There was an interesting documentary on television recently, authored by a UK woman Lisa Rogers who tries to find out why more and more women are considering vaginal surgery. In practical terms it is Vulva Surgery because reducing the outer or inner labia (the flaps) is the area of the Vulva not the Vagina. It has been suggested that Vaginal cosmetic surgery on the National Health System has doubled in the UK over the past five years and in the private sector there has been a 300% increase in labiplastys, making it the fastest growing form of cosmetic surgery in the UK.
However, after seeing one woman undergo having her labia minora cut off – that was enough for me! So was the reason! Her sister had been constantly teasing and mocking her about how she looked and how the folds hung down, in front of other girls and groups of young men. As a colleague mentioned to me, if women were not so inclined to have Brazilian’s these days, would the woman’s labia have appeared abnormal to her sister and friends? After all it would not have been visible would it?
At varying degrees we can all, as women, look at our bodies and see something we would prefer looked different. In an age where celebrity fashion and the focus on how we look seems to emanate from every corner of the world, the persistent message from the tabloids or television is…. we are not perfect!! Seeing a three year old totter in shoes that are her correct size, yet with heels, at a playground, shows there is no limit in the constant push to measure up to someone else. What is wrong with being yourself? Now we are after the perfect tight vagina and the perfect looking vulva in order to fit in, to feel part of the crowd.
What would it take from the time of birth for females to be given encouragement and support in seeing and always believing how beautiful they are? There is nothing wrong with a little girl ‘fingering’ herself. It feels good. There is nothing wrong with them taking a jolly good look at what is ‘down there’. It is not helpful to make everything about the vulva area, distasteful, smelly, naughty and then to top it off, as a teenager, be told your labia is ugly.
Do you look at a rose in full bloom and remark on its ugliness? Do you really think a tight and closed rosebud, unopened, is more beautiful that the full ripeness, richness and beauty of the rose that has spread its petals and is showing itself to the world? When you see a flower in full bloom be it an orchid, an iris, a rose, a lily, a hibiscus, look into its heart and you will see the female organ (pistil) and the male organ (stamen) mostly in the same flower, each one different, each one depicting frills and folds, with stamens protruding proudly. There is beauty and exquisiteness displayed for all to see.
Personally, if women such as those in this documentary were to be encouraged and supported in seeing their beauty, focused more on loving themselves, rather than what others think about them and learnt to appreciate and respect themselves, then they would find they fit into life perfectly, as they are. The admiration and respect from others is only a mirror of how we feel about ourselves. Men, generally speaking are not going around wanting women to take such drastic measures in order to feel sexy and self assured. More often than not, it is a turn on for some men to gaze at a naked woman from behind and covet her labia, A man who looks at a porn magazine is not wanting his woman to look like that. This is what fantasy is about. Fantasy is healthy yet is NOT reality.
Women’s main antagonists are indeed other women. They are bitchy and judgemental. Herein lies the big problem, which has been around forever. Women can be very scornful of each other and do not think twice about making comments that ridicule and scorn another. At the end of the day the one person each female has to live with is themselves, you cannot get rid of you!
When we can drop the crap collected from growing up, perform a reality check and take a good long look in the mirror there is usually a very beautiful soul staring back at us. Look into your eyes, be still, just allow yourself to look back. After time you will connect with that beautiful soft and vulnerable part of you which is perfect in every way. Have some appreciation for who is staring back at you. Learn to love yourself. This same exercise can be performed in the bedroom, appreciating and getting to know and love your own vulva. Its shape, its smell, its feel.
As for having surgery on the clitoral hood? Well hell, is there any guarantee no nerve endings will be cut in the process? Having to have your hymen replaced is beyond my understanding just as is female circumcision. These cultural happenings make me so very grateful and thankful that I am who I am, and live where I do.
Finally, it is true, there are those women in society who have their reasons for undertaking vulva surgery. There is the case of the 18 year old who had this procedure done for medical reasons. There was moisture always getting trapped due to her lip size which contributed to her constant bouts of thrush. The only way to rectify the problem was to have this surgery which alleviated the problem. This woman quite readily admits that had this been only for cosmetic reasons she would have never considered having it done.
Another woman has spoken of her frustration at having her elongated labia get in the way of her love making. They keep getting pushed inside when sex occurs. Had information and understanding been available, she says she would have considered surgery, however the cost may have been prohibitive.
This is a sensitive issue, one that needs to be heard and of course there will always be those who take drastic action for needless reason and others who become more of who they were meant to be because they have restored confidence due to a medical issue.
Whatever the case this issue is bound to be a source of protracted discussion, research and judgement for some time to come.
|(c) Copyright 2010 – Marie-Elise Allen
Marie-Elise conveys through her writing and speaking, experiences and insights she has gleaned in normalising and integrating the sexual aspect of ourselves with our roles in life. She is a regular contributing writer for the Innerself Wholistic Magazine in Australia
Marie-Elise can be contacted through her web site http://marie-elise.com/blog.ews. Marie-Elise facilitates regular ‘Vibrant Woman’ workshops merging sexual wellbeing, sensual delight and spiritual connection.