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November 19, 2008

Frontiers of plastic surgery

Here's my pedantic musing of the day: How many times do you have to write about the same subject before you have to stop referring to it as a "frontier"? Four? Six? One and a half? I ask because plastic surgery of the genitalia, female division, is a booming industry, while keen observers will note that the automakers insist on flying to Washington on their private jets to demand a taxpayer bailout.

In any event, the latest on the subject (and I don't mean the auto bailout) comes from Time (via HotAir). Time's article, of course, doesn't play the plastic surgery story completely straight; it's too easy a subject for joking, as I can personally attest.

On the youth sex-education website, dozens of teenage girls can be found commiserating about their labia. "i REALLY h8 mine! They hang really REALLY low and r SO long!" reads one comment. Meanwhile, on, a consumer site that sells special bras and other gear for women recovering from plastic surgery, women of all ages submit photos of their nether regions and ask for feedback on whether they should get nipped and tucked down there. Welcome to the strange new world of female genital cosmetic surgery, where body insecurity issues are fueling a small but growing Western market for such procedures as labiaplasty, clitoral un-hooding, G-spot augmentation and hymen reconstruction, a.k.a. "revirginization."
Although I personally wouldn't participate in a protest -- even if they agreed not to make me wear the costume -- I can understand what motivates these people:
Appalled at the popularity of so-called designer vaginas, a grass-roots organization called the New View Campaign staged its first-ever protest on Monday outside New York City's Manhattan Center for Vaginal Surgery. Two dozen women — ranging in age from teenagers to, ahem, sexagenarians — handed out index cards and held up orange poster boards with the message "No Two Alike," while two members of the group donned giant cloth vulva costumes.
This whole subject is really sad for what it says about our culture, as I've remarked before. But at least Time does stop to acknowledge that it's also a troubling issue for the women's mental health.

And the article closes with what I'd say is pretty good advice. To paraphrase: If you're thinking of this surgery because your boyfriend made a negative remark about your anatomy, you might think about surgically removing the boyfriend.

Previous entries in this vein are collected here.