The Tragic Consequences of Pussy Shame

With so much comparison & judgement of female bodies in our society, it is no wonder that the root of our femininity could not be saved. Women’s vulvas & vaginas have become another part of the body to scrutinise, to the point where young women are undergoing irreversible procedures to change the way they look.

Over the last couple of years, I have heard mentioned the growing trend in young women of labiaplasty, a cosmetic procedure in which the labia minora (inner lips of the vulva) are surgically reduced. Beyond my initial reaction of sadness & rage, I had an immense curiosity to understand why young women would do such a thing to their bodies. After some exploration, I am left with a heavy heart at the reality of women striving for a false idea of “perfection.”

I came across the documentary “A Perfect Vagina,” an exploration on the growing trend of labiaplasty in Britain. Women from all walks of life are interviewed on how they feel about their genitals & the lengths they are willing to go to in order to change them. We see a young 21yo women having her labia cut as if it was a piece of meat, men saying they wouldn’t want to be with a woman if she had “an ugly fanny” and women who have lived a lifetime with chronic shame around what their genitals look like.

This documentary noted that one of the main sources of women’s shame around their labia’s is the media. Pornography gives a one-sided view of what a woman’s vulva looks like; pink, minimal and short labia minora, completely hairless & symmetrical. Even medical text books mislead women into thinking this is what every vulva looks like. Nowhere do women see images of anything other than a “neat & tidy” vulva meaning if they possess anything other than this, they take on the belief that they are abnormal.

Australian censorship laws around female genitalia also support the scrutiny women have on their bodies, with images showing more than single folded labia minora to under 18 year olds illegal. This means that even the young girls who are exposed to anatomy or sex education text books only come to view a specific type of female genitalia-they are almost wired to believe that pussies of different shapes, colours and sizes are wrong.

I came across a website of a clinic that offers labiaplasty surgery & came to view a heap of images of women who had undergone the procedure. Seeing the before & after photos reminded me of a bunch of beautifully unique flowers having their petals ripped off. Each vulva before the procedure had such an incredible uniqueness that was destroyed and made to look the same as the next. It was devastating!

I understand that labiaplasty is indicated and sometimes necessary in cases of labia hypertrophy (Enlarged labia). This is because the size of the labia leads to chronic discomfort, reoccurring urinary tract infections & painful intercourse. A study however showed that 30% of procedures were completed for aesthetical purposes alone and women as young as 16yo were having them! Teenage women making a decision to change their genitalia for aesthetical purposes is not ok considering the changes that occur in ones psyche as they age. I look at how much I loathed my body at that age and now I love it 10 years later! In my opinion, labiaplasty should be left for those extreme cases where health is affected not purely for aesthetical purposes.

What I found to be the most tragic thing about the labiaplasty trend is the fact that personally I have an “outie” vulva like the one’s many women were changing and would not change it for the world. I have done a lot to get to a place where I love how my pussy looks and feels, so the thought of traumatising it to fit into the category of “perfect” is horrible.

It is so necessary to talk to young women about their bodies so that they grow up knowing & loving themselves intimately. If someone like me can come to love & appreciate her vulva, then there is hope for every woman. I believe there is absolutely no need for women to resort to a medical procedure to change their bodies when there are so many other ways of finding acceptance for their vulvas just as they are.

I am so excited to launch my 1:1 Coaching Program “The Sensual Self” where we will explore body positivity & pussy love. For more information click here

Stephanie x

P.S. I highly recommend the books “Heart of the Flower: The Book of Yonis” by Andrew Barnes & Yvonne Lumsden and “Pussy: A Reclamation” by Regena Thomashauer for all things pussy love.

 

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