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DESIGNA VAGINAS: COSMETIC SURGERY GOES DEEP

In a society where numbers on a measuring tape and weight scale calculate a woman's worth, the field of cosmetic surgery has grown to astounding length.

Physicians offer a variety of nip and tuck procedures that can allow the transformation of a female body from the top of her skull to her very tiptoes. More recently, much has been made of what has come to be known as the "designer vagina" craze.
In a society where numbers on a measuring tape and weight scale calculate a woman's worth, the field of cosmetic surgery has grown to astounding length.

Physicians offer a variety of nip and tuck procedures that can allow the transformation of a female body from the top of her skull to her very tiptoes. More recently, much has been made of what has come to be known as the "designer vagina" craze.

The field of cosmetic surgery has a long history that continues to evolve.

Groundbreaking techniques were developed by plastic surgeons in order to repair facial deformities caused by the wars of the 20th century. It soon occurred to plastic surgeons that cosmetic surgery procedures could also be used to enhance beauty. More procedures were developed to include body-contouring breast augmentation, liposuction, and tummy tuck, in addition to facial surgeries.

Once quite costly, cosmetic surgery was once a luxury afforded only by the affluent. Today, cosmetic surgery is performed on a wide variety of patients from varying social classes. In 2007 alone, there were more than 11.5 million cosmetic surgeries performed, an increase of 50 percent from 2000.
The revamped vadge
The concept of vaginal surgery or labioplasty originated in the 1950s, with the goal of improving a woman's "well-being." It also grew from a need to repair episiotomies, where the entrance to the vagina is tightened after giving birth. It is also true that the advanced form of this surgery, Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation (LVR), has been used to correct stress urinary incontinence, whereby the relaxed vaginal muscles and support tissues are tightened and relaxed vaginal lining is reduced.
Surgery is also done to correct excessively large labia, a condition that cause chaffing and painful intercourse.

An unexpected turn occurred when woman began to report that, not only had surgery corrected their vaginal ailments, it also brought to them an increased enjoyment of intercourse. When the media picked up on this, the designer vagina craze was born as women began to request the surgery not out of medical concern, but rather for enhanced sexual satisfaction.

A surgeon in Los Angeles who advertised this surgery with the headline "You Won't Believe How Good Sex Can Be!" has cashed in at a phenomenal rate as women flock to him and other surgeons who offer designer vaginas in search of mind numbing sex.

As labioplasty, vaginoplasty and a technique called "G-spot amplification" have become the fastest growing cosmetic procedure in the industry, requests for the procedure have doubled in the past five years. Not all advise or support this medical procedure for non-medical needs however.

Vulnerable vaginas, vulva vanities
As the potential for genital landscaping grows, so, too does concern in the medical field. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently issued a statement on the designer trend, calling it dangerous, expensive and unwarranted. "The real risks of potential complications such as scarring, permanent disfigurement, infection, dyspareunia and altered sexual sensations should be discussed in detail with women seeking such treatments," it said. Doctors in the United States and Britain have raised similar concerns about the surgery.

One area of concern calls upon the ethical question of exploitation. While the designer vadge is not cheap at $6000 to $10,000 a poke, the industry is seeing a growing number of women as young as 15 requesting the procedure.

One young woman asked for the surgery after her boyfriend made a hurtful comment about her protruding genitalia. In the instance that women do not understand that there were a large number of variations in the appearance of normal female genitalia, there exists the possibility that these operations prey on insecurities and fears of vulnerable women who may be more in need of psychological help rather than medical.

There is also the question regarding the real purpose in having this procedure done; is it something asked for by women for their benefit or for that of their male partners? If this is the case, what happens when the revamped vadge does not meet the standards of her partner? Will a vulnerable woman undergo this risky surgery once or twice more? And what would this say about a surgeon who agrees to submit again and again to her vagina vanity syndrome until said surgeon has her fitting like a glove as her boyfriend desires?

Sex sells, there can be no denial. There dwells a great disconnect in a society where a woman's worth and self esteem are subject to scrutiny and dependent upon the decision to lance or not lance her lower lips.

When vagina modification is performed to meet the standard of what a patriarchal society defines as acceptable and desirable, it falls close to meeting the categorization of genital mutilation. And for those of both genders who think that genital mutilation does not exist in civilized societies, I now ask you to think again.

This article appeared in the September issue of the Portland Alliance

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