Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

28 October, 2006

The "Trouble" With Vaginas

I recently watched a documentary from the UK called "The Trouble With My Vagina" which mainly concerned itself with some of the various practices that women engage in to "enhance" the beauty of their naughty bits. Admittedly, the program had its fair share of sensationalism, but it also had some good food for thought.

It covered four broad areas:

1) Masturbation
2) Removal of pubic hair
3) Genital piercing
4) Labiaplasty

Discussion of each area began with either a neutral or positive portrayal and then proceeded to give one or more examples of women having had a bad experience. E.g. - the show starts by noting that women today are more aware of their bodies than previous generations and that women's sexuality is no longer hidden away as it once was. We are then shown several clips of women talking about how much they enjoy masturbation. Then in classic Fox style, things take a turn towards the "When Dildos Attack" side of things. One woman described how a vibrator shorted out during one session of self-pleasure while another related how a lime got wedged in her vagina. And so the show went; a brief look at a practice followed by horror stories.

The bit on genital piercing left me ambivalent. For me, some genital piercings look good while others just scare me. I either find them intriguing or find myself envisioning a nightmare scenario involving me accidentally ripping a ring out of a woman's clitoral hood. I tend to view piercing as the ritual adornment of the ”modern primitive” but my gut instinct tells me that depilation and labiaplasty are activities of the consumer who has succumbed to a marketing campaign.

The removal of pubic hair and labiaplasty were presented in the show as being connected. The relationship between them is given by Sarah Hedley, the editor of Scarlet magazine, which looks to be like Maxim but for women and in the UK. She says:

The whole aesthetics of the vagina have run their course. Now, in the 70s, the vagina wasn't under the magnifying glass because the afro was in fashion. Now, what has happened in recent years is that hair modification has become the latest craze. So you've got all these different, like weird and bizarre styles, but what they do is expose the labia, the vaginal lips underneath. Now that they're exposed, they are being looked at and torn apart and we are now all of the sudden very conscious about how they look.

Once the hair was gone, the labia were next on the chopping block, both figuratively and literally. Footage of a woman having her pubes ripped out just made my skin crawl because it looked extremely painful. And why the hell were women with perfectly fine vulvas going under the knife for a few grand? It made no sense.

So, if the rise of labiaplasty is due to the vulva being exposed because all of the pubic hair was gone, then why did the hair go away?

(To Part 2.)

|| Palmer, 1:22 PM


This is great! My friend burned me a copy of this fine documentary, although I haven't had a chance to watch it. so glad that we found each other! You are so right in the shaved snatch-labiplasty connection.

PS - I have stickers for the Campaign for Unshaved Snatch. Email if you want some, and I'll send them to you!
Blogger Suzanne, at 7:37 PM  
I will have to check into this documentary. It sounds very interesting.

I think that Labiaplasty / Labia Reduction is mostly unnecessary. There are, for certain, special scenarios and exceptions where Labiaplasty / Labia Reduction surgery might be needed. For instance, if there’s too much pain during intercourse because of large inner labia, etc.

Mainly though, I think Labiaplasty / Labia Reduction is more about what society imposes on women. And also how doctors thrive by preying on the multitude of insecurities our society also imposes on women.

I am strongly against Labiaplasty / Labia Reduction surgery, for various reasons. One is that I find large inner labia and big vulvas to be very sexy and erotic looking. Another is that I just don’t think there is a need for people to intentionally mutilate their bodies. For the record I think all vulvas are beautiful whether shaven or hairy, large or small lips, long or short, pouty, puffy, inny, outy. It's all good in my book. I'm just sayin.

For anyone interested, I have started a fairly new blog solely dedicated to the topic of Labiaplasty / Labia Reduction surgery. It can be viewed at:


Blogger Large Labia Lover, at 9:21 AM  
L3 - thanks for having stopped by.

Unless a woman's labia are genuinely "too large", I personally can't see why one would have the surgery. Not being a woman, I cannot vouch for what society may impose. However, it seems to me that labiaplasty is less a societal imposition than it is the herd mentality in action. That a woman shaves her legs or not is something that can often be ascertained in a public setting whereas women's labia are generally not exposed out on the street. But I cannot speak to the expectations (perceived or real) that women feel men have of them.
Blogger Palmer, at 1:20 PM  
I did labiaplasty because I saw some ads for it that suggested my labia was not average! They didn't tell me how common it is to have large labia and they didn't tell me there is no standard size since every single person has a different size.
Now that I have done it I look disfigured and I have agonizing pain after 7 month and sex is impossible!

all I needed was some assurance that I was normal and looked like 50% of women.

Until when do we have to Butcher our bodies because of brainwashing of media?
Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 PM  
Anon - did you feel any pressure aside from ads, out of curiosity?

I am sorry to hear about your predicament. I hope that there's hope for you and your sex life.

Take care
Blogger Palmer, at 8:30 AM  
I'm a feminist, haven't shaved my legs in ages because I can't be bothered, but I get a full brazilian wax about twice a year because I like the way they feel. I like going from furry to bald. I like the waxing. I like the contrast.

I curl my lip a little at people who think my getting waxed is some sort of falling prey to someone else's aesthetics. I modify my body as I choose. If that includes having armpit and leg hair, but no pubic hair, well ... it's my body.

I only worry when women feel like they have to live up to someone else's plan for their bodies, not for when they've figured out on their own what feels best to them.
Blogger Mary, at 12:45 AM  
Mary - thanks for the comment. I think the point is that many women make the choice to live up to someone else's plan for their body instead of their own.
Blogger Palmer, at 8:33 AM  
I LOVE natural pubic hair and all sizes and shapes of labia. Why would anyone want to destroy their natural beauty because its a fad? Retro bush all the way.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:00 AM  
In some ladies, the labia can get broadened and prolonged, bringing on inconvenience when wearing certain garments, periodic cleanliness issues, and also being tastefully disappointing. Labiaplasty surgery for all time remedies this issue, and is considered by plastic specialists to be a decently straightforward method that can normally be carried out under a nearby anesthesia on an outpatient premise.
Blogger smita sharma, at 3:28 AM  

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