'In with the out and new with the old!' declared Miss K to us around the New Year's table the other day. She was talking about her vagina. Or rather more specifically, her labia. This was her New Year's gift to herself – labiaplasty.
Which is not to be confused with vaginoplasty. For those of you who have never contemplated carving out your genitals with a sharp instrument, labiaplasty is generally concerned with 'styling' the outer or inner labia, while vaginoplasty is about tightening the vaginal walls.
And while there are many valid medical reasons one would want to do this, most of those who decide to undergo this surgery do so for the same utterly bizarre reason Miss K is – the beautification of the punani.
'By this time this year,' continued Miss K between gulps of icy mojito, 'I will have the perfect vagina.'
And then she pushed the sides of her hands together, stretching out her forefingers and thumbs to create that teardrop space we were lead to believe was the 'size of our vagina' – whatever that meant – when we were in school. This was to demonstrate what her practically labialess vag would look like. She peered at us through the hole.
Needless to say, it was a little creepy.
But not because we were drunk and discussing putting knives near my dear friend's betty, but because there's another term for this form of 'body sculpting': female genital mutilation. Or FGM for short. Hardly as catchy or marketable as say 'designer vagina', but hey, a rose by any other name...
You see, the theme behind FGM and the designer vagina is pretty much the same: the natural female body is undesirable and flawed. Inherent in both is the belief that a women's sexuality is embodied solely by her vagina and that it is dirty, ugly and unacceptable.
The difference between FGM and the designer vagina is simply the money and degree of mutilation involved.
A while back, a reader (male) commented on an assertion that I'd made that the vagina was a beautiful thing. 'Wonderful, yes,' he said. 'Beautiful, no.'
Why is that?
Was there a memo that went out delineating the virtues of what beautiful genitals look like? I'm starting to think that the standard for the perfect vagina has been set by twelve-year-old girls and porn stars.
More than that, I find it cringe-worthy that women who are finally paying attention to their vaginas are doing so only to break it down into a checklist of surgical procedure to 'correct' anything from ‘discolouration’ to 'flappy' clit hoodies and protruding inner labia to 'wrinkly' outer labia.
I'm not sure where all this distaste for the female genitals came into the picture but, in the West at least, I'm pretty sure it slipped in somewhere between original sin and wilful ignorance (across gender lines) of the 'down there'.
Miss K will almost definitely go through with the labiaplasty this year. And I'm sure that once her labia looks perfect, she might consider clitoropexy or hoodectomy, lipodystrophy and later maybe vaginoplasty.
Maybe one day, if she's lucky, she'll finally have the genitals sported by Barbie.
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What do you think of designer vaginas? Would you want to have one?