At the onset, the trend was innocuous enough. When a few rich and influential New York women wanted to cut up their coochies so they looked better in yoga pants, it was seen as little more than a laughable fad.
But now vaginal cosmetic surgery is advancing far into the rest of our culture in a way that does not seem so harmless or funny. Because now teen girls — many under the age of 15 — are undergoing plastic surgery to sculpt their genitals to look just like a Barbie doll’s.
Plastic surgery has become an American cure-all for insecurity. Want a shapelier butt? Get ass enhancement surgery. Want cute little dimples when you smile? Dimpleplasty is now a solution. But among all the ways to slice and dice our imperfect bodies, demand for vaginal rejuvenation is growing faster than any other.
The procedure makes some sense when performed on mothers with litters of children, an urge to re-invigorate their sex lives, and at least $5,000 to burn — but the practice has evolved into a sweeping societal preoccupation with fashioning the perfect pussy. By thriving on ladies’ lack of coochie confidence, labiaplasty, a procedure designed to sculpt the look and shape of the vaginal lips, has become an increasingly common excuse to nip and tuck.
Over the past year, labiaplasty procedures have grown 45 percent, making it the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery worldwide, according to research conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In the U.S., specifically, labiaplasty’s growth is second only to breast enlargement, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. This year, more than 13,000 procedures were performed nationwide, a startling spike from a mere five years ago, when the operation was practically unheard-of.
The source of this newfound infatuation with sculpting the perfect coochie is often attributed to pop culture and porn. When the vaginas of nearly every pornographic video are small, symmetrical, hairless little pink clams, women quickly become convinced that their unique anatomy is somehow abnormal. The idea of cutting off “excess” parts of their inner vaginal lips to make their lady parts look more conventional becomes an appealing self-improvement approach.
Teenage girls are undoubtedly the most susceptible population to the media’s unattainable standards of beauty and the physical insecurities they induce. When the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists saw this playing out in doctors’ offices, recognizing an upsurge in girls as young as 9 seeking labiaplasty and breast augmentation, ACOG felt compelled to weigh in with updated guidelines for surgeons.
In a committee opinion released this year, ACOG goes so far as to warn doctors that vaginal rejuvenation surgery in patients under 18 is almost never advisable. It’s possible that exceptions can be made for young girls with more legitimate medical needs, like when their anatomy causes hygienic issues and discomfort during sports or sex. Otherwise, “surgical alteration of the labia,” ACOG warns, “that is not necessary to the health of the adolescent who is younger than 18 years, is a violation of federal criminal law.”
Gynecologists publicly lament the rising number of young girls who ask for vaginal cosmetic surgery. This past year, 559 labiaplasty procedures were performed on girls 18 and younger, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. And the odds that each of these hundreds of surgeries was medically necessary? Slim to none, claim some medical professionals.
Vaginal rejuvenation — which includes everything from vaginoplasty and labiaplasty, to reduction of the skin covering the clitoris and injections to increase the size and sensitivity of the G-spot — is officially a booming business. But when the industry begins accepting self-conscious teenage girls as its clients, a bigger societal issue looms. It’s evident that unrealistic perceptions of how coochies should look is creating unhealthy cultural consequences.
Vaginas come in endless different colors, shapes and sizes, and especially in America, we should accept that all pussies are created equal.