This is a real thing in the world.

image of the Smooth Groove, a plastic pants insert marketed to prevent 'camel toe'

The "Smooth Groove" Camel Toe Prevention Product

Soon to be sold, one can only hope and assume, at the finest Emporiums of Self-Hatred near you!

Yes, ladies with vulvas, this is the product you didn't even know you needed for a problem you didn't even know you had until it was given a grody name by the LadyBody Police. Just slip the "Smooth Groove" (gross) down your pants and—voila!—the evidence of your womanliness has been sufficiently masked so that people aren't offended by the fact that you have a vulva.

"Camel Toe" is, of course, supposed to be fundamentally different and uniquely unseemly because, um, because, uh, because, well, never mind that. It's just suuuuuuper yucky, and ladies are definitely supposed to bear that in mind while purchasing pants that should perfectly hug the curves of their rear-ends while, simultaneously, perfectly masking the contours of their labia.

(See also: Bras snug enough to enhance cleavage but not create the monstrous appearance of "side boobs" or "back fat.")

Over at xojane, Jess rightly notes that the "Smooth Groove" is "not just good for a laugh; it's also an illustration of how industry can manufacture and then fulfill a need by making you insecure about your body."

And "insecure" is frankly too polite: The "Smooth Groove" website asserts that camel toe is "the most embarrassing taboo there is for us girls." Got that? Evidence of female body parts is "the most embarrassing taboo" for women. We should not merely be insecure about our bodies, but ashamed of our very womanhood.

I can hardly conceive of more emblematic, or more horrible, substantiation of the profundity of institutional misogyny in our culture than the admonishment to be perfect women by denying and treating as shameful evidence of our womanhood.

There are people who will argue that a "little thing" like the "Smooth Groove" is not problematic, and that it is not misogynistic. But if "misogyny" is to have any meaning at all, a product that encourages women with vulvas to treat them as gross, as embarrassing, as less than, that implicitly exhorts us to rip our womanhood from our humanity, that admonishes us to deny, to be ashamed of, our womanhood, in part or in whole, thus requesting of us to subvert our own humanity, must be regarded as deeply, and evidently, misogynistic.

This is why I am a feminist: To ignore subversion of my humanity is to participate in my own marginalization. And that I cannot, will not, do.

[H/T to Shaker Raaven.]

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