Usually I’m just amused by the self-loathing articles and columns in the Sunday Times, but lately they’ve been pushing more pieces on plastic surgery (in no way a reflection of recent ad placements, I’m sure). Elective plastic surgery freaks me out – why risk death, permanent pain or disfigurement to ‘fix’ some imaginary flaw that doesn’t even bother anyone else?
An article today, The man who wants to reshape your private parts, is a step too far:
“My customers say, ‘You know what, I don’t like the length of my labia minora. I don’t want the small lips projecting outside the outer lips.’ We can take that excess skin away. They say, ‘I don’t want my labia majora. They’re too flat, I want them full.’ We can inject fat there. Or, ‘I’ve got too much fat in my mons pubis. It looks like I have a penis.’ And we can do that. Or, ‘I’ve had children, I’m too relaxed, I want intense sexual gratification’, so we tighten the muscle. Or, simply, ‘I just look too old.’ Because it’s all about youth, youth, youth.”
But is he really helping us out, or giving us one more area of our bodies to feel paranoid about?
“Look, demand for these treatments comes from women,” he says. “I didn’t create it, the market was there, and I discovered it because I listened to women. Every single one of the procedures has been developed because it has been requested. And it’s going international. There is demand.”
And why is an article like that giving him publicity? How many more women suddenly feel paranoid after reading this article?
The author does that lovely ‘women’s mag’ thing of pretending to be objective while undermining any position that offers a real alternative.
In fact, there are no studies to prove that the diameter of a woman’s vagina is the determining factor in her sexual pleasure.
Real-life testimonials, however, speak volumes.
Right – so scientific evidence doesn’t count, but a single anecdote does? Never mind that the outcome given in the anecdote offered could have come from a number of sources – a placebo effect, the general effect of positive action on self-esteem.
The article at least offers this, from another plastic surgeon:
To tell someone otherwise is to promote body dysmorphia. What is the mentality of this person? It’s not progressive, it’s entrepreneurial. It’s about money. And doctors should never be about the money.
And call me a hippie, but surely there’s a better use of medical resources? The money could be better spent on education and preventing female genital mutilation, or trying to help the ‘100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM’. [WHO figures, May 2008]