The arguments for and against cosmetic gynaecology

21 October 2011

“We’re now a nation that feels justified asking the most outrageously personal questions” – so says Stylist magazine’s Amy Grier in her look at how the British stiff upper lip has softened. But is this a bad thing? It might be embarrassing to field questions such as “how much did your house cost?” and “how much do you earn?” but if this shift in attitude means topics like cosmetic gynaecology step out of the shadows then surely it’s worth it.There are arguments for and against the idea of vaginal cosmetic surgery, with many seeing it as a dangerous influence from the world of adult movies and magazines – which seem to portray the ‘perfect’ vagina. Much like the debate about the airbrushing of models and celebrities in glossy magazines, labiaplasty and vaginal reshaping and tightening procedures get people fired up for all different reasons. One woman, who didn’t wish to be named, told it was only after hearing about a woman who had undergone surgery to reduce the size of her labia that she realised her biggest body hang-up was not something to be ashamed of, and not something that could be altered. She wrote: “A woman [on television] started talking about her vagina and I heard the word labiaplasty, a procedure to reduce the size of large labia. I’d never heard of this type of surgery before, but in that moment I felt a spark of recognition, a strange feeling like a door had opened. For years I’d experienced physical discomfort from having large labia; now here was something I could do about it.” Who can argue with the human right to reduce discomfort, feel body confident and to do whatever it takes to achieve these things? Surely no-one, except that cosmetic gynaecology is not that cut and dried. As with all areas of body confidence, the line between doing something to feel better about yourself and doing something to conform to society’s view of normal is a fine one. Those worried about labiaplasty see that some woman could be perfectly happy until the idea is planted that what they have isn’t beautiful or normal. Those in favour of the options available say that such an operation can restore body confidence and dramatically improve a woman’s life. The argument will never be settled, but what is important is that any cosmetic surgery is thought through very carefully, both by the patient and very importantly by the cosmetic surgeon too. What do you think? Tell us on The Harley Medical Group’s Facebook page.