The perfect vagina

16 11 2009

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8352711.stm

“Consultant gynaecologist Sarah Creighton and psychologist Lih-Mei Liao challenged the ethics of offering women surgery to address such insecurities, suggesting it was adverts for a “homogenised, pre-pubescent genital appearance” which created these anxieties in the first place.”

Why can’t we celebrate our differences without trying to be homogeneous and similar? People are made differently, we are not all the same colour, the same height, the same weight or size, so of course other parts of our bodies are not going to be the same either! That seems to me to be a basic fact of life.

All men experience anxiety over penis size. Women agonise about breast sizes. But the truth is that we are each different and beautiful in our own way, with big breasts or not!

An alteration to improve the perceived look of a person’s genitalia whether male or female, is not only a complete a waste of money and time but also a futile attempt to achieve an ideal. Who decides what’s ‘beautiful’ anyway? The advertising agencies? The media? Or their close cousin, the fashion industry? And what does that make us – Stepford Wives?

How uninteresting and uninspiring this world would be if we all looked alike!

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21 responses

17 11 2009
buwa

Hmmm….. very interesting and sometimes may be a practical possibility .. it is scary to think about the consequences if the surgery went wrong.
On the other hand can a woman get the surgery reversed if she is not satisfied with it?

17 11 2009
varad

I hope, but sincerely doubt, one can get the surgery reversed. how about a money back guarantee! that would be a laugh!

18 11 2009
chamira

Isn’t this just about power? The clue is in the ‘pre-pubescent’, men who have most of the money & power in the world want to sleep with younger women, and usually younger the better. If it is illigal for them to sleep with pre-teens then why not force women to mutilate theor bodies to fulfill this desire?

19 11 2009
Tortilla

A friend told me to check out this posting. She said, ‘you’ll like it.” And I did. But maybe not for the reasons she’d think. I like female genitalia, feminism, and trying to find the beauty in all. But I’m not so crazy about hypertrophy (when labia hang low)! I’m with the plastic surgeon who says the criticisms are way out of proportion. It is labia reconstruction, not a clitoridectomy! We already shave labia, wax them, pluck them, pierce them, tattoo them, adorn them with lingerie and Jockey, why not nip and tuck them?! Can’t beautification sometimes be about aesthetical judgments which aren’t necessarily always steeped in power structures and oppression. Here’s to shapely non-sagging lips!

19 11 2009
Vak

I think I am most interested in your question whether beautification (regardless of which part of the body) is about ‘aesthetic judgement and not necessarily about power structures and oppression’? To me, the personal is political, and the political is to do with power in some way. But it’s something to think about…and maybe discuss?

20 11 2009
Tortilla

I agree that the personal is political. Every relation is imbued with power. Is there not then some universal human beauty? Is there some body, or some kind of particularly shaped body part that we could all agree is beautiful? Is there universal beauty? I’m guessing there is…In regards to power and women deciding to undergo labioplasty given the current status of power dynamics, the procedure just might be very empowering for them! At least they are taking mirrors to their vaginas!

20 11 2009
chamira

Well, let someone else screw those women then. This is a bit of a disingenuous argument; if you like someone enough to sleep with them would you really call it off at the last moment because her labia are not as aesthetically pleasing as you’d wish? Really?

Why should anyone conform to anyone else’s ideas of beauty? This is the gist of the article; how else can this sudden rise in this procedure be explained? In a country with an aging population, type 2 diabetes in children and a massive rise obesity, you would have thought the NHS money would be better spent elsewhere?

20 11 2009
Tortilla

But aren’t we arguing for everyone to conform to the same aesthetic taste if we want what is natural to be the highest form of beauty? It seems to me that some of these women having the surgery might even be mavericks. Only 1000+ women had the procedure done last year (despite growing numbers) in a country of 30 million women!..The article doesn’t mention partners calling off sex due to labia shape. Do you think that happens? I’d be happy to sleep with my partner regardless of her lips – natural or snipped! The article is, however, quite randomly written. Don’t you doubt that labia surgery would affect sexual satisfaction. We girls don’t have much feeling in our labia by design. We’d be walking around having orgasms if we did! Oh my!

20 11 2009
varad

great grreat comments everyone…makes you really think! keep them coming. I am all for beautification..i only hope we dont give in to the media and what advertising professionals think is beautiful. i think natural is beautiful. i also think differences are beautiful. but thats just me maybe…

20 11 2009
chamira

If 10-11 year old girls are taking their cues from pornograpy and as porn has saturated all forms of media, especially ‘lads mags’, this is another form of anxiety for women to deal with, there is hardly the same amount of pressure on men to conform to a particular type of aesthetic.

A longer article concerning the above research is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/nov/20/cosmetic-vaginal-surgery

This bought to mind an article I read a while ago by Katherine Viner http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jun/05/gender.katharineviner

20 11 2009
Vak

Thanks, Chamira. The articles are food for thought. The sort of uncritical acceptance shown in these articles of cosmetic surgery as a way of making women ‘better looking’ is disturbing.

21 11 2009
vatura

“Is there not then some universal human beauty?”

Wikipedia sez:
“There is evidence that a preference for beautiful faces emerges early in child development, and that the standards of attractiveness are similar across different genders and cultures. Symmetry is also important because it suggests the absence of genetic or acquired defects.

Although style and fashion vary widely, cross-cultural research has found a variety of commonalities in people’s perception of beauty. The earliest Western theory of beauty can be found in the works of early Greek philosophers and the Pythagorean school saw a strong connection between mathematics and beauty.”

25 11 2009
chamira

erm yes, the Greeks defined what they thought was beautiful amongst their kind, defined beauty as symmetrical and dealt with proportions that are in keeping with their body types. Different groups of people have different proportions. I would think that the ancient Greeks would not have found a Maasi particularly beautiful, had they ever met one. I would be cautious about aligning myself with ideas of beauty defined by an ancient group of people who would have considered me a barbarian.

22 11 2009
Vak

Tortilla – but isn’t shaping your labia (or any other part of your body for that matter) to fit what you see and hear as the epitome of a ‘perfect’ body part, leading to “everyone conform[ing] to the same aesthetic taste”? If what we want what is ‘natural’, and the natural is as varied as we know it is, it wouldn’t be the same taste.
And to Vatura – I am not so sure if I agree with a universal norm for beauty. As in, I am not sure whether we like similar aspects of beauty because they are universal or because an ideology of ‘beauty’ has spread so far and wide and deep that we think it is universal. Discussion anyone?

22 11 2009
Vak

Just wanted to post a link to a site I came across and thought was very relevant to our conversation here:

“Many young people growing up never see what normal natural breasts look like, and influenced by the media, think that pert big breasts are ideal. ”

007 Breasts

22 11 2009
Tortilla

Good points, Vak. But I’m also challenging the notion of conforming to the idea that the ‘natural’ should always be what is beautiful or desired. I’m thinking too that we can’t assume that alterations are always about conformity or even ‘not natural’ (a strange binary we uphold anyway, right?).

What is considered beautiful of course changes across time and place, but perhaps we humans have a modicum of an innate sense of universal beauty (however, a slippery slope this might be to argue!). Don’t people/parts of a certain kind of beauty have a magnetism, charism, charm, which might otherwise be hard to explain?

23 11 2009
Vak

Interesting, I hadn’t thought of it that way but now that you mention it yes we do have a terrible tendency to uphold the natural as the best option 😉 I think the ‘natural’ vs the ‘not natural’ is separated by a fine line politically though.

About universal beauty – I have a distrust of things that are considered universals, but I can see why you feel there may be an innate sense of beauty.

26 11 2009
pp

could the tendency to uphold ‘natural’ as better/beautiful/to be desired be a reaction to the inundation of plastic surgeried/botoxed/whatever else people do to make themselves fit the pigeonholes of beauty we’re told is best?

26 11 2009
vatura

so maybe the thing is then…since we can’t agree about what’s permissible or even ‘beautiful’ …would be to open up every possible option and let people (over 18’s or whatever age of consent) pick whatever they want to do to their bodies…surgery, mishappenness or amputation? with no judgement of what each one wants to do…? of course one would need to be able to afford all this…hmm

26 11 2009
Vak

But how do we open up the possibilities? The whole issue is that we do all these things according to received notions of beauty. So we can’t have a lot, we have to have two polarised or maybe about three notions – two polarised, and one against the other two!

26 11 2009
vatura

i meant if everyone felt free to do whatever they could afford to do? or not, depending. their choice to uglify/beautify or not, driven only by their own perception whatever that was, and purse.

that’s what happens anyway, i imagine, whatever the politically correct stance might be…no?

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