The Labiaplasty You Never Knew You Wanted [NSFW]

Warning: The following video is ridiculously NSFW and NSFWS (not safe for weak stomachs, as there are graphic surgery scenes). But I've posted it at the bottom so you can still absorb this magical info without getting canned.

Labiaplasty — not to be confused with vaginal rejuvenation or vaginoplasty — is an increasingly popular cosmetic procedure which typically involves trimming the labia majora or minora (though usually minora) to give your ladybits the look of a neat little package. Unlike vaginal rejuvenation, it does nothing to tighten the vaginal canal, and unless you're having a labiaplasty that involves the reduction of the clitorial hood, there aren't any sexual benefits to be had. Except for feeling that much more sexy, because nothing is sexier than a childlike vag.

The superficial magic of labiaplasty was explored by the recently canceled Australian news show Hungry Beast; the journalists posit that there's connection between Australian decency laws regarding soft-core pornography magazines and the rise in women requesting the procedure (though it should be noted that the surgery is on the upswing in both hemispheres).

According to the Classification Board, which has the pleasure of enforcing these matters, unrestricted softcore mags are allowed to show frontal nudity, but "only discreet genital detail." In their words, "There should be no genital emphasis." That's pretty vague, and so softcore editors and publishers are playing it safe. Says one former editor, "The only acceptable vagina as far as the Classification Board is concerned is one that is 'neat and tidy' in their eyes. They basically consider labia minora too offensive for soft porn."

"Neat and tidy" — what the hell does that mean? There's a huge variety in the natural appearance of labia, so the only way to play it safe is, as one softcore Photoshop pro puts it, to completely remove the labia from the photo. The result is a wholly inaccurate depiction of the vulva and labia, wherein the entire package is airbrushed to a single crease. That, apparently, is acceptable.

Confession: When I watched this for the first time, after seeing multiple shots of acceptable labia, I paused the video and ran straight to my full-length mirror. I'd never really noticed how not "discreet" my ladyflower was! I've got all kinds of business down there! I don't look anything like those pictures! Oh my god, is it ugly?! I went crazy for approximately 8 seconds, then shrugged and went back to watching.

If I had a moment of curiosity-cum-self-consciousness simply from watching a mini-doc on this matter, imagine the obvious effect this has on the women for whom these images are a part of their understanding of reality. As one plastic surgeon puts it, "Most women don't really have an idea of the normal range" of labia appearances, and this results in "people seek[ing] out to improve their little bits." And then we are helpfully shown the process of improvement, in which the doctor makes a quick snip, simply cutting off a completely normal part of a woman's body.

While we've recently argued that porn should not be blamed for the increasing plasticization of women, but we also can't completely discount the effects of porn when it comes to genital aesthetics. And while this specific instance deals with sexual flesh, it's no different than the the experience of being constantly exposed unrealistic imagery in magazines, impossible standards of beauty that we'll never achieve, no matter how much of ourselves we cut away.

Again: The following video is VERY NSFW and contains graphic images of surgery. Don't continue scrolling if a giant vagina is unacceptable for your monitor.