6 January 2012

What has led to young girls seeking a 'designer vagina'? What's it got to do with FGM? What would you do if your daughter had asked for one for Christmas?

As many of us recover from over spending or over indulgence, spare a thought for young women influenced by the porn industry’s influence on ‘male’ desires of beauty, to seek vaginal cosmetic surgery. Labiaplasty is on the increase, rising by 70% from 2007-8 on the NHS, as confirmed by conversations with a couple of gynaecologists I recently met at a conference. The under 18 girls had researched well their mental health ‘trauma’ at having slightly unequal labia, so presented as needing surgery. Despite the fact we all have different feet, hands and breasts, there is an increase in the need for portrayed perfection, as girls are increasingly under pressure to shave their pubic areas – and so notice or are told their two labia are different sizes. It is ironic that in some of the 28 African countries that still practice FGM, labia are pulled to elongate – which is classed as Type IV FGM.

UK feminists organised a Muff March on 10th December to Harley Street to react against the pressure to get cosmetic surgery for ‘designer vagina’ and appear to add pubic shaving to their beauty regime, thus appearing as more akin to prepubescent girls as often portrayed in pornography.

There is a backlash against this industry, with Dr Dartay being struck off the medical register for practising unnecessary female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS). See the spoof video put together by a midwifery lecturer at Kings College which shows the market for unnecessary surgery. A loophole in the UK Law currently allows FGCS for women from non FGM practising communities yet bans it for women from FGM practising communities, as it would be deemed as FGM. We also know FGM is still practised illegally in the UK, and aided and abetted by adults taking children out of the UK in long holidays. The FGM Forum, on which I sit along with other anti-FGM campaigners, and the new Cross Parliamentary FGM Working Party of MPs aim to help end FGM here and around the world.

Help us by ‘liking’ our new website; passing on the video and protecting young women from yet more unnecessary body image pressure presented by the porn industry.