Happy Almost Valentine’s Day: Your Hair Is Old And Your Labia Are Superfluous

Guys, I didn’t know it, but I have 4.27 signs of aging hair.

I didn’t know that aging hair was even a problem until now! I mean, I’ve been going gray since my late twenties, and my hair isn’t as thick as it once was, but apparently having old hair is really a thing! And I really appreciate that Courtney Cox moved her mostly immobile face just to tell me about Pantene’s latest solution for my deplorably geezerish hair.

But, if I can get serious with you for a minute, I think we need to talk about something EVEN MORE IMPORTANT than having old hair. We need to talk about your labia.

Apparently, retaining your labia is really so 2011 of you. It’s 2013 and it’s time to get with the program! The latest plastic surgery trend is to get your vulva updated, and if you want to be really hip, to just get your labia removed. One plastic surgeon calls this procedure “the Barbie,” and it’s designed to give you a “comfortable, athletic, petite look”. (Plus, you’ll probably lose like .5 pounds! So worth it!)

Picture of Courtney Cox looking sad, captioned "Happy Almost Valentine's Day! (Your Hair Is Old And Your Labia Are Superfluous)

To give you a sense of the numbers, the American College of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recorded 2,140 vaginal rejuvenation surgeries in 2010, and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons estimates that 5,200 labiaplasty procedures were performed during that year. In 2012, the BBC reported that the number of labiaplasties performed in Britain had increased by five times in the last five years. Of course, these numbers represent a very small percentage of women, but there was also a point when only a few people had rhinoplasty, and later, when only a few people had had breast augmentation. Now both are considered much more normal and almost unremarkable.

On a personal level, when it comes to elective surgery, I will always vote “nay.” I like to keep scalpels and anesthesia away from my body as much as possible. I know not everyone is like me, and I do believe that people should do what they want with their bodies.

But, if I can be honest here, I think labiaplasty is a freaking tragedy. I really do. Labia are not like an appendix. They serve a purpose and that purpose is pleasure. And pleasure is really, really important.

It feels like a symbol of our time that women are lopping off their labia by choice, that somehow it’s desirable to have a vulva that is standard, photoshopped, and streamlined. In just the way that our society has pathologized normal body diversity into a “dangerous obesity epidemic,” are we now stepping into a new (or not so new) era of pathologizing our pussies?

Can we all get on the same page here about vulvas? Can we get clear that there is tons of variation and that variation is part of what makes vulva so damn awesome?!

Thinking about this stuff makes me want to tear my (old) hair out. Please comment below and let me know what you think of this “trend”!

Personally, I think your labia (or whatever you’ve got) are perfectly wonderful and that being sexy/attractive/beautiful etc. is way more of an inner game than most people realize. That’s why I’m hosting the Body Positive Dating Master Class this weekend, to give you real, labia-positive advice from real body-positive experts. I hope you’ll join me and feel free to bring your labia.

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.

15 thoughts on “Happy Almost Valentine’s Day: Your Hair Is Old And Your Labia Are Superfluous”

  1. Hmn. There’s celebrating variation, but there’s also acknowledging that there are those whose bodies may fall outside the range of what is considered “normal”. So whilst it’s important to recognise the issue of people with essentially average bodies “choosing” to having surgery and potentially being influenced by things like the media, I think it’s important to recognise that there are people who aren’t chasing the Barbie image, but want to achieve something resembling ordinary. Sure, vulvas are a pleasure point (among other functions), but so are breasts, and – for me, at least – I can see good reasons for choosing to have surgery.

    1. Yes, good point. I don’t think the surgery is never something done for medical reasons rather than aesthetic ones.

      But also ‘normal’ is culturally influenced. I doubt women with bigger-than-average labia had any problems back in the days of long skirts and no thongs, you know?

      1. I’m not sure. There’s definitely the point of there not being a problem when there’s no comparison to be had, but when there’s knowledge of what exists outside of what’s personal, I think there can be a definite desire to conform, which I’d separate from a desire to achieve an ideal. (No idea if any of that makes senese!)

  2. I have to admit that I’ve thought about it, bit not for aesthetic reasons. Ol’ rightly is significantly longer and sometimes manages to somehow get stuck between my underwear and pants, which can pull and be very painful. That’s not something that I can fix all ninja-like like I pick wedgies. Its a walk/hobble to the bathroom to free my strangled junk. I don’t think I’d ever go through with it, though. Yikes.

  3. Can we put ‘vaginal rejuvination’ in quotes, please? Otherwise it seems like a real thing…

    (also, something that is rarely mentioned in articles about vulval surgery that I want to put out there – scar tissue doesn’t stretch so well. So if you want to get pregnant and have any babies through your vagina, having that kind of surgery is usually not a great plan).

    Whenever I feel like the beauty industrial complex may be getting a hold of me, I cleanse the palate with this:
    http://youtu.be/SwrK-foCTaQ

  4. Vaginaplasty and labiaplasty are advertised frequently on the eastside of Seattle–where there is a lot of money–and the first time I heard about it, my thighs clamped together of their own accord. You couldn’t pay me to undergo either procedure. The parallels to FGM are eerie, only here, we will pay for it? NOOOOOO

  5. Yup. Women worry about their labia. Part of my day job involves reading questions from young girls about their bodies. And they are REALLY worried about whether their labia are normal. I admit, I never really thought about my labia as a girl, thank goodness, but it’s said that we’ve built of a culture that makes only one kind of labia good.

  6. “It feels like a symbol of our time that women are lopping off their labia by choice, that somehow it’s desirable to have a vulva that is standard, photoshopped, and streamlined.”

    The saddest fucking part of it all is that women are doing it just to please men. Women are starting to become worried that a man will see their large labia and go “ew, gross.” Like that is the entire reason most women are doing it.

    It KILLS me because women, generally, have a much harder time reaching orgasm than men. And now we’re lobbing off parts so that it makes it harder for us to actually enjoy sex!!!12##!#@ All for fucking aesthetics that aren’t for our benefit.

    #$#%%@#

  7. Jfc having my labia sewed back together after my youngest tore it up on his way out the door was bad enough, the idea of asking someone to take a knife to it for no other reason than vanity is just plain abhorrent.

    I hope I am never that scared of getting older. Of looking older.

  8. I am horrified. Both at this labia business and at Courtney Cox’s mask-face. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE

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