designer vaginas 540

DESIGNER VAGINAS

Hands up who’s had a good, hard look at their vagina in the mirror? How does it shape up?

I’ve had a look at mine, but much like my thoughts on a penis close-up, I don’t think it’s particularly attractive.

Don’t get me wrong – I love vaginas. I definitely love my own vagina. It’s just not the prettiest pussy in the cat show. And frankly, I don’t care. It works and it brings me great joy. And my husband couldn’t care less what it looks like, he is just happy to get anywhere near it.

That’s why the rapidly increasing trend of getting corrective surgery to fix “abnormalities” is so worrying to me. The news this week that girls as young as 12 are seeking cosmetic genital surgery to look “normal” is frightening.

Firstly, what constitutes an abnormal vagina? And secondly, who is telling women that their vaginas aren’t up to scratch?     (Cough! Ed.)

An obsession with fitting the mold, airbrushed vaginas in men’s magazines and the porn industry have a lot to blame.

Women’s insecurities are at an all-time high and now they are moving to the largely untouched, mind the pun, bastion of the vagina.

New boobs – check. New nose – check. New hair extensions – check. New labia – oh shit, I must get that sorted.

Medical and reconstructive procedures aside, it seems the alarming trend to undergo procedures for cosmetic reasons is on the rise. According to an article in The Age, Australian Medicare figures reveal that the number of women undergoing vulvoplasty or labiaplasty has more than doubled in the past 10 years to over 1,500 women last year. This figure does not take into account private practice surgery. The day surgery procedure reconfigures the inner and outer labial lips of the vagina and is done under local anaesthetic and sedation.

Award winning documentary, Sexy Baby examines how a hypersexualised society has impacted on the lives of three different women.

One of the women is 22-year-old Laura, a kindergarten teacher from North Carolina, who lets the filmmaker document her labiaplasty, complete with footage of her vagina before, during and after the procedure. Insecurities about what she considered her excessively large labia began after a boyfriend commented on its size.

“My first serious boyfriend watched X-rated movies and stuff and he was like: ‘Oh, it’s bigger than other girls. What’s wrong?’ so I just feel like it would be a huge turn on to a guy to look like a porn star,” she explained.

Author Naomi Wolf, who has written extensively about vaginas in her most recent work of non-fiction Vagina – A New Biography, has been vocal about the impact porn has on an individual’s sexual psyche.

“The whole world, post-Internet, did become pornographised,” says Wolf, in a New York Magazine article.

“Young men and women are indeed being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training – and this is having a huge effect on how they interact.” Fewer women are feeling “porn-worthy”.

And men aren’t immune to heightened insecurities about how they look and perform in the bedroom. Just take the trend in Thailand for men to inject their penises with olive oil, bee’s wax, paraffin or silicone, to increase its size. It’s simply disturbing.

This is not to say there aren’t many women and men out there perfectly happy with the way they look and perfectly at ease with their sexual prowess. Many a healthy sexual relationship (or individual) can use porn as an aid, but it seems there’s a new generation, and sub-section of the community, who can’t. A group of people so ashamed – and pressured – about how their bodies look that they will go to expensive and at times dangerous lengths to alter their genitals to emulate their air brushed, digitally-enhanced and cosmetically altered ideals.

For me, I’d be happy to find my vagina at the moment, what for it being a bit of jungle down there.

 

 

MORE STORIES BY BIANCA WORDLEY

Newsflash: Women Drink Beer!!!

Dear Interwebs, Drop Dead

Welcome to My Crazy Head

The Ugly Side of Beauty

 

*Bianca Wordley is an Adelaide-based blogger and writer who is the publisher of bigwords. She has worked for The Advertiser, The Sunday Mail, Independent Weekly, The Times, Australian Associated Press, Adelaide Hills Magazine and read the news for ABC Radio. You can find her on Twitter: @bigwordsblog.


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45 Comments

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Mrs Woog

    I just cannot even get my head around that one. It is what it is! Great post Bianca x

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    John

    well i agree with Bianca, “And frankly, I don’t care. It works and it brings me great joy.” The penis with some guys isn’t exactly the best looking thing or the biggest! but hey…it works and bring me joy.
    Leave it alone.
    John

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    maggie

    What did women do before the Plastic Surgeon came along??

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Catherine Rodie Blagg

    It is a very disturbing trend. Brilliantly written as always Bianca!

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    G

    The issue, as I see it, is not so much the presence of porn, but the lack of a strong counter-culture to porn. Sex education in schools, homes & community centres needs to centre around sex-positive information, based in reality and presenting REAL images and REAL conversations.
    Porn (when used in isolation) tells us the kind of sex we want or are having, as well as our bodies, are wrong. Most of the time they’re not wrong, but perfectly natural. A counter-culture therefore needs to be developed where honest, educative & potentially explicit conversations need to be initiated from a YOUNGER age.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Carmen

    I edited a book to try to redress this very issue, called “Heart of the Flower: The Book of Yonis” (by Andrew Barnes & Yvonne Lumsden, Pangia Publishing, 2010. http://www.heartoftheflower.com). Research published in the British Medical Journal found that the increase in women viewing porn was a huge factor in influencing women to seek labiaplasty because they had an idealised view of genitalia from porn. They were also influenced by articles in magazines about ‘designer vaginas’ and a rise in advertising about labiaplasty. Trouble is many women don’t get the opportunity to see a lot of other women’s vaginas (I prefer the term ‘yoni). Even the Royal Australian & NZ College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has called for women seeking labiaplasty to be educated about what’s ‘normal’. In our book, we featured photos of the genitalia of 50 women, portrayed in a non-clinical, non-pornographic, indeed in a quite honouring and beautiful way. The women are aged from their 20s to their 60s and one thing I learnt working on this book is that there is no normal and that is a beautiful thing. We should all be educating ourselves, our daughters and our sons about this. It doesn’t matter if you change the way your body looks unless you can also change the way you feel about your body, so I reckon we should all at least start there.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Thomas Brookes

    Mention should also be made of Asian women who have created a huge market of bleaching themselves down there, because they are being told their skin is too dark. As for long inner pussy lips (sorry to be graphic), if your boyfriend doesn’t like the way it looks, don’t change your pussy, CHANGE YOUR BOYFRIEND!!!. There is no such thing as normal. Celebrate what you have and the way you are.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Lisa mckenzie

    I just don’t believe this,our vagina’s are just Vagina’s aren’t they,my husband or any one else has never complained about how mine looks? I think young girls should not be having surgery to change how they look.Imagine If you said to a man I don’t like your penis!!! he would not change it,we as women take what people say too much to heart ,and it is very sad.Must read that Vagina book I will put it on my to reading list.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Elaine

    Great blog Bianca – and I concur with all the comments re it being a disturbing trend etc – yet is is happening and porn is not the only culprit.
    I really resonate with the last comment by ‘G’ re needing to intervene at an earlier age re sex-positive info – whereas traditionally we have focussed on avoiding sex, safe sex etc, and very little if any info on masturbation, aesthetics, etc.
    Unfortunately those willing to create the ‘designer vaginas’ prey on womens’ insecurities and vulnerabilities rather than create a culture of self-acceptance and vive la difference.
    Our sexual performance and enjoyment is not a result of how our penis or vagina looks – it is an intricate balance of what we like about the other person, our feelings and our ability to “let go”. I have strong feelings against the media that perpetuates this unattainable notion of “perfection” that spills over into the bedroom and inevitably corrodes our sense of confidence and overall wellbeing – including our sexual wellbeing.
    As a sexologist I am reminded of how some women are uncomfortable getting a mirror to explore down there, are sometimes hesitant to masturbate or on some cases are scared of penetrative intercourse and suffer from vaginismus.

    OK, so in 2012, cosmetic surgery has become increasingly acceptable as many women (and men) defy their age, and so too have brazillians, but surely this should not have to include our vaginas – specifically our labia….unless there is an overwhelming list of exceptional circumstances.

    My message to many women is don’t fret – your genitals are just fine!!

    Elaine George
    (Sexology Australia)

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Elaine

    Yes – also agree – one of the key points that we need to educate is that norms are just that – and people need to understand that there is always variation within any normal bell-shaped curve.
    Some women will have bigger, longer labia majora and minora, others less so – just like breast variation.

    Agree with other point too – change the boyfriend or husband!

    Elaine

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    G

    Hi Elaine,
    I agree that this ‘new wave’ sex education needs to extend to health professionals and the cosmetic surgeries industry alike, to ensure there are adequate ethical requirements – such as adequate consultation/counselling before & after the surgeries.

    I’m also a sexologist, and I’m constantly surprised by the number of women who I speak to who have no idea what their vulvas even look like, or if the look/smell/taste is like other women’s. The bottom line is, if it’s causing you pain or discomfort you might look into certain surgeries (many women with quite large labia find they suffer frequent chaffing and difficulty feeling comfortable wearing tight pants, exercising etc). Otherwise, the amazing diversity of vulvas (and certainly every part of the human body) should be celebrated and discussed openly.

    • Reply November 27, 2012

      Elaine George

      Hi G – Who are you?!

      Elaine George

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Merryl Chantrell

    Can’t say ‘only in America’ these days can we? Hey I love the post and you know it made me smile. In fact I’m still smiling.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Kerry C

    Don’t ditch the “lips”, ditch the boyfriend. He must be a right drongo if the thinks “porn” is “norm”.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Aeron Winters

    I can’t imagine why anyone would want to have this surgery. I would be so afraid that something could go wrong and I would lose some or all sensation down there. I would be devastated if that happened. I enjoy the pleasure my vagina gives me and would never risk compromising that. And I agree with the others who say that if your partner doesn’t like yours, ditch them in a hurry.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Annie Also

    Um. I think you are talking about vulva’s NOT vagina’s considering the vagina is the ‘birth canal’? It is an Americanism to call vulva’s ‘vagina’s’.
    Otherwise good article and there are a lot of sick puppies ( not pussies) out there…

    • Reply November 27, 2012

      Elaine George

      HI Annie – yes you are right – yet many of us have only JUST got used to hearing the word “vagina” spoken out loud…many would squirm with the word “vulva”
      ’tis sad but true, you’d be amazed at the number of women/couples I see that are awkward with the correct terminology.
      It still amazes me that despite the hype of 50 shades, we are still so repressed in so many ways….

      Elaine

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Katie

    I just want to tell all these bloody “cosmetic” surgeons who chop up women’s labia, to rack off. I know, it’s a free country, and where do you draw the line, and what about rack enlargement :( etc. Well, I’m sure we can draw the line. That’s what decisions are all about.

    I believe it is professionally irresponsible – malpractice I’d say – for doctors to offer these invasive, irreversible procedures (with their attendant surgical risks) simply to pander to today’s porn fashion image.

    These operations may not be direclty funded by Medicare, nevertheless the training of doctors who perform them is taxpayer subsidised. Should we be paying for a system that can chop off a woman’s genitals for no good reason? Most of us trust and believe that doctors are there to save lives.

    The surgical procedure of labiaplasty cannot be compared to the infamous invasive cutural female genital mutilations that horrifiy us. But it is still a form of genital mutilation.

    To put today’s attitudes and female sexuality in context, read up on the past 200 years of the female orgasm and the contrivances adopted by society to deny its existence eg by giving it a psychiatric classification – hysteria. In 19th century Europe, UK and US, this happened.

    We might think we are liberated and enlightened, but the extraordinarily persistent demial of female sexuality, including these mutilating porn fetishes subsidised by the State and endorsed byt the respected medical profession, tells us otherwise.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Coco

    The general point of the ridiculousness of vanity surgery on our labia is valid- but there remain a group of women who have significant health problems because of their labia who should be entitled to this procedure.
    We live in a culture where most women only see their own private parts and those on view via porn. We do not normally see images of medical problems with vulvas that plastic surgery can rectify. The fashion for hairless genitals throws it all into starker relief.

    For example, some women can have labia that hand down half way to their knees, or with massive multiple folds that have to be folded origami like into super firm underwear and are so airless they suffer from constant infections. They avoid intimacy, swimming. physical activity etc because of concerns about sweat, infections and labia falling out.
    I am not advocating wholesale designer genitals but the discussion needs to be tempered with a nod to genuine health and other reasons some women are opting for these procedures. It is not all about hating yourself and pleasing men addicted to porn!
    After talking to affected women like this I would hope this debate would be a bit more nuanced.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Rhoda

    Germaine Greer has discussed this. She drew a comparison to western cosmetic surgery on female genitalia and female genital mutilation in Africa – (done on other continents as well I know, including this one ).

    By this I think she means that modifying the female genitalia may be for ‘therapeutic’ reasons in a western society but it is mutilation nonetheless and should we not make it illegal so it does not become a cultural practice as in Africa.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Katie

    @Coco: In most biological development it is true that if something can go wrong, it will. So I expect there exist a few cases of women who may conceivably have “significant health problems because of their labia”.

    On the other hand when the above statement is followed by: “The fashion for hairless genitals throws it all into starker relief”, i then wonder what these heatlh problems have to do with shaving, and if they do, then don’t! shave!

    The problem of “labia that hang down half way to (the) knees” sounds like poetic license. Whereas “massive multiple folds” that cause “constant infections” sounds like a hygiene issue caused by an aversion to thorough washing (self-handling remaining a not-uncommon taboo). As for “labia falling out” – out of what? The inner and outer labia are external genitalia, and are not inside anything.

    As I said at the start, I would never rule out those instances where a surgical procedure on the labia could be the most sensible option. But in my book, unusual it would be, and it would not be for “cosmetic” reasons, shaved or unshaved !!

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Prue

    Hear hear Bianca! I’m with you and Caitlin Moran. Not only is the idea of surgery ludicrous but I think we need a swing back to regular unwaxed genitalia!

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Coco

    1.I was not advocating shaving.
    2. If you think labia hanging half way to one;s knees is poetic licence, you need to spend some time with women whose lives are blighted by this.
    3. To reduce this to a lack of hygeine dimissive. Many women work 8-10 hour shifts with 1 hour each way on a train to and from work. Stockings make everything sweatier and confined. We can be as thorough as all get out with washing our genitals but after 13-14 hours of running around at work, on a hot day, bacteria build up. Australia does not have a system of bidets that make it straightforward to wash genitals. It is actually far easier in France.
    4. The” falling out” reference was not a reference to falling out of the body but a reference to falling out of the sides of underwear [increasingly only available with high cut designs], swim wear, sportwear etc. It is obvious from your incredulity and inability to imagine what the source of the problem could be, that this issue is not one that personally affects you. I think the article would have benefitted immensely from women whose lives are circumscribed and blighted by the problem I am describing which you appear happy to relegate to a mere cosmetic issue only arising because of porn and other social factors. Half an hour with a women who never get into a bathing suit or exercise because of the labia problems I am describing, and who opt out of intimate relationships, forego having children – perhaps you may not be so flippant with your analysis and “solutions.” Or maybe not.

  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Katie

    Nowhere did I imply that women whose lives were “blighted” by problems arising from the anatomy of their genitals should be denied the option of surgery. On the contrary I said there would probably always be some situations where surgery was the sensible option.

    It is just that I think the social pressures to conform to an artificial image are overwhelming no matter what one’s objective bodily situation. I agree it would be helpful to hear a range of women’s stories. And It would certainly be bettter if people growing up got information about the wide range of normal genitalia

    But the social pressures are insidious. Saturation marketing by the hairless formulaic images of porn is one issue. Another is dysfunctional restrictive clothing such as the increasingly skimpy underwear we are saddled with (!) .Or the infuriating hipster trousers that oftne leave no room for anything to hang, either in or out!

    Look at how men cope – and they have even bigger dangly bits. If they get too hot and sweaty their sperm curl up and die. What are the recommended healthy underpants and swimmers for men? Boxer shorts!

    It seems to me that most humans are not constructed to wear bikinis, lycra or tight pantyhose etc with or without the brazilian. Although I am sure there are cases where labiaplasty is justified, routine surgical tampering with our anatomy as a commonplace option in lieu of comfortable well-fitting clothes (for instance) seems a risky and expensive misapplication of invasive life-saving technology.

    • Reply November 27, 2012

      Elaine

      Hi Katie

      Brilliantly stated – and I concur with those points.

      Also I acknowledge Coco’s points that there are some women out there that may indeed require labiaplasty for various reasons – but NOT cosmetic.

      I think the overwhelming sentiment is that women need to accept their bodies (including genitals) as they are – and partners too (irrespective of gender).
      Cosmetic surgeons SOMETIMES exploit people’s insecurities and vulnerabilities and that, in my opinion is wrong.
      If a woman is recommended labia surgery, I think it is prudent that she seeks at least one other medical opinion.

      The same also applies to men – some seek penis enlargement and again some surgeons ‘prey’ on some men that think they may be a better lover with an enlarged penis. Again, I’m not saying all men – like women, there may be some men where surgery is a viable option.

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    kerry kandelas

    Don’t need to write a long spiel about it. Bottom line is. Idiots will be idiots. should give these bitches something real to worry about. Self centred vacuous morons. Men don’t care as long as it works. Get a grip. (that’s what she said)

    • Reply November 27, 2012

      Elaine

      Well….Kerry that’s one way of putting it!

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Jenny

    Have any of the Hoopla readers been to MONA? That’s the private museum in Hobart which has been making waves here and internationally over the past year and more. There is a long wall which is devoted to a display of women’s perinea (that’s the plural of perineum in case I have confused you), over a hundred I believe. An artist made these using actual real live models, creating them from casts (the mind boggles). The different variations are amazing, and enlightening, and I daresay all would be classed as “normal”. The artist has provided a very interesting explanation of why he undertook this particular project, and it was with the purpose of demonstrating the variations on what could be seen as normal and acceptable anatomy. I felt at the time that it would be a great way of educating young women as to what could be quite unexceptional, and something with which they could compare their own structures. I do recall the horror I felt when I first used a mirror to take a peek at my own intimate anatomy (feeling the while as if I was doing something that would not be socially acceptable – we were so repressed in those days, long ago!). To know that what I was seeing was pretty much like anyone else had would have been so reassuring!

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Coco

    This article would have been hugely improved with some basic research. Facts, rather than shallow rhetoric and unsubstantiated opinion about such an intimate and important subject. Examples on how to take an ethical approach include:

    1. A basic online search of the Medicare database to quantity the actual number of labioplasty procedures in Australia and to plot that annually to establish precisely what the growth asserted really is. So we have a factual handle on actual numbers before wading into opinion.

    2. An interview with affected women – someone who chose not to have it done and one who had had it done so we have the reasons from someone actually affected by this issue. This I find adds immeasurably to the quality of an article from a bystander who possess lots of opinions, but no facts and no evidence from anyone affected. Maybe even talk to a surgeon who performs this as well. Then maybe we have some solid information so we can decide for ourselves if women who have labioplasty are deluded idiots sucked in by modern porn, lack of personal hygiene, lack of suitable designed exercise clothes, duped by a rapacious plastic surgeon, pressured by male partner and/or whether she had a problem she wanted attended to. Condescending in the extreme to have zero facts, no data, no interviews with affected women but then to airily categorise their motivations for undergoing this painful procedure to the most shallow available.
    3. I assisted setting up and training women’s health nurses in this country. A major part of their work is pap smears. If you had heard the heart breaking accounts from women with labial problems [not created artificially by porn etc]] and the intense way it has affected – yes blighted – every aspect of their lives, a much more responsible and balanced approach may – may – have been taken in this article.

    4. Female Genital Mutilation [infibulation/ cliterodectomy etc] gets some media attention these days as a cultural practice that damages women’s genitals. Are you aware of the thousands of women in Australia whose cultural practice was to attach weights to their inner labia, stretching them over time down half way to their knees? Not a poetic licence on my part at all and the fact that the knee jerk attempt to put me down is a response claiming that speaks volumes about your lack of genuine knowledge or research in the topic. Exactly how many live women’s genitals have you seen? I am not talking about photos – I am talking about real live women? Because it is patently obvious to me you have zero experience here. If you gave a genuine hoot about claimed rising levels of labioplasty , then a modicum of research stating the numbers would have demonstrated this. Instead we get zero research, combined with lots of attitude. The practice of weighting and elongating labia is not unusual, especially in the area around the Congo. The longest labia the nurses I supervised dealt with was a Congolese woman with 18.3 centimetre inner labia on one side and 18.5 on the other. Women with one or both inner labia skin over 8cm would pop up with amazing regularity. Just imagine – trying to live your life with two lengths of skin around the length of the average erect penis in this country between your thighs 24/7. When I say these women had to fold their labia origami like into their underwear and worry about it falling out it was no rhetorical flourish. Tight control undergarments were one option yes, but of course this affected circulation and increased infection rates. Laving them hanging loose created a whole other world of problems, including difficulty walking due to constant chafing. The woman with 18.5 cm labia no longer got on a plane. Her pendulous labia was invariably detected as a possible concealment by the authorities body scans. It was humiliating being physically examined at airports or questioned about it irrespective of whether she tried to tuck it all in or left it out. She could not work and rarely left her house. She had constant infections when she did. She was NOT a unhygienic or dirty woman. Frankly, its insulting to suggest otherwise.

    5. Women with this problem who are considering surgery and/or have had their lives transformed by labioplasty need equal and respectful treatment as any criticism, especially from a media source aimed at helping women. Wendy – you should understand this. Sometimes surgery can assist women even when they have conditions that they are not going to die from. Some fanatics would argue cleft lips should be left au naturelle because repairing them is interfering with what nature gave us, or pandering to male visions of attractiveness.

    6. This article failed miserably – on multiple fronts and even at the most basic level of stating facts about the procedure. It is as one dimensional and unfair to real women as the male porn it critiques.

    7. I do have access to one image of 4cm inner labia that hangs outside underwear and shorts which I probably cannot post on this site, but the 4cm certainly put into context the situation of women with 8cm-18.5cm labia. I think the article would have benefitted from some images of women who say they have a labia problems, so readers could work out for ourselves whether labioplasty was something we would consider if affected.

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Katie

    Coco, the cases you describe do not sound to me as raising the question of cosmetic surgery, but of potential surgical repair. However I am glad that you finally disclosed some of your concerns. I am sorry if you are annoyed, but I had no idea what was on your mind.

    As I have said: “..there would probably always be some situations where surgery was the sensible option.” And while it is true I was at the time thinking of problems arising from “natural” variations in anatomy, if the end result is “a blighted life”. surgical intervention would seem to make sense as an option whatever the original cause of the problem, including cultural practices.

    However maybe you are also implying there is more to the situations you describe – I expect they would be culturally, emotionally and linguistically complex and a challenge to any health professional trying to assist. I can see why it could be useful to have a broader discussion that also included those women’s perspectives and personal stories. On the other hand they also sound like a group, or groups, who may have unique issues to deal with. Not to mention their doctors.

    It is true I have no direct experience of this issue, so other (possibly irrelevant) things that occur to me are whether the health system offers appropriate treatment – what sort of program is available and whether it includes services like counselling where needed; and In cases where the woman requests surgery, whether the surgical expertise is always available from culturally appropriate and sympathetic doctors.

    By the way, I don’t think it is so easy to search the Medicare database as you describe. But I would be very pleased to be proven wrong.

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Rhoda

    I’ve heard of this ancient practice of lengthening the labia but didn’t realize it was still commonly practised in Africa.

    For the satisfaction of the male partner of course.

    The women begin stretching the labia minora of their young daughters when the skin is still soft – age 5 or so. They also use wooden pegs. Can you imagine the pain! Would be excruciating.

    A cultural thing and it reinforces the subjugation of women. Naturally.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Coco. Had no idea.

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Tony W

    “For the satisfaction of the male partner of course.”

    Rhoda, I’m not sure this would be to the satisfaction of the male partner:

    “The young man is seated on rock while his penis is split open with a stone knife along its full length on the underside. The penis once split open is pressed flat against the rock on which the young man is sitting. The Aborigines explained that this is done in order to make it “lighter and more beautiful”. A red blossom is placed in the wound because the penis is to be as red as possible on the inside.”

    Ouch!

    http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/unambal/circumcision_initiation.php

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Rhoda

    agggggg! help! All these bodily modifications!

    Didn’t know circumcision was practised by Aboriginals. Learn something every day. One thing though is was a one off ! Young girls are/were enduring the pain of labia lengthening for goodness knows. It’s like the women of China who had their feet bound.

    Interesting that the World Health Organization amended it’s classification of labia stretching from mutilation to modification in 2008. I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

  • Reply November 28, 2012

    Jill McDougall

    Vagina? Surely you mean labia? (There’s not much to see of a vagina, I wouldn’t think!)

  • Reply December 1, 2012

    Kelly HTandT

    I find it quite hilarious. Everyone is entitled to do what they want to do with their own bodies, their labia should be no different. No one should have the privilege of telling you that you CAN’T so something. But really, besides amused, I feel nothing but pity for those women who are so unhappy with their own skin that they feel the need to cosmetically the most wonderful part of their body, and the most private. The vagina is a mystical, magical arena and should be respected, appreciated, loved. It shouldn’t have to fit a mould.
    Fantastic writing Bianca, I just loved this! x

  • Reply December 1, 2012

    Tony W

    “I feel nothing but pity for those women who are so unhappy with their own skin”

    Therein lies the problem – so many women so unhappy with their bodies they feel compelled to mutilate themselves. What’s making them so unhappy? What can be done about it?

  • Reply December 1, 2012

    Jo H

    I read through these comments and was surprised that I seem to be the only one horrified that 12 year olds were contemplating this surgery. 12 year olds? Where in the world did children so young get the idea that there was something so wrong with their vaginas/vulvas/labia (whichever term you feel comfortable with) that they needed surgery. Young bodies that have yet to finish growing and developing. To be so uncomfortable with your body that you would do this to yourself as an adult (barring legitimate medical reasons) is sad and terrible enough – but young girls? I shake my head in despair at how children so young are being made to be ashamed of their bodies and who the hell is telling them their private areas are abnormal?!!!

  • Reply December 2, 2012

    Tony W

    @ Jo H – ” I shake my head in despair at how children so young are being made to be ashamed of their bodies and who the hell is telling them their private areas are abnormal?!!!”

    Well Jo, in order to conclude that something is abnormal, you need a basis of comparison. Now, vaginas aren’t commonly on public display, so if I had one myself and I wanted to find out if it was normal, I would only have two ways of doing that:

    1. Have a look at some real vaginas. Since I’m unlikely to persaude too many adults to show me theirs, I would have to ask my friends.

    2. Have a look at some photos of vaginas. These can only be found in medical books or in pornography.

    You can decide for yourself which is more likely in practice these days, however if it was me, I would check out some internet pornography, because that would give me a virtually unlimited number of vaginas to examine, and I could do it in complete privacy – thus avoiding any embarrassment involved in asking dozens of my friends to display theirs. Plus I could examine them in graphic close up detail for as long as I liked, whereas my friends may become impatient, and possibly even suspicious of my motives if I get too close.

    Importantly, I could discover the most socially accepted version, and even download a photo to show the surgeon what I want mine to look like. After all, there’s no guarantee my friends’ vaginas are any more normal than mine, and even if they are, they may be reluctant to allow me to photograph them.

    Upon examining hundreds of photos of vaginas on the internet I would soon discover the overwhelming majority of them to be shaven and prepubescent in appearance, having little or nothing in the way of dangly bits. Since I’m already aware that boys love porn sites, I would immediately conclude the prepubescent look meets with their greatest approval. Being young and impressionable, I may even conclude it to be prerequisite to getting laid at some future point. After all, these vaginas on the internet seem to be getting plenty of good lovin’.

    Having discovered to my horror that my vagina is not of the preferred type, I can find any amount of information on the internet about how to rectify the situation, and any amount of testimonials from satisfied women who have undergone such “rectification”, complete with “before and after” photos. And to my further horror, I find that many of these “before” photos closely resemble my own vagina, thus confirming my worst fears. Conversely, I can find very little in the way of validation from men that such rectification is entirely unnecessary.

    Personally I find no mystery whatsoever in any of this, however I’ll leave it to others to decide whether the time correlation between the proliferation of internet porn and the rising incidence of labiaplasty at an increasingly young age is purely coincidental or not. Of course, that may require the removal of some blinkers as to what kids get up to on the internet at an age when their hormones start racing and they’re most susceptible to insecurities about their bodies and their attractiveness to the opposite sex.

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  • Reply August 22, 2013

    ALL HAIL THE VULVA

    […] Designer Vaginas […]

  • […] Designer Vaginas […]

  • Reply August 23, 2013

    cranky

    VULVA. VULVA. say it again: VULVA. Vaginas are tucked inside, and you’d have to use a dental mirror to see them. VULVA. Lovely word, rolls off the tongue :)

  • […] Designer Vaginas […]

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  • Reply January 25, 2014

    ashnaz

    Wolf had a good idea but unfortunately was far too amerika-centric to be worth the trudge through verbiage.
    Just out of curiosity, anyone ever heard of the Hottentot Apron?
    And Nubian and many Nilotic girls spend hours stretching their labia major, as western teens do their nails or hair.
    The odd thing with the ubiquity of porn is that, again, the demand is that women conform to the archetype but I cannot understand why the blokes (the main consumers after all) don’t shrivel (sic!) and slink away.

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