William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Thursday, 21, January, 2010

More Body Modification and Thoughts on Colours

Filed under: Forensics,Medicine,Social Commentary,WTF? — williamthecoroner @ 09:53

Longtime William the Coroner readers know that one of my interests in forensics is body modification. I have whole lectures about it–ones that really, really pissed off the photography department of the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office when I worked there. (Bloody dismembered bodies, OK, a scientific talk on body modification? No go.) I am interested in what people do to themselves and why. And how this stuff can bring them to the attention of a coroner.

My interest started when I did a homicide abated by suicide pair, one person had killed the other and then turned the gun around. The killer had a tattoo of a bound, naked person in chains in front of a grotesque skull/castle.– a big arm piece. I started noticing tattoos, then. The guy who had been shot by the cops while attempting to hold up a bar (holding an FOP fundraiser at the time, bad idea) who had “OUTLAW” in gothic script over his chest. The fellow whose hallowe’en costume had failed and stabbed himself, with “Born to Lose” on his chest. Patterns begin to emerge.

So I keep aware of what people do to themselves. When I was in L.A., I noticed large plastic surgery ads in the weekly tabloid paper. Labioplasty was big. I never really thought it was an issue, but some women are concerned that their wobbly bits aren’t symmetrical. I really can’t see that being a problem, though I did have one patient who had had the procedure done because “I was tired of having things get tangled in my underwear.” I really did not want to know anything more.

But now, via Holly Pervocracy, I am now aware of “Labia dye“. (As an aside, doesn’t that sound like a women’s goth metal band? Anyway) The product is targeted at light-complected people, as there are four shades of pink, and evidently some folks are concerned that age and life (pregnancy, usually) stimulates the melanocytes. Women who have had a child tend to have darker genitals and nipples than those who haven’t. I don’t know where you will ever use that little bit of information, but there you go. And one’s anus is usually brown, too, which is another topic entirely.

The author raises some interesting questions. For example, why pink? Why only pink. The stuff is (as far as I know) temporary and harmless. I don’t see the point to it, but I don’t see the point to nail polish, either. But why pink? Why not green? Or Purple? Or black, if you’re in a goth mood. It’s your body, and you can play with it as you wish. The dye seems to be made of unflavoured powdered drink mix, which we know comes in tons of colors.

As a male, though I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I really do not anticipate my ever thinking, let alone saying the sentences, “I love you honey, but your labia are just too funny looking/weird/the wrong colour. Could you do something about it please?” I can also anticipate that even if I did say such a thing, intimacy would be over with the other person, so it wouldn’t matter.


  1. I came across….er…. was made aware of this product and am equally baffled. However, we do indeed have a dog in this pony show: the manufacturer clearly states that it’s equally appropriate for boy types to use on their wedding tackle.

    Having finally succumbed to vanity’s siren song once and tried to even out the color of my beard and been rewarded with a wicked chemical burn: I’ll let you give it a try and let us know how it works out!

    Comment by Joe Allen — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 11:07 | Reply

    • Joe–as the old saying goes, “Not with a stolen d—!”

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 11:10

  2. Oh my God, that’s hilarious. Thanks for making me laugh.

    And I have a tattoo- it’s horses because I love horses. I’m glad I didn’t settle for the first design – a really ugly cactus and cow skull. My next one is designed and means “inner strength”. It’s pink for my best friend who’s fighting breast cancer for the second time.

    Comment by hydrantgirl — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 16:37 | Reply

  3. I would guess “pink” [and shades thereof] for much the same reason that most lipsticks are pinks, reds, and shades thereof — emphasizing sexual interest/availability. Now granted, if a viewer has gotten so far as to _see_ where the labia dye has been placed, some conclusions on availability have already been reached, but maybe it’s like some other species of primates where all the ‘lip’ colors tend to match?

    It’s all so _very_ not my scene…

    Comment by rethoryke — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 17:43 | Reply

  4. I’ve known some fair-haired exotic dancers that used strawberry henna to make their nipples pinker.

    I was blissfully unaware of labioplasty and anal bleaching until a friend talked me into watching an episode of Dr. 90210. In addition to learning about those, one of the featured patients talked about wanting to get a diamond somehow set into the skin on her wrist like a living bezel. Sadly, I don’t think that was addressed before the end of the episode and I thought it was much more interesting than a doctor talking about breast augmentations and genital plastic surgery. (In another episode of that show, a patient had plastic surgery on his scrotal sack because his girlfriend said it was too wrinkly. I declined to watch that episode.)

    Comment by Melissa (oddharmonic) — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 17:51 | Reply

  5. “The dye seems to be made of unflavoured powdered drink mix, which we know comes in tons of colors.”

    Ummmm, if it’s labia dye, why can’t we use flavored powdered drink mix?

    Just sayin’…

    Comment by Ambulance Driver — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 17:57 | Reply

    • Yeah, but what flavour would you pick? There’s a tastes like chicken joke hiding in here somewhere, but I don’t know where. And I’d prefer woman to taste like…well, recently washed woman. As (I think) recently washed man would also be appropriate. I’m not sure I want my wobbly bits to taste like fruit. Or cotton candy, or even buttered popcorn. (And I like buttered popcorn, but still)

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 18:01

  6. So it’s Kool Aide?
    I always assumed labia dye/anal bleaching/labioplasty/pubic hair dye was more for porn stars than anyone else, but I suppose people can be self-conscious about anything. But I can’t say that the first thing going through my mind when I have a, ah, viewer is “I hope he thinks my labia is the right color!”
    Although it would be pretty cool to get it multi-colored… give people nightmares about Rainbow Brite for the rest of their lives…

    Comment by Joan — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 22:10 | Reply

  7. heard of anal bleaching but labia dying is a new one for me … really should read Holly regularly! Personally unless one was working as a stripper or in some other capacity where that part of the body was on display to a non-intimate audiance I really can’t see the use. But then I’m not into body modification in any form at all (and I rarely wear jewellery or makeup).

    Comment by julie — Friday, 22, January, 2010 @ 11:10 | Reply

  8. Lawsy. I only just got reacquainted with basic, general cosmetics. Now I must worry if my wobbly bits are the right color and shape? ….Oh wait. That’s just if I’m shallow, neurotic, and have waaaaaaay too much time on my hands!

    I sometimes have difficulty understanding how I can be of the same species as the people who think this kind of thing up.

    Comment by Impetua — Friday, 22, January, 2010 @ 13:30 | Reply

  9. Went to law school with cops. Cops and strippers run into each other and discuss these things. Come to think of it there were several strippers in law school with me. I have students who strip–they come to early classes with perfect make up and glitter on them. Anyway, I would not discuss this sort of thing with students but at law school with my peers oh my yes. The anus being darker–chocolate starfish was the preferred name.

    Tattoos and crime seem to go together–why is that? Boredom? Gang ritual? Knew a woman who got her belly button pierced after our horrid constitutional law final.

    Comment by Jaye — Friday, 22, January, 2010 @ 17:44 | Reply

  10. Supposedly – and it shames me no end that I know this – Jennifer Love Hewitt has “vegazzled” her “vajay-jay” with Swarovski crystals and such. Don’t exactly know what all this entails but by all reports: “it looks like a disco down there”.

    Comment by Joe Allen — Friday, 22, January, 2010 @ 22:11 | Reply

  11. In my Navy days, lots of ancient lore was passed down on midwatch stories. If I see a person with dyed private parts, I’d assume that they were under treatement for some form of STD. Actvities would then have an abrupt change.

    Note: Gentian Violet, Argyrol and other topical drugs were used to treat STDs through WWI.

    Comment by Glen — Saturday, 23, January, 2010 @ 13:59 | Reply

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