Pubic Humiliation: The Case of the Ugly Vagina

Earlier in the month, when I clicked an inbox link to a webpage for a fundraising campaign, I did not expect to get lost in the political quagmire of women’s rights, feminism, grooming, surgical enhancement, self esteem and pop culture. A vaguely disinterested click of the mouse quickly sucked me into a black hole of supercilious eye-brows, choking on bile, snarky tweets, and a lot of audible exclamations of “What the hell is wrong with you people?”

Indeed, our culture is pathologically obsessed with crotch. Your crotch. My crotch. Celeb crotch. Political crotch. Adult Crotch. Child crotch.  It is not oil that drives the economy, but genitals.

The fact that sex sells is nothing new or hardly a secret, but the extent to which people in 2011 will go to ensure that their groins are groomed, manipulated and stimulated is preposterous. While children starve to death on dusty, miserable roads in Somalia, and youth are gunned down in Norway by a madman, North American women are paying for “facials” and dye jobs  for their vagina, bleaching their anuses, and forking over boatloads of hard earned cash to ensure their lady garden is waxed into aesthetically pleasing whimsy. Glued on rhinestones?  Sure! Why not?! To achieve a more socially acceptable look  below the belt,  many women are choosing to go under the knife, ensuring that their vulva is perceived as plump, supple and youthful looking. Entire industries have sprung up, waiting to capitalize on the vanity and insecurity of women. Current trends indicate that pubic displays of foolishness will only become more shallow and costly as time goes on.

The Case of the Ugly Vagina

How much time do you spend gazing soulfully at your cooter? Does the entrance to your shame cave look like a hairy turkey wattle? When you pull your pants down to use the toilet, do you ache inside and mourn your less than porn-worthy puta?

No?

Me either.

Yet, an explosion in the rapid growth of the  Cosmetogynocology industry indicates that an overwhelming number of women do. Not only is surgical enhancement for the vagina becoming common place, it is the fastest growing area of plastic surgery today. That’s right: surgical alteration of she-crotch is becoming more popular than breast implants, nose jobs, face-lifts, and liposuction. Amongst the more popular procedures: mons pubis liposuction to ensure your v-spot gives less camel toe, clitoral hood reductions, reduction of the labia minora (bye bye, saggy lips!), augmentation of the labia majora (because adult women should look like toddlers down below!), and vaginal tightening.  Any number of these procedures has a practical, medically responsible application: some women experience traumatic and disfiguring births that leave them in a lot of pain, incontinent, and prolapsing. Restoring the bits and bobs to their original condition is prudent. However, the practical application of these procedures are not  where the growth is coming from.

Two demographics are driving the trend: aging Boomers and very young women, barely out of their teens.  Boomer reasoning is simple:  recapture youth.  So why are droves of young women, some as young as twelve and thirteen, seeking out the services of plastic surgeons to make their genitalia look more like  Barbie doll, and less like nature intended?

Call it backlash from a culture that has been infused with pornography. The push from media, entertainment/ music industries and trickle-down influence from a highly paternalistic society which worships youth and glorifies hyper-sexuality. A new generation of women are growing up, and are  made aware that they don’t look like THAT “down there”. Young men are introduced to sex  via waxed, enhanced and digitalized images of women, and develop an expectation that their partners will look the same . Psychological insecurity, projected aesthetic ideals,  a need to feel normal, and a lack of anything to compare to: this is the fuel that pushes the elective cosmetic surgery machine ahead.

A woman has the right to do with her body as she chooses, regardless of how trend driven it may be. What begs to be asked is whether or not these women are being told that there is a major dearth of scientific information available  to them regarding the long term implications of cosmetic genital surgery. Do they realize that their surgeons do not know or understand how a drastic labiaplasty may effect their ability to give birth in the future? That there is a lack of statistics about the sexual function (or dysfunction) following the removal of tissue and nerves that play a crucial role in pleasure and enjoyment? Akin, do surgeons who preform these painful and drastic procedures care that they potentially engender new and undocumented health risks on young women? That, according to a 2008 report by the World Health Organization,  they are preforming genital mutilation, even if it is a sanitized version?

Exploitation.

Generations of women before us fought, died and suffered to achieve some semblance of equality. To gain personhood. Vote. Drive a car. Be emancipated. It is a sad testimony of how selfish we have become, when we squander these rights that were so hard won, and expend them on selfish and futile vainglory.

 

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Tia is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma and covered in a crunchy candy coating of genuine British Columbian snark. She is currently exiled to Winnipeg for an unknown duration of time.

8 thoughts on “Pubic Humiliation: The Case of the Ugly Vagina”

  1. This first segment is done now. It was only 1/3 of the way complete when the monkeys started hitting keys on the typewriter. Next up, brazillian waxes for 8 year olds!

  2. I too use to think that these “elective” surgeries were motivated by the insecurities women had and a desire to satisfy other people, until I had the privilege of actually working with these women and their doctors.

    Sure there are some young girls wanting it, but the majority of women that actually receive these procedures in my experience, are women (ages 21-35 primarily). And most of them desire it because they have real pain, function and comfort issues, not because they want to look like some model on porn. Unfortunately that is the propaganda used by some doctors and media to promote the surgery.

    Instead of perpetuating this by viewing our women as weak and impressionable, we should seek to understand them and their needs. To educate and empower them, not minimize and reject.

    Behind the so-called vanity and desire for our genitals to look like a child’s, are very real issues. Speak to these women, you will have a different understanding. You will find they are no different than the individual that desires to improve the function of their breathing or structure of their nose with a rhinoplasty or the female that desires breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

    These surgeries have been around for many years helping women with congenital defects or trauma and disfigurement caused during childbirth. Only recently (the past 8-10 years)have they been marketed as cosmetic.

    How can we unjustly lump them all into a category of “selfish”, “vain” and weak women? Suggesting women are incapable of making sound decisions for ourselves. That in my opinion is exploitation and ultimately impedes our freedoms and our “personhood”.

    In the end, the choice is not ours to make.

    1. i was initially inclined to not post this comment because its blatant self-promotion and convenient neglect of this bit:

      “Any number of these procedures has a practical, medically responsible application: some women experience traumatic and disfiguring births that leave them in a lot of pain, incontinent, and prolapsing. Restoring the bits and bobs to their original condition is prudent. However, the practical application of these procedures are not where the growth is coming from.”

      in the end, it’s good to post comments :) and to point out the blatant self-promotion and neglect of the moderating bits of the piece.

      in the end, this comment is a new kind of spam: agree with some things, comment on some others then make sure the product you’re selling is legitimized.

      1. Hi Stephen,

        Thank you for choosing to publish my comment.

        You also chose to publish a post with lines like “Does the entrance to your shame cave look like a hairy turkey wattle?”

        In addition, your article is full of inaccuracies.

        First, “surgical alteration of she-crotch is becoming more popular than breast implants, nose jobs, face-lifts, and liposuction.” That is simply not true. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports 296,203 breast augmentations in 2010. Labia reductions are not even reported. To get the “fastest growing” claim, you are most likely referring to numbers from the UK which show a 70% increase in the number of labiaplasty cases on the NHS (from 669 in 2007 to 1,118 in 2008). Even if you were to estimate the number in the U.S. to be 10,000 (which would be a very high estimate), this is still just a fraction of the 1.5 million cosmetic surgical procedures the ASPS reports.

        Second, “However, the practical application of these procedures are not where the growth is coming from.” I again find this to be factually inaccurate. In my personal experience, the vast majority of women I speak with are addressing functional concerns first. And in fact, a study by Drs. Miklos & Moore, two prominant cosmetic gynecology surgeons in the U.S. revelaed that only 37% of women were seeking this surgery for purely aesthetic reasons. This would align with my experience as well.

        Third, “That, according to a 2008 report by the World Health Organization, they are preforming genital mutilation, even if it is a sanitized version? Exploitation.” So, now an elective procedure by an adult is the same as using force to cut the labia off of a young girl. Never mind that half the men in this country are sexually mutilated at birth and nobody even cares.

        I believe you have completely misrepresented this topic. You are a site that claims to “Re-Spin for Social, Political and Environmental Justice”.

        But you have not re-spun anything. You have simply repeated the same uninformed arguments that come from the mainstream media sources. Blame porn, women are weak and influenced by society, etc…

        You may call what I’m doing “Spam”. But who else is going to stick up for the women you are so quick to dismiss?

        Certainly not the editorial team at PoliticsRespun. Your position is quite clear.

        Regards,

        Vanessa

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