Last week, the online journal BMJ Open published a paper, “An analysis of the content and clinical implications of online advertisements for female genital cosmetic surgery.“ The researchers examined “the breadth, depth and quality of clinical information communicated to women” on 10 popular provider websites that promoted female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS). Their conclusion:
“The quality and quantity of clinical information in FGCS provider sites is poor, with erroneous information in some instances. Impeccable professionalism and ethical integrity is crucial for this controversial practice. Clear and detailed guidelines on how to raise the standard of information to women on all aspects of FGCS are urgently needed.”
Judy Foreman wrote about it on WBUR Boston’s CommonHealth blog.
It appears that women are flocking to surgeons for things like “vaginal rejuvenation,” “G-spot amplification,” “revirgination” and “labiaplasty.” According to the BMJ authors, a team from University College Hospital in London, vaginal cosmetic surgery is a growing thing for women who “simply don’t like the way their genitals look.”
These women are apparently concerned about the visibility of vaginal labia through tight clothing (I must be getting old. Why not just wear looser clothing?). Or, as the BMJ authors put it, they want their labia to look “sleeker” and “more appealing.” The women in question seem to have an “awareness – courtesy of a partner or magazine pictures – of larger than normal labia.” (What kind of partners would say….oh, well.)
“Genital mutilation” or “female genital cosmetic surgery.” It’s a fine line, indeed. And tragic, by whatever name you call it.
What I didn’t excerpt, and which you can read for yourself on her blog post, were serious concerns about the issue of female genital mutilation in developing countries. And the fact that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that some of these procedures are not medically indicated and that safety and efficacy has not been documented.