Thursday, March 7, 2013

So do you like your vulva?


I don't know about you but I find that one thing suddenly might start
cropping up all over the place in my life.

Last year, for example, it was zombies.
Telly shows, movie, books, dinner conversations, kids' video games...

It seemed that every time I turned around,
there was the walking dead.

This year, for a complete change of pace,
it is labiaplasty.

Yes, you heard right.


L a b i a p l a s t y .

Besides being one of those words that looks more weird the more time you write it,
it is a word sure to make a girl shudder and cross her legs in the same protective way
that blokes do if you mention a body blow to their goollies.

A friend recently chose to have the elective procedure done
while under anaesthetic for another necessary surgery.

Then, a few weeks back,
Mr Boozle and I watched a British documentary called "The Perfect Vagina".

(Yes, technically it should have been called The Perfect Vulva)

Now, even after I had started writing this post,
an article has arrived in my in-box.

Let me state right from the outset quite clearly that this is a procedure 
most definitely not on my bucket list.
In fact, it is probably on the Top Ten Things that I Don't Want to Do before I die list.
Somewhere between jumping out of a plane and eating a bowl of pea soup.

I am not willing to consider anyone approaching my va-jay-jay with hot wax on a blunt stick,
let alone a sharp scalpel blade.

Apparently it is a procedure that is becomingly increasingly common.
In Australia the surgery may covered by Medicare
and has been performed on girls as young as 14.
(and remember that this would require parental consent)

I do understand that some women have abnormal labias.
Abnormal to the point of them wanting surgery
and believing that this will improve their quality of life.

But this is a surgery that can result in complications
such as infection, decreased sensation and scarring.

What I don't get is a young girl thinking that she needs surgery down there.
What is that about?
Who are girls comparing themselves to?
(Or who are their partners comparing them to?)
Naked women on the internet?
Women in the porn industry would have more "attractive" vulvas
in the same way that their breasts are going to, no doubt, have to meet a certain "porn standard"
Obviously they are not going to represent the normal population of women's bodies.

As a heterosexual woman who is not  involved in a profession that exposes me to women's genitals,
I can say that I don't have a lot of experience with women's vulvas.
The documentary surprised both Mr Boozle and myself
with the range of "normal".
There is a huge amount of variation out there.

And as far as wanting your vulva to be "perfect"...
I don't even really know what that entails.

While I am preparing myself for talks with my daughter
about peer pressure, smoking, birth control, hairy legs
and maybe tattoos,
I can't say that the idea of needing to discuss her self-esteem in the same conversation
as her genitals ever occurred to me.

Yes, the human body is beautiful and should be loved.
But I've got to be honest.

I don't think any pink bits are pretty.
I am not going to call a penis handsome
and I don't think a vulva is what you'd call classically beautiful either.
But it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with them.

But seriously, our society is going off the rails
if our young girls are wanting artificial boobs and shaved off labias in order to feel good about themselves.

And even worse, if parents are agreeing with it.