Birth Canals

Kangaroos Have Three, a Woman
Two & Some Wish They’d a New One

To one extent or another, it’s played a major part in the birth of every men and women, living or dead. It’s been also crucial for a healthy, happy life of at least half of the world’s population. And yet, it’s prone to misinformation, unrelated to its beauty, allure and importance.
Vaginas have been vilified by superstitious fears since the beginning of times, and yet they came first. But for now, we’ll skirt the core of the issue, so to speak. Instead, we’ll check how evolution assigned them to kangaroos, a woman’s rare anatomy, and how vanity tramples dignity.
Now, even if it’d be preposterous from our part to claim absolute lack of bias on this issue, we do hope to present it as evenhandedly as possible. We have no intention of hiding behind our lack of academic qualification to tackle the subject with salacious innuendo and cheap shots. Damn us if Google spiders do our bidding and land this post on its top search pages.
Which doesn’t mean that we don’t plan to have fun with it. After all, it’s the least we can do to honor both the unusual kind of content that we daily enjoy so much giving a particularly fresh coat of meaning, here at Colltales, and those who we properly credit as having initially reported on such content for their own publications.
So let’s us first praise three British journalists: Discovery Magazine’s Ed Yong, who wrote about the documentary TV series Inside Nature’s Giants, Huffington Post’s Kyrsty Jade Hazell, for her piece on a morning ITV show report, and The Guardian’s Marie Myung-Ok Lee, who covered the recent Congress on Aesthetic Vaginal Surgery, held in Arizona.

Australia’s unofficial animal, the kangaroo, who knew? turns out to have something very distinctive ‘down under’ their anatomy: they have three vaginas. And so does their whole species, the Marsupials, including koalas, opossiums, Tasmanian devils and wallabies, which, as we all know, share another anatomical distinction, the pouch.
What this particular arrangement of evolution entitles is even more amazing: kangaroos can have two simultaneous pregnancies, while at the same time, nurturing a more advanced joey (that’s how they call the young ones; don’t ask) inside the pouch. And then there’s the plumbing, which goes through the whole system in ways that couldn’t be possible with placenta mammals, and that means, you.
Actually, the whole point of being able to appreciate natural diversity is to stop, once and for all, anthropomorphize every other species, as if we’re the initial mold that originated the rest. Nothing could be farther from the truth, except perhaps, figuratively speaking, the distance that the poor, tiny joey is at birth from its mother’s protective pouch.
By the way, even though we tend to associate a country, in this case, Australia, to the animals that inhabit it, there’s no ‘official’ creatures representing it. The red kangaroo is, indeed, native to the region but they’ve became widespread mainly for lacking of effective predators, not because specific conditions for them to thrive there but not anywhere else.
That being said, the kangaroo’s duo-uterus system, which has been aptly designed for the environment such animals have been living in the past 50 million years, is not unique to the species. And, despite our own species’s single-uterus design, some unrelated factors still determine a negligible number of women possessing two uteruses.

That’s the one-in-a-million case of Hazel Jones, from the U.K. The condition, a malformation of the reproductive system while the person is still a baby, is uncommon but in the majority of instances, does not cause any major disruption of her normal life. Doctors have speculated that, in some cases, it may be the result of a ‘phantom’ twin that may have been ‘absorbed’ into the survivor.
However, the fact that Jones’s body has also developed an extra vagina is truly rare. And if personal physical issues are not of our concern, it’s only, well, human, to imagine the psychological implications she may have had to go through while growing up. In our still highly prejudicial society, issues surrounding body ‘differences,’ either real or perceived, are never easy to live with.
Even though hers is not as outwardly visible as facial deformities, for example, or even the initial stages of the gender-reassigning process that many have to endure, the condition may be quite challenging to anyone’s mental health and social stability. Ultimately, only the person herself can determine how best to cope with her physical uniqueness.
Jones learned early on that there was something utterly different about her body, mainly because of excruciating pain and discomfort. But despite advances in surgical procedures, none is advised in her case for scar tissue may form and compromise her reproductive system. Which, by the way, is twice at risk as most women, and will always be an issue, specially if she decides to have kids.
Being as complicated as human beings are, we can’t begin to comprehend what it means to have either a psychological or a physical disability due to a hard childhood or traumatic events. For those who do have it, though, but neither for any of those reasons, stakes are even higher, and no one should have to go through it alone. We do hope that that’s not the case with Hazel Jones.

Let’s face it: mention ‘cosmetic surgery,’ and chances are, we’ll picture someone going for a face-lift or a gastric-reduction nip and tuck. Notwithstanding the brutal reality of disfigurement and radical amputation, brought all too close home by our state of constant war, the fact is that some of us remain trapped in the 1950’s garish alt-reality of elective surgery as a form of indulgence.
Which still is. And despite the fact that war veterans are in the single demographics more likely to desperately need all cosmetic correction they can get, sometimes as a condition to even function minimally back in society, the rich and what used to be called the ‘upper middle class,’ and now it’s only, well, the rich, still indulge in surgical procedures as often and casually as they see fit.
That’s why the currently cash-only, fastest growing cosmetic procedure is the aesthetic vaginal surgery. Which is routinely enjoyed by the super wealthy and the super discreet, some kind of combination of both, and by a minority ‘none of the above’ category of ‘octomoms’ or other spectacularly misguided group.
Only in 2009, Americans spent some $6.8 million on “labiaplasty (trimming or completely removing labia), vaginal rejuvenation (tightening), hymenoplasty (“revirgination”) or clitoral “unhooding,” and other procedures, according to Lee. We’re sure that it’s not just us, or the reporter, that find even these titles utterly offensive.
That’s because they imply that there’s an urgent need for any of such procedures, when the only reason they even exist, is because those who seek them can’t find whatever motivates them inside their own minds or lives. In other words, psychobabbling a bit here, they’d seek an external compensation for their complete lack of self-confidence and fulfillment with what nature already gave them.

Mind you, we’re no prudes. Humans have been searching for ways of changing, re-adapting, strengthening and transforming their own bodies, either by covering it with tattoo or by stretching its physical limits, since immemorial times. Up to a point, it’s actually a noble pursuit, one that many a mystic or deep-thinker has challenged himself or herself to undertake.
That’s one thing. It’s a completely different ballgame, though, when essentially it all becomes part of catching up with the unattainable, being it age, social beauty expectations, health appearance or any other foolish pursuit of what is lacking inside. Thus, a small amount of vanity pushes us forward, to get up and face the world, despite all odds.
Too much of it, though, is crushing, akin at squelching a rising monster, ever thirstier and hungrier for more. That’s when those $6.8 million become wasted small change. Because, let’s be real here, unless there’s some catastrophic event, how many other instances may be sanely conceived when it’d be necessary for a woman to ‘tighten’ her genitals, for example?
Or rather who’d demand from another human being to go such a gruesome procedure in order to please them? It’s a brutal, albeit familiar, form of gender oppression we wish to believe that it had already been left behind us all long ago. The fact that there’s even such an ‘industry,’ shows that it hasn’t.
Again, who are we? if that’s your thing, etc, etc, and all that, but really? At the end of the day, we can’t help it but to compare it to the cruel genital mutilation some primitive societies forced their women to submit to. That some would voluntarily pay top dollar to do it, even if under less medically risky conditions, drives the issue completely down the hill. And our sense of ourselves as dignified species way off the cliff.

3 thoughts on “Birth Canals

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Hope you assisted Library Network – they should know!!

    As ever, Wesley, a brilliant piece of work so interesting, researched and so well written. So this is what you did before I met you, eh?

    I love your stuff.


  2. Hi there, I want to subscribe for this weblog to get newest updates, so where
    can i do it please assist.


  3. eremophila says:

    Brilliantly written!
    Just this morning, I was walking across the paddock with the kangaroos grazing….. and wondering when I’d see the next generation hopping along.. 🙂
    One aspect you’ve not mentioned though, is gender reassignment surgery. To my mind, it falls somewhere between essential and cosmetic, having spoken with many who have contemplated and/or proceeded with it. Ultimately I think it again comes down to what is in the mind…. and your last paragraph sums it up.
    I’m all for complete acceptance of difference. No more sheeple please!


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