labiaplasty

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Vulvapalooza!

Well… I have become a very bad blogger, indeed. Sorry about that. You give the girl a Master’s degree, and then bam.. she gives up on you and stops posting regularly. You, my readers, have been on my mind, but my mind has also been pulled in a million other directions lately. I’ve started a new job in a new city, I’m moving, I’m trying to sort out the “what’s next?” questions… you know. Life – it’s busy.

But I haven’t forgotten about pubic hair! Every day, things pop up, crying for attention on the blog. And every day slides past without me getting to posting. So – here we got again! Though I can’t promise daily posting, I will do my best to keep the conversation alive here at The Last Triangle.

Today seems like a good day for me to direct you to a site a new Danish friend of mine sent me. The project, called ‘Kussomaten’ was initiated by a feminist group in Denmark. Women basically sat in a booth and had their genitalia photographed. The goal of the project (and this is crucial to note), was not pornographic – it wasn’t about taking under-skirt photos for arousal purposes. Instead, the goal was to highlight the diversity among female bodies — something I know I’ve written about in this blog before (especially whenever the issue of labiaplasty rears its sanitized head).

So: if you’re reading this at work, or are in a room with a bunch of people you’d rather not see you look at a screen full of vulvas — don’t click on this link now. If you aren’t, or you’re fine with opening a discussion around labial diversity, here’s the link:

http://kvindekenddinkrop.dk/kkdkpix.html#

It’s a fascinating site — the diversity really is amazing.

Looking forward to your comments!

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Never Gets Old

Nope, pubic hair continues to thrive as a topic for debate in online forums everywhere. Today, I will direct your attention to an article on Salon.com called “Is Everyone Manscaping?” which mostly goes on about the same old stuff. This little tidbit did pique my interest, however:

“Last year a study out of the Kinsey Institute found that there is “no one dominant pubic hair style” among women. Young ladies are far more likely to have experimented with different degrees of deforestation but most women have “at least some pubic hair on the genitals.”

Agree?  (The article is mostly about men, however).

And more man-stuff: you can follow one man’s (very detailed) recounting of the experience of getting a Brazilian wax at RVA News. Nathan Cushing tells his story in three parts, the second of which is here:

http://rvanews.com/entertainment/going-south-deep-into-the-danger-zone-part-ii-of-a-brazilian-wax-story/52358

And finally –

If you haven’t read it yet, I would strongly recommend you cast your eyes over this fascinating and disturbing article by Marie Myung-Ok Lee that ran recently in The Guardian. The article explores cosmetic gynaecology – the demand for which (at least according to the article) has “never been higher – taking us behind the scenes at a disturbing little convention where women’s vulvas really do become straight up commodities.

I’d love to hear what you think about anything you’ve read.

 

 

 

 

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Vagina Love/Hate

embroidered vagina

Two interesting articles for consideration today. This one, that appeared it yesterday’s Globe and Mail, is about how women are pursuing labiaplasty even when they are ‘normal’ “down there”. I’ve written about labiaplasty before: that’s when women have (unnecessary) cosmetic surgery to make their inner labia smaller (ie. more child/barbie doll-like). The article suggests that most women are seeking out the surgery to “improve their appearance” (sorry for all the quotation marks, but I find it hard to write those words without pointing out how silly they are), though some women argue it’s also due to physical discomfort.

I know I’ve said it before, but if we weren’t all so caught up in banishing our pubic hair, our labia would get to hang out and do its thing in true comfort, rather than being stripped bare for scrutiny.

(ahrg!)

And after all that body-hate, some vag-love:

Today’s London Evening Standard includes this story about “a new frankness about vaginas” in which the writer goes on about a movement geared towards celebrating all things vaginal (while also drawing my attention to a disturbing new word for female genitalia – “clunge”).

The author suggests that the trend towards vaginally themed crafts, drawing classes and pop-cultural frankness on the subject is “a reaction against the tyranny of waxing and vajazzling – porn chic culture where young men surfing the internet see only hairless models and are therefore surprised to discover that young women have pubic hair.”

Lots to consider. I can’t wait for your comments.

 

 

 

 

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My attention was recently drawn to this little ditty which appears in the June 2011 edition of The Atlantic. It’s about the rise in genital cosmetic surgery among women. Unsurprisingly, the author draws attention to the fact that the rise in labial surgery has been explained by things like “the trickle-up effect of porn aesthetics” and the rise of pubic hair waxing among women.

Here’s a link:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/06/perverse-incentives/8489

 

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So as most of you will probably realize, I am writing this blog as part of project that will ultimately earn me (she wrote, fingers crossed) a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University. Because I have access to them, I have been consulting academic journals as part of my research. Some of them are medical journals — and though they aren’t the sort of thing I would normally be drawn to, they’ve been providing all sorts of interesting fodder for conversation.

I recently came upon a journal article called “Brazilian bikini wax and the designer vagina”, by Mike Fitzpatrick, in the British Journal of General Practice. Though the article is dated December 2007, it’s chock-full of tasty stuff still utterly relevant for consideration here.

The article draws a connection between the “remarkable disappearance of female body hair over recent years” and the increased demand for labial surgery (also called labiaplasty). The procedure usually involves reducing the labia majora and labia minora. As Fitzpatrick cites research indicating that “our patients uniformly wanted their vulvas to be flat with no protrusion beyond the labia majora, similar to the prepubescent aesthetic featured in advertisements.”

The article goes on to describe women bringing along ‘pornographic photographs to illustrate the desired appearance’ when they come for their consultation.

The author also cites a Guardian article by Kira Cochrane (which couldn’t get my hands on, regretfully) that draws a parallel between “the trend for pubic hair removal and the growing demand for the surgical procedure known as the ‘designer vagina’.”

Fitzpatrick seems to agree with Cochrane’s thesis, writing that he has seen the number of cosmetic labial surgeries more than double in the last five years (meaning 2002-2007, I presume), writing “I can confirm that demand appears to be growing.”

It’s not difficult to presume that pubic hair removal and the increase of labial surgery are related: after all, it’s harder to hate (and thus want to change) something you can’t see. If everything is out in the open, it’s a lot easier to find ways to compare what you’ve got with what you see around you.

A recent article in the Guardian by Rowenna Davis (Feb 27, 2011) draws a connection between the proliferation of porn among young people, and the rise of labiaplasty surgery in the U.K. It seems like an entirely plausible theory. Here’s the complete article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/feb/27/labiaplasty-surgery-labia-vagina-pornography

I still find it frightening that women would subject their most intimate bits to voluntary surgery. As Davis writes, “experts say the risks of labiaplasty include permanent scarring, infections, bleeding and irritation, as well as increased or decreased sensitivity if nerves get caught in the operation.” Yikes!

So that, naturally, leads to this question: WHO are women doing this for?

It’s that question that lead to this most excellent film, The Perfect Vagina. Made by Heather Leach and Lisa Rogers in 2008 for Channel 4 in the U.K., it takes an engrossing look at the practice and is well worth a watch (it’s nearly an hour long, though, so be sure to book yourself enough time):

http://vimeo.com/4704237

 

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