It has recently come to my attention that a certain form of plastic surgery has come into vogue with ladies of all ages; known professionally as "labiaplasty," the surgery involves the reduction of the labia minora and/or majora. While there is a genuine need for this surgery where the lady bits are so elongated as to cause discomfort or a health risk, there is a significant percentage of these surgeries which are done for purely cosmetic purposes. Because women didn't have enough to obsess and nitpick over and be insecure about, now we have to look at our hoo-ha's and wonder if they are freakish alien symbiotes attached to our crotches.
This whole post stems from a program I watched on BBC America called "The Perfect Vagina" where a journalist interviews doctors, patients, women who have considered getting the surgery, therapists, artists, and insensitive jackholes who should never be touched by women. It was interesting to watch and raised several questions in my own mind, as well as my feminist righteous indignation (video of the program can be found below). According to the program, "vaginal cosmetic surgery on the NHS has doubled in the UK over the past five years and in the private sector there has been a 300% increase in labiaplastys, making it the fastest growing form of cosmetic surgery in the UK."
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But, as pointed out by writer Amy Clare (you should read this) for feminist UK blog, "The F-Word," the documentary failed to question the WHY women feel the need trim their cootch surgically to resemble a young girl's downstairs area.
The source is porn, obviously, where waxed nether regions and bleached naughty bits (and bottoms) are the norm. Women are substituted for right fists, never reaching orgasm themselves, but being slathered in semen because HIS orgasm is HER orgasm. A significant amount of porn is degrading, offensive, and one sided; I'm all for sexual liberation, but that isn't what this is. It's the patriarchal double standard moving from the bedroom to in front of the camera to satisfy a demand from a mostly male population.
My theory is that the movement from mostly natural-looking ladies of the seventies to the hairless skeletal bleached blondes with mangos for tits who look like they're fifteen is a warped and distorted reflection of the movement in mainstream media towards a sculpted, glossy, impossibly skinny, toned, and bronzed female standard of beauty that is almost always skimpily dressed in expensive designer clothes and jewelry. (That was a mouthful, my apologies!)
If you haven't been paying attention, you just have to look at fashion magazines and television; you can't find bathing suits that aren't bikinis unless you go to the "ladies over fifty" section of a clothing store, where the suits are of some of the worst and unflattering designs (clothing women over the age of fifty in huge, shapeless tents is another post entirely). Not to mention that bikinis are getting so skimpy that the function of them is very clearly to display "the goods," and that chick ain't gettin' nowhere near the water.
On TV, the lead female is never anything less than skinny, and if a female character is a little plumper or perhaps a little odd looking, she's the comic relief. We are so trained to view females on television by this standard that when someone does buck the status quo, even I, as good a lady feminist as I try to be, am taken aback, and I have to stop myself and readjust my thinking.
I may sound paranoid, but the emphasis on SEXY, rather than BEAUTIFUL is a trend that has been creeping up on us for some years now, and of course, women with their low self-esteem and desperate need to please are obsessed with becoming what they believe to be the standard of what is "beautiful," which is, in fact, the standard of "sexy." What a lot of women don't understand is that just because a guy thinks you're sexy and "do-able," DOESN'T MEAN THAT HE IS GOING TO LOVE YOU. The thought process that goes through a woman's mind is convoluted and utterly mistaken: "To get a man's love and affection, I have to get his attention. To get his attention, I have to be physically attractive. To be physically attractive, I have to adhere to this unattainable and horribly uncomfortable and expensive and superficial standard of what I've been told is attractive, and wear as few clothes as possible while I'm doing it."
To get back to the original point, because women think that every gotdanged bit of them has to be physically attractive in order to make dudes want to be with them, they're chopping off bits of themselves (bits that guys really shouldn't be looking at for long periods of time anyway, those bits are for using, not looking).
It is especially perplexing considering how absolutely bizarre and ridiculous a dude's member looks, flacid or erect. If they get to have a protrusion that varies in size, shape, color, and direction of the bend, why are women driving themselves nuts over a few folds of skin that are almost never out in public?
I'm not sure I have an answer; females today are more open about their sexuality, especially with other females, so the subject of what their vaginas look like wouldn't seem like it's that taboo, but perhaps it is? We can compare boobs 'till the cows come home, but because those nether regions do gross and gooey stuff, we still don't feel comfortable discussing them.
I think, at the very least, women need to understand that:
1.) Vaginas are always going to look a little weird. They're in a crushed and crumpled area of moist darkness, and they are primarily FUNCTION not FORM. So you need to get used to the idea that those porn stars? That's not reality, that's a lot of unhealthy crotch tampering that isn't natural. And really, when you think about it, why do you want your guy having sex with a fifteen year old's vagina? THAT'S GROSS AND WEIRD.
2.) Most dudes aren't going to give two craps what your junk looks like as long as they get to put their willy in it. If a guy does, then guess what? He's an insensitive asshole who doesn't operate in reality, and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble down the road if you kick him in the balls and toss his shit into the street.
3.) Respect that va-jay-jay. That thing is freaking amazing, the things it can do. All those kickass sensations that make you go, "oooh," a complex ecosystem of pH levels to facilitate the birth of the best offspring possible, constricting, expanding, have you ever seen a baby being born? IT IS A HERCULEAN FEAT. I know we get ticked off at it because it might smell funny after a few days of not showering, and it bleeds sometimes, but you know what? We have soft poofs of hair, while dudes have an elephant trunk sagging off their front and they often sit on their balls. I think we can call that a win, don't you?
Jamie McCartney's "Great Wall of Vagina"