Ladies: Please Love the Labia You Have
These days, a growing number of women are choosing to alter how their genitals look by choosing to have labiaplasty, a type of plastic surgery that alters the appearance of the labia. Typing that last sentence makes me and my labia very sad.
Throughout the past year, I’ve seen multiple pieces about vaginal tightening, clitoral hood reduction, “laser vaginal bleaching,” and labiaplasty. Apparently, this up-tick in articles about designer vaginas wasn’t just a coincidence — some of these cosmetic procedures are being done at an increased rate:
“In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than 5,000 labiaplasties were performed in the United States. That may not seem like a huge number, but it’s an astounding 44 percent increase over just one year prior, making labiaplasty the second fastest growing plastic surgery that year.” — Slate
Now, as a feminist, I have two very different reactions to this news. First, I think, “well, to each their own.” If you have the means to undergo surgery to get a perfectly manicured vagina and the surgery makes you happy, good for you. But secondly, I want to scream: “it’s your genitalia! Why do you want your bits to look like a doll’s vagina?”
While it should be noted that some women do have labiaplasties for medical reasons (long labia can cause very real physical discomfort for some women), the majority of women who undergo labiaplasty do so for cosmetic reasons. (“According to a 2011 study conducted by the International Society of Sexual Medicine, a stunning – though hardly surprising – 87 percent of women who opted for vaginal rejuvenation did so purely for cosmetic reasons.”)
I suppose my main issue with all types of genital beautification is that there is nothing that’s attractive about uniformity. We should all embrace what we have and be proud of it. Also: This Salon piece aptly points out that the majority of clinicians who do labiaplasty and other forms of vaginal plastic surgery don’t have any real authorization to do so:
“Labiaplasty requires no special certification requirements, a consequence of the fact that ‘cosmetic gynecology’ remains unrecognized by the very accrediting bodies which would determine those requirements. In 2007, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released an opinion essentially stating its opposition to all forms of vaginal rejuvenation.” — Slate
Well, I for one love my non-perfect vagina and all of my “private” bits for what they are. I mean, my old girl has been with me since birth – we’ve been through a lot together.
What are your thoughts on cosmetic gynecology? Would you ever consider getting “The Barbie?” I’ve got to admit that I hope your answer to my last question is a firm “no.” We’d love to hear your thoughts all the same, though. Please share your feels.
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