Friday, April 3, 2009

Vaginal Plastic Surgery

From a BBC documentary that I watched last night I discovered that the fastest growing area of plastic surgery is vaginal plastic surgery. It is mostly done by young women, sometimes as young as 16. The go in for this kind of surgery because they believe that their vaginas are "not pretty enough."

As shocking as the story was (I mean, who even knew this was happening?), the worst part of the documentary was the journalist's analysis of the reasons why this procedure is so popular. Instead of trying to understand where this comes from, the journalist relied on the rhetorical device I call "the media is the devil." As soon as I heard the worn-out and deeply annoying mantra "We are daily bombarded by the images of perfect women," I turned off the television. Perfect women, maybe. But perfect vaginas? The only place you can find images of vaginas is porn. And porn's attitude normally is: "Any vagina is a good vagina."

There must, of course, be a reason why young women dislike their sexual organs so much. I believe that a responsible plastic surgeon would be well advised to send these women to counseling in order to find out whether they have been victims of rape or sexual molestation. There is no doubt in my mind that the majority of these patients have a history of sexual assault. It would have been great if the documentary at least tried to go in this direction.


Anonymous said...

A trendy topic in women magazimes...

On one side, you have the Western world complaining about sexual mutilation of girls in Africa, on another side, you have Western girls spending money on tightening their vaginas or correcting their labial lips, on yet another side, you have this weird blind spot in the US about male circumcision, which is another form of sexual mutilation/aesthetic modification of the male sexual organ, acceptable and even encouraged.

Vaginal plastic surgery is the reflected image of the scandalous female circumcision: a desire to modify the body so that it fits into some kind of standards. While I agree with you that to put blame on the image of the woman reflected in the medias in superficial a reading, I disagree with you that any vagina is good, since some women obviously feel that there is something wrong with their vaginas. I am not going into details, but once again, the reasons why these women want this kind of surgery go beyond the perfect image of the woman body reflected in the medias. Hello anthropologists? Psychoanalysts? Marxists? Feminists?

How about your thesis on rape and sexual abuse, then? Sexual abuses and rape are PERVADING in our society, and they are still huge taboos, but your theory misses two major points: aesthetics and the ignorance of many female regarding their sexual organs. Some men who were not raped go for circumcision for aesthetics reasons, just like women do... because what they see and what they feel is not "normal" in their minds. Maybe women should have a closer look at their vaginas. They would know more about themselves and start to allow themselves to feel what they negate themselves to feel, because what they see or what they feel (or do not feel) just feel "wrong".

But female masturbation is so taboo... and male circumcision was a way to prevent masturbation!

Clarissa said...

Thank you for a great and insightful comment! Male circumcision is a topic that merits its own post. And I'm going to write about that right now.

I agree with you when you say that women go for this surgery "because what they see and what they feel is not "normal" in their minds" but the question is why anybody would feel this. How come I never heard that their is some kind of an "aesthetic standard" concerning what a vagina "should" be like? Where do the women who go in for this even come up with the idea?