Scary Labiaplasty Trend Has Women Going Under the Knife for 'Prettier' Lady Parts

woman holding question mark sign over her underwearA shocking headline on a recent article in the New York Post is meant to grab your attention and drop your jaw: "Women are getting labiaplasty to look good in their yoga pants." Whaaaaat?! Ladies worrying about vagina surgery so they look good in yoga pants -- essentially glorified sweatpants -- is enough to make your head explode, right?

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Are women today so vapid and self-absorbed that they can't think of anything better to do than worry about whether their crotch looks "correct" in trendy tight pants? Or is it that women have finally been driven to the point of slicing, dicing, shocking, striping, and shaving every part of our bodies until, instead of looking like grown women, we're groomed into a hybrid between a Barbie doll and an 11-year-old?

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What could possibly be the explanation for this Lululemon-inspired labiaplasty-a-palooza? The Post article offers a couple of ideas. First, women are shaving more often, leaving labia exposed and turning them into just another body part for women to examine and determine is awful and ugly along with arms, legs, chins, boobs, thighs ... you get the idea.

The second is porn. People just can't get enough. So, now, men and women alike are spending more time than ever comparing their own bits and bumps to adult film stars.

But Gary Alter, MD, a plastic surgeon who stars on Dr. 90210, says there's more going on than pure vanity or sex obsession. Sure, plenty of his patients come in to make their labia look better, but there can also be plenty of discomfort associated with enlarged or elongated labia majora, minora, or clitoris.

And while they're giving themselves some relief from pain, they go ahead and get a little cosmetic work done, too.

That said, it's not like there's a specific "yoga-pants approved" standard. "The aesthetics really are in the eye of the individual," Dr. Alter says. "I can also tell you 30 percent of my patients are revising surgeries done by other surgeons."

Labiaplasty is hardly anything new, notes Dr. Alter. In fact, he did one that aired on Dr. 90210 a decade ago. Dr. Alter believes it's not that there's been a huge explosion in the number of women getting labiaplasty surgeries; it's simply that the procedure is more mainstream and, thus, getting more attention than ever before.

Nonetheless, we can't completely discount the role of the media in perpetuating a sort of "vagina ideal." Gwyneth gets hers steamed. Khloe Kardashian and all sorts of other "it" girls have been splashed on tabloid pages, taunted for their "camel toes." The media and beauty industry stand to make big bucks making women feel like their vagina just doesn't stand up to scrutiny, and then selling them the solutions -- from surgery to padded Spanx.

Roughly 30 percent of women seeking labiaplasty say they've heard criticism about their vagina's appearance. But Jen Gunter, MD, an OB/GYN in San Francisco, California, wants women considering labiaplasty to know that ladyparts come in all shapes and sizes.

"If your partner thinks your labia are 'too large,' I encourage showing him/her images of the range of labial length and appearance," Dr. Gunter writes in a blog post on her website, which also provides images of all kinds of labia.

It comes down to this: Your ladyparts are yours, and if want to pierce them, tattoo them, or give your vagina a little nip and tuck, you should do it, and it's no one's business but yours and your doctor's.

But before you do, make sure it's something you're doing for yourself. Do it because it's going to make your life better. Not because some bozo wants you to look like some porn star.

And the next time you ask someone how your ladyparts look in yoga pants, try to remember there is no "right" way for your vagina or labia or any of your other parts to look. And maybe your labia -- just like everything else about you -- look more amazing than you'll ever give yourself credit for.

Besides, how much longer can yoga pants stay in style? Kanye's leather sweatpants have to catch on eventually.

 

Image via Vladimir Gjorgiev/shutterstock

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