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!)
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.