanding porn culture.
Lightning creams with names such as Booty Bleach and Gyntima are widely available online, as well as vaginal "tightening" gels.
While witnessing the fact that our most private parts are exposed to public shame in the name of some misleading norm, I remember, almost with nostalgia, a time when the word vagina was not suitable for being mentioned in a family newspaper .
Real Housewives Of New York star Cindy shows a machine at one of her spas in a YouTube video
I grew up in the fifties, when the term was taboo. I remember the first feminist workshops around 1970, in which women examined their genitals with mirrors. Over the years, when I started working on the Cosmopolitan magazine, the conversation slowly increased. Knowledge was considered essential to protect sexual health and helped alleviate the shame that many felt.
In the 1990s, The Vagina Monologues, a play in honor of the female sexual organs, and a powerful protest against sexual exploitation.
More than 20 years later, fueled by proliferating pornography, & # 39; perfection & # 39; of celebrities, and more and more potentially harmful products and treatments, we notice that we are more attached to our bodies than ever – and vulnerable to exploitation.
What is advertised today as promoting self-care and taboo busting is really just another way to make us feel that our private parts are sites of shame that need to be polished, primed and raised.
Some young girls and women spend fortunes decorating and tightening their vagina's, while others run the risk of dying from cervical cancer because they are too self-conscious to go for screening that is readily available on the NHS.
The charity Jo & # 39; s Cervical Cancer Trust interviewed more than 2,000 women aged 25 to 35 at the start of the year and found almost half a delay or had never been for screening.
Eight out of ten admitted that they felt ashamed.
Perhaps surprisingly, there is one treatment that VSPOT offers that Dr. Srikrishna can have any medical benefit. Advertised as a treatment for incontinence, looseness and dry, painful intercourse, especially after the menopause, FemiLift uses carbon dioxide laser technology to stimulate the formation of body collagen.
Dr. Srikrishna says it can help some postmenopausal women. She might even recommend it if estrogen supplements were not suitable and moisturizers were insufficient.
But despite anecdotal data, the evidence that it might help with vaginal laxity or incontinence is not compelling, she emphasizes. And in any case, your first point of contact must be your doctor.
The message is clear. We are encouraged to feel bad about our bodies through the fast-buck brigade, even if they claim they just want us to feel better about ourselves.
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