Whimsical cosmetic surgery is an indulgence of the affluent West that invites derision from the deprived Third World… and deservedly so.
So this latest fad of young women for surgically reconstructed labium, preputium clitoridis, vulval vestibule et al in order to create porn’s perfect pudendal cleft must make real c**ts of us all.
So, what exactly does the perfect vagina look like, anyway? Some will tell you they pretty much all look the same. Some will tell you they’re like a fingerprint, unique to the individual, intricate and complicated and beautiful. But, just like we’re told by the media that our tits, our noses, our stomachs, and our cheeks are not quite good enough the way they are, now we’re being told to work on our ladyparts, too. And that nothing short of surgery will make us acceptable. “Labiaplasty” is the ominous-sounding name for the surgical procedure that snips, shapes, tightens and perfects one of our most misunderstood body parts into something symmetrical, uniform, and no longer our own. An astounding number of women are subjecting their most intimate parts to the knife – and paying big money for it too.
Labiaplasty most often deals with reducing the size of the labia (if you don’t know exactly what part of the female anatomy that is, you’re probably a man, and a sad one at that. You should go pick up a Hustler along with your Moves Magazine and figure it out). Sometimes there are legitimate health and comfort reasons for this procedure, but more often women, comparing themselves to porn stars, are looking for a more symmetrical, tight vagina to ease their worries that they aren’t sexy or perfect enough for the men in their lives. I remember the good old days when we only had to feel self conscious about our weight and our hair and our outfits; now we’re obsessing over the aesthetics of our vaginas too.
Doctors and other groups blame the omnipresent porn industry for this increase in “designer vaginas,” saying that increased exposure to these types of images is resulting in an even more delusional frame of sexual reference for men and an even lower level of self-esteem for the ladies. Yes, we’re watching more porn than ever before. It’s easier to find and as evil as ever, I guess. And porn deserves some blame, but not all. Mainstream media teaches us the same thing (without the terrible music and the grunting, thankfully): that we need to be beautiful, skinny, and perfect. We need to fit a mold, and if we don’t, we damn well better fix it if we want to get anywhere in life. If we were more concerned with women’s minds over their bodies, and if as a society we put more effort into making women feel like valued, smart, worthy human beings rather than mindless clothes-shopping sex dolls, there would be considerably fewer women turning to men or designer clothes or surgery to make themselves feel good.
It doesn’t take much searching online to see before-and-after shots of vaginas that went under the knife. Again, there are some medically necessary cases. But I saw more than my share of perfectly normal, healthy “before” vaginas, with terrifyingly cropped, raw-looking “after” pictures – not a great way to spend your Tuesday afternoon or few hours before you meet your friends for drinks, let me tell you. I’m crossing my legs and wincing just thinking about it.
While medical experts around the world are raising their voices in concern about the increasing rate of labiaplasty, including the increase in women seeking private providers whose services are not recorded or regulated, there are also many medical experts providing these services to obviously depressed women, and for a pretty penny. And they’re just as ruthless as the porn movies and our sexist media. Online websites for these service providers promise that they will “correct” the size of your labia for “normal sexual appearance,” but who decides what is correct or incorrect, normal or not normal? It’s just like when we try to “correct” women whose noses are too big, breasts are too small, and foreheads just not smooth enough when there’s nothing incorrect about them in the first place. We’re not all supposed to look identical. Imagine what a boring, monotonous, terrifying world it would be if we all looked and acted exactly the same? Our differences are what make the world an interesting, fun place, vaginas included.
Experts say the risks of labiaplasty include permanent scarring, infections, bleeding, and irritation, as well as increased or decreased sensitivity if nerves get caught in the operation. So basically, you have to be willing to risk never feeling anything good again just so that it looks good for someone else. How messed up is that? Especially considering most men’s ultimate goal in bed is to make you feel good, so they feel like sex gods.
Now, I happen to believe that virtually any man that is given access to your vagina thinks it’s the best thing they’ve ever seen. They are not worried about how symmetrical your labia are. They’re not worried about how perfectly shaped you are, or how closely your vagina resembles that of the porn star he’s secretly in love with. He’s thinking that he’s the luckiest man in the world, and he’s happy with what you’ve got. Really, ladies, how often have you had any complaints? More often than not, our misguided, destructive efforts to perfect ourselves physically are a result of our own issues and our own unrealistic standards.
Whether you’re thinking about a nip/tuck for your special spot or a run-of-the-mill nose job, as individuals and as a society we need to look long and hard at the reasons why so many women feel compelled to cut their way to physical perfection and acceptance. No one should get plastic surgery as a remedy for depression or low self-esteem, not least of all because fixing the outside simply will not fix the inside.
Barring medical reasons, there is absolutely no reason on earth why a woman should get cosmetic surgery on her junk. It’s ridiculous, and it feeds into the already overwhelming stereotype that women should be judged on looks alone, and that our natural appearance will never be good enough. Think about what you could be doing with the thousands of dollars you save on a completely unnecessary surgical procedure. You could be getting counseling for your obvious and heartbreaking emotional issues, going on a relaxing vacation, or maybe even donating money to help the hundreds of thousands of women all over the world who have been subjected to ritual genital mutilation and had their womanhood cut in horrible circumstances against their will. Funny, when you look at it that way, labiaplasty seems almost criminally dumb.