Monday, May 11, 2009

Makin’ Vaginas Look Pretty

Before continuing read this.

I originally wanted to start this post by examining the relationship between vaginal rejuvenation and female genital mutilation (FGM), but the article: In Search of the "Perfect" Vagina: Women Spend and (Spread) to Achieve Porn Ideal, did that briefly near the end. So I have attached a link to the World Health Organization’s website so that you can read more on FGM. That said, I feel that vaginal rejuvenation is essentially a westernized version of FGM. The quote by Dr. Tiefer makes this relationship between vaginal rejuvenation and FGM eerily clear: "I do not condone doctors having free reign to advertise labiaplasty without scientific evidence of its benefits and lack of long-term harm. Nor do I condone doctors having before-and-after photos on their websites because of the lack of popularly-available information about the range of normal labia (Zylbergold)." Vaginal rejuvenation a relatively new procedure with little to no research having been done of its effects, so allowing it to be performed is comparable to allowing FGM, which also has had little to no research. Both FGM and vaginal rejuvenation have similar causes: “social pressure to conform to what others do,” (WHO).

Neither procedure has any tangible “health benefits.”For the many proponents of vaginal rejuvenation who claim that there are mental health benefits (i.e. the surgery makes them feel better about their body) to the surgery, the same argument has been applied to FGM. Additionally, there would be no need to repair any mental distress about how our vaginas look without social constructions of what a vagina is supposed to look like to begin with.
If one played the devil’s advocate for FGM, he/she could even argue that maybe if it was more widely accepted, modern medical resources could be devoted to the procedure and it would become a safer practice. This would eliminate many of the health risks associated with it (i.e. infection).

I think that after comparing the two it really makes western imperialism visible. I do not understand how we are able to justify vaginal rejuvenation while we work to stop FGM in other countries. I think that westerners like to claim that they know what is best for others while not looking critically at our own customs.

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