I am pretty appalled at the latest trend in cosmetic surgery—labiaplasty. We live in a world of photoshopped images and that extends to every part of our body. We can now choose to have our labia redesigned to create a “prettier” looking vaginal area.
As a young woman I never thought about what it looked like “down there.” Actually it was years before I got out the mirror and really examined my labia and clitoris. But we live in a different time and culture now where women are more sensitive about how they look, apparently all over!
Is there a standard “best look” for our vaginal area? Who’s our point of reference? There aren’t very many images of natural labia floating around. Playboy is not the best place to look. Nor are the images we might see of nudes in erotic movies or some works of art. And, aren’t we forgetting that beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
Our vaginal area consists of the labia majora (outer labia), labia minora (inner labia), clitoris and the introitis (vaginal opening). Typically the outer lips are larger and outside of the inner lips. In some cases there are women with excessively large (inner or outer) labia who have problems that may medically justify surgical alteration. Large labia get in the way of the urine stream, may become irritated from contact with clothing and can be pulled into the vaginal opening. (Source)
The vast majority of us are just fine as nature made us. Our bodies are not symmetrical; they are not uniform in shape or color—that’s where our beauty lies. One eye may be slightly higher than the other. Nipples vary from in size, shape and color from woman to woman, and change throughout the life span. Our labia are quite varied as you can see from the photography of The Great Wall of Vagina. For a clear description of terms and detailed, accurate information about your genital area see this article at Our Bodies Ourselves.
We face so much pressure in our lives—overt and subtle. The message around beauty and body image has changed dramatically since we were teens. We compare ourselves to the images of women we see in the media, failing to remember those images are photoshopped 99% of the time.
Comments about labia often included some fear that ‘he’ might not like what he sees. Well, I’ve yet to meet a man who was critical about how a woman’s genitals look!
There is an artist in England who has taken on the topic of female anatomy with his project, The Great Wall of Vagina. His tag line, “changing female body image through art.” Meet British artist Jamie McCartney who has created a monumental wall sculpture of our most intimate parts.
“Female genitalia have long been a source of fascination, recently of celebration but generally of confusion…” As Jamie notes, “For many women their genital appearance is a sources of anxiety and I was in a unique position to do something about that.”
Jamie is looking for vulvas from around the world, and in particular, one from each state in America. He still needs a “Ms. Virginia” as he told me, but I would have to travel to England to model for his works. Stay tuned!
His panels are fascinating, I think they should be required viewing. You can appreciate the wide range of shape and size—the beauty of women as they were created—in their natural glory. When I look at these panels I see such variation, they are fascinating. I see where I fall in this display—do I have an ideal porn vulva, i.e. trimmed with very small lips and clean-shaven? No. But I’m quite content to keep it natural, thanks very much.
Photo from the Jamie McCartney Studio