Here are some comments generated online following the Embarrassing Bodies programme in 2009 which provoked my complaint to the General Medical Council and eventually this blog.
I reproduce these because I'm tired of people presenting labiaplasty is a non issue because they think it's a free choice undertaken by fully informed adults.The reality is that the market for labiaplasty 'services' is vulnerable people: the anxious, the depressed and the body dysmorphic, particularly teenage girls. Even more controversially, pre pubescent children are also getting caught in the cutting trend. More on this later.
The highlighting below is my addition - I think these comments confirm that one of the drivers of labia hatred is puritanism. Abundant sensuality in a woman, even a 21st century woman is, apparently, just not nice.
From the Channel 4 Embarrassing Bodies website:
“ I have the same problem, I'm fifteen and very self-concious about it. I went to see my doctor and now she is referring me to a gynaecologist.”
“I have never had sex neither and I'm worried if my boyfriend will think that it's strange.”
“it makes me sick everytime i look at it. …. i too have heard boys talkin about how if a girl has them hangin down then it means she has been round the block.”
“i have enlarge labia since i was about 13! i cant stand the thought of seeing it and i wont let my partner of 4 years touch it if i can help it.”
“im 15 years old and its just like i will never be able do do anything.”
“hey im 14 and i also have this problem it really gets me down and i never want to do anything with a boy until i get it sorted out mine doesn't hang down that low but its so noticeable it all started when i was on the toilet and i shouted my friend ,is my vagina normal i asked she said i dont know so i shouted my older sister and she just laughed and said you have labia and i cried because its not nice.”
“im 16 and have this problem … im petrified how guys will respond to it. ive put of any contact down there with guys untill now and just wanted 2 know if any1 out there has this "problem" and can tell me how guys reacted when they saw…will i ever be able 2 have a normal sex life?”
“im 14 and i have enlarged labia .......its really started to upset me the more i think about it.”