«

»

Sep 04 2007

The long-awaited labiaplasty update

A chorus of yips went up at Spinster Aunt HQ when the news broke: a couple of national doctor clubs have experienced an uncharacteristic moment of lucidity and come out in opposition to cosmetic vagina surgery. In a Bloomberg report, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveal to a stunned public that surgical pussy-maiming isn’t, it turns out, in a patient’s best interest. Procedures such as “G-spot amplification” and “revirginization,” they say, “should be banned as risky and ineffective.”

This despite assertions by some plastic surgeons that “having a sleeker, thinner labia makes a tremendous difference in [patients'] lives.” By improving their XXX2K compliance!

Slightly problematic is the paternalistic edge to the ACOG and ASPS pronouncements, which can be boiled down to “improved self-confidence cannot justify risky surgical intervention.”

Don’t misinterpret me. I’m not disagreeing that labiaplasty (or any other scalpel-related beauty treatment) is misogynist butchery. But whenever you get a bunch of doctors sounding off on what should or shouldn’t be important to women, caution should be exercised. These guys are still doing over 300,000 boob jobs a year, remember, so their heads can’t be totally out of their butts.

The raucous demand for cosmetic surgery is only a symptom of a vast malignancy, anyway. I don’t like to put a fly in the at-least-it’s-a-step-in-the-right-direction crowd’s ointment. But. You can ban all the “revirginizations” you want, but it won’t liberate a single woman from sex-based fear, loathing, or oppression.

[Thanks, Cithra]

36 comments

3 pings

  1. Tarr

    Last I hear, the Department of Homeland Security was providing grants for Labiaplasty: because loose lips sink ships.

  2. DaisyDeadhead

    Am I the only one who can’t stand to read about these procedures???? AIYEEEEE! I mean, it’s a lot like reading about FGM.

    It HURTS just reading the descriptions. How could they “help”?

  3. TinaH

    Tarr – 2 points!

  4. Feminist Avatar

    Did you notice that at the bottom of that article was a ‘google ad’ advertising labiaplasty and vaginoplasty and two for cosmetic surgeons? The irony.

    (Are google ads country specific because they were all UK surgeons?)

  5. CoolAunt

    “You can ban all the “revirginizations” you want, but it won’t liberate a single woman from sex-based fear, loathing, or oppression.”

    No, you can’t. Unfortunately, to some women, the outlawing of labiaplasty will feel like a loss of hopes and dreams. As stupid as it is, I feel sympathy for them rather than ridicule and IBTP that they ever even thought to consider the appearance of their labia.

  6. Cass

    “Patients who are insecure about their vaginal appearance”? You can’t see it!! You might as well obsess over the aesthetic value of your pancreas.

  7. Jodie

    Now I have to worry about how my pancreas looks? Thanks, Cass.

  8. Spinning Liz

    Oh hell no, I’m not waxing my damn pancreas. Get outta town.

  9. Marytracy9

    “These guys are still doing over 300,000 boob jobs a year, remember, so their heads can’t be totally out of their butts.”

    Absolutely true. And I had some fun trying to picture their heads half-way out of their butts.

  10. teffie-phd

    Totally agree Twisty. The line about the benefits to one’s self-confidence makes me want to scream. What is it about the world that makes women’s confidence rest in thinner perkier labia?

    Also, I find it interesting that the very surgeons who devised the procedure and sold it on its confidence enhancement possibilties now says it isn’t so good after all. Asshats.

  11. Panic

    You can’t see it!
    It’s never been about what WE can see though, is it?

  12. chris

    Thank you for your blog. I find it to be extremely illuminating and is spurring me on to action! I need to find a way to recognize and doing something aobut the blatant misogyny that confronts me on a daily basis.

  13. CafeSiren

    “Patients who are insecure about their vaginal appearance”? You can’t see it!! You might as well obsess over the aesthetic value of your pancreas.

    I wouldn’t mention pancreas beautification too loudly. My 30 year-old sister just had a round of cosmetic surgery, including not only boob implants and lift, but also had her knees liposuctioned, proving to me that women can be made to be insecure about any body part.

  14. Orange

    The Chicago Tribune article about the ACOG report was most informative. It mentioned that some women are getting injections (collagen? I dunno) to beef up the G-spot. The reporter talked to a few local gynecologists for their reactions. The highlight:

    In contrast, many doctors don’t even accept the existence of the purported pleasure center known as the G-spot, much less approve of injections meant to enhance it. “I don’t know what the G-spot is,” said Dr. Melvin Gerbie, chief of gynecology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

    Holy cow, Dr. Gerbie! You should ask around. There are some informative websites that might help you.

  15. stekatz

    I think my self-esteem would be boosted by having a duodenum reduction and adrenal gland implants. I am checking into that pancreas wax though. I wonder if it’s as painful as a Brazilian?

    And I’m with Melvin: I don’t know what a G spot is either. I’m pretty sure it’s a wholly fabricated, giant, steaming load intended to make women freak out even more over their own orgasms. I do like that one line from asshat Woody Allen’s movie Annie Hall where the woman at the party said, “I finally had an orgasm, but my doctor said it was the wrong kind.”

    I would like to propose some feminist machismo ala Dude Nation and start bragging about the tremendous size of my labia. In a one-up-womanship kind of way make other women feel all insecure about their tiny labia because after all mine are just HUGE.

    It’s now time for me to settle down and go look at pictures of jumping dogs.

  16. slythwolf

    Oh hell no, I’m not waxing my damn pancreas. Get outta town.

    If you make me spit out my drink, does that mean you win? At least I didn’t ruin my keyboard.

  17. Ron Sullivan

    Cass is right, of course. Unless these guys are running around with specula and flashlights, what they can see is pretty much just vulvas. Vulvae. Shitfire, this whole topic makes me lapse into demiLatin and MY labia are puckering up and heading in the general direction of my navel.

    Which is not to say that specula and flashlights won’t be the newest gottahave accessory for the Dood About Town. And he’ll ask the nearest woman to carry them in her purse for him.

    Maybe we should start insisting on ruffled dicks. Or at least pretty colors like a mandrill, and don’t neglect the butts. Dye, not paint. Tattooed!

  18. Craroline

    If enhancing a woman’s G-spot gives them more sexual pleasure, then more power to ‘em. If it were men getting G-spot-shots, plastic surgeons would have been doing this 15 years ago, and probably would have come up with a more pleasant, and private, method. I’m all for research and development into increasing women’s sexual pleasure. Why not?

    On a different note, it never occured to me to think about what my labia looks like. It probably never will.

  19. lawbitch

    Plastic surgery at 30!?!? Holy sh*t! By the time she’s 55 she’ll be so plastic that she’ll look like DuPont manufactured her.

  20. Mar Iguana

    “Procedures such as “G-spot amplification” and “revirginization,” they say, “should be banned as risky and ineffective.””

    Okay, so what’s up really? Why in the hell would the pussy-maimers all of a sudden give a damn about something that harms women. Gotta be about money somehow.

    I’d follow the money myself, but I’ll be too busy fighting the new war women are fighting against each other dontcha know: the Hairdye War, which Time magazine assures us this week, is as big as the Mommy War, as a minority number of boomer women, ” the most self-absorbed” bunch of females ever, refuse to cover up their gray hair, challenging the feminism of those who dye. Look for bottles of pube dye to soon show up on the hair dye aisle, coming to a store freeway close to wherever you may be.

    At least you can see gray pubes. It’s a tad scary white-coats supposed to be specialists on woman-parts don’t know what a vulva is.

  21. ironmaiden

    What is it about the world that makes women’s confidence rest in thinner perkier labia?

    Porn culture. Same goes for “anal bleaching” or whatever they’re calling it now. Ugh.

    I was trying to explain the sexualization of breasts to a good friend of mine last night, that it’s a fairly recent and non-cross cultural fetish, and she said, “But people LIKE them. Even gay guys like them.” I nearly screamed.

  22. pisaquari

    I don’t see the big fuss.
    I had vampire canines plastied into my fleshy dartboard just weeks ago. I’m even thinking about getting one of those hipster BDSM boyfriends to try them out.

  23. notalady

    I’m with you, stekatz. I’m proud of my huge Dumbo-ear labia. Flap, flap.

  24. LauraBora

    CafeSiren – my best friend just had a round of plastic surgery that included ANKLE liposuction.

    Because guys hate cankles.

    You know who I blame.

  25. Lara

    The bigger and flappier the labia, the more the rub, thus, the more pleasure for the holder of said labia ;)
    Of course, dumbass male plastic surgeons either can’t seem to figure that out or don’t frankly give a shit what is pleasurable for women. I am thinking it’s a combination of both??
    IBTP.

  26. po-mo suck

    I knew it was only a matter of time before another rewarding activity, let’s call it “labia gazing”, would be invented by porn obsessed, dollar grubbin’, women-a-hatin’-slicin’-and-stalpin’ idiots to try and undermine our confidence and divert our attention from what really matters.

    IBTP… enough said

  27. Jezebella

    Ron, how do I get this off the ground?

    “Maybe we should start insisting on ruffled dicks. Or at least pretty colors like a mandrill, and don’t neglect the butts. Dye, not paint. Tattooed!”

    Because it’s GENIUS. The penis is a homely organ. It needs decoration. Maybe a nice floral pattern this year…but then it would go out of style and they’d have to get it re-tattooed every few years. I also think they don’t smell enough like perfume. Dick perfume? Yes. Frills, pretty colors, scents, and the occasional restylane injection for restoring plumpness. Perhaps a scrotum-lift once it’s not so perky. I mean, it would be so good for a man’s self-esteem to have a perky, freshly lifted scrotum, wouldn’t it?

  28. mearl

    If “American women spent 2.3 million last year” on this shit, and you divide it by the cost – roughly 6 grand a go – am I incorrect in saying that less than 500 women got this procedure done? Of course, that’s 500 too many, but still. If I calculate how many women are brainwashed daily by the Patriarchy, I can take SOME comfort in telling myself that more than 4.5 billion women HAVEN’T subjected themselves to this woman-hating B.S. Yet.

    I’m with Ron in starting up the demand for ruffled dicks and the like. I’m not about taking the high road. How about dicks that smell like vanilla latte and look like radish flowers? That would be painful and demanding enough to begin with…

  29. cat

    Some people have labia that are large enough to cause severe discomfort and tearing *wince* when walking, having sex, that kind of thing. You can’t write of all labioplasty off as cosmetic, some of it is for medical reasons, just as breast reduction ops can prevent spinal damage.

    But I totally agree that any kind of cosmetic surgery for people who havent been in some kind of hideous accident should not be promoted anywhere by anyone on any body part.

    And I can take a guess at anal bleaching but seriously – people want whiter bums????

  30. Farhat

    Sure, go ahead and demand flowered dicks from your lovers. Nobody’s stopping you.

  31. TNZ

    “I’m with you, stekatz. I’m proud of my huge Dumbo-ear labia. Flap, flap.”

    I had never even seen one like this before until a few months ago, when i popped open a book written by that woman that had recommended women check out their vaginas in a mirror, back in the 70′s. There were drawings of all different types–great flapping ones with huge outerlips, some with gigantic labia, mondo clits,etc. If penises could be compared to the difference between types of catapillars, vulvas would be like the difference between all incects to one another.I never even had a clue that they could look that different! The only pics I’ve ever seen looked like mine. A whole lot of things finally made sense.

    When i first heard about clitoral piercing, I thought “How??Its too tiny to even grab to pierce!!” and as for the labiaplasty “What the HELL are they trimming?? There’s *really* not much excess.What is it about it that they could possibly be thinking is so ‘ugly’?”. I also now *really* get why people use butterfly imagery in words and pics in reference to the vulva.

    It pisses me off that here I am, 30 years old, and very inquisitive from a young age–so I’ve delved into a lot of books– and I have NEVER come across any health manuals, sex manuals, porno, artwork, ANYTHING that showed vulvas that look like mine.The women getting the surgeries probably have the same problem, only they have the large stuff, and therefore conclude that theirs are abnormal and ‘ugly’ .

    And I’ve mentioned these pictures (in the vulva book) to friends of mine, and they almost don’t belive me. Why the hell are doctors spending so much time trying to keep a man’s penis up with viagra and shit, when no one’s even bothered to tell us what our varied, normal healthy bodies really look like?

  32. TNZ

    “and I have NEVER come across any health manuals, sex manuals, porno, artwork, ANYTHING that showed vulvas thatlook like mine”

    Oops, this should have read “didn’t look like mine.”

  33. Jac

    I assume they want it banned (under the facade of doing women good) because it’s dangerous and probably not going to do a lot to increase pleasure. Most importantly, women can’t look at their vaginas they way they can look at their breasts. Shuffling to a bathroom with a hand mirror isnt as easy as looking down or glancing in a mirror. If the results arent visible to the person getting them and if they arent visible to the general public, there isn’t a whole lot of satisfaction (or feedback) from having the procedure done. Less satisfaction more dangerous = more lawsuits/backlash for the doctors. Be it from people who were harmed by the procedure or from disallusioned people who thought having a labiaplasty or whatever was going to significantly improve their life and their sexual appeal. I don’t necessarily agree with this as being somehing that limits women’s sexual choice. I think this falls under the category of “limiting something that is just plain bad”. A lot of surgeries aren’t allowed in the US because they are potentially dangerous. I don’t see this as being much different.

  34. jaye

    I wonder how many little girls are rushed to emergency rooms in the US/Texas after undergoing the very illegal mutilation of their clitoris? I don’t hear of any prosecutions but it could be happening. Are people practicing it using friendly doctors?

  35. Ron Sullivan

    Not “from (y)our lovers,” Farhat. From all guys. Or we’ll make fun of them in pub(l)ic.

    Thing is: ruffled dicks would have functional as well as aesthetic value, assuming the ruffles were done right.

    TNZ, has someone (maybe me) mentioned the movie “Near the Big Chakra” in this thread yet? Hey, it’s over a month old and my memory is um intermittently reliable lately. Short movie made in the early ’70s IIRC. And isn’t it weird that women younger than me haven’t had access to the same sort of knowledge I’ve had access to?

  36. Crystal

    Man, I somehow ended up reading an article (and posted comments) on labiaplasty at the Suicide Girls website.* Of course they were anti because they’re supposed to be so into a diverse spectrum of beauty (please read sarcasm there, most particularly with use of the word beauty). The comments were the real winners though. All of these dudes on there were like “well, I LIKE labia of all kinds.” “Big labia don’t bother me!” and of course “Big juicy labia are HAWT!” Because, you know, that’s what matters. Of course there were a few dudes like, “actually I don’t care for any obtrusive labia.” As I recall there was even some romanticization of the beauties of the labia.
    So, anyway, the conclusion was that guys are largely okay with most varieties of labia, so the surgery is unnecessary and harmful to women, and of course, pointless. (unless it’s really icky)

    * I would like to make it clear that I don’t frequent the SG website nor am I a member. I think I got there through a link from someone’s blog or something.

  1. Cosmetic Surgery » Comment on The long-awaited labiaplasty update by Tarr

    [...] Read this great post here [...]

  2. It’s a trap! Feminism, romance, and sociological patriarchy at Hoyden About Town

    [...] appearance? Would this make feminism’s tenets any less valid? Do women who aren’t XXX2K-compliant deserve a voice? Do they deserve freedom from violence, equal pay, political representation, [...]

  3. She’s got a point. « Our Descent Into Madness

    [...] appearance? Would this make feminism’s tenets any less valid? Do women who aren’t XXX2K-compliant deserve a voice? Do they deserve freedom from violence, equal pay, political representation, [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>