Keep Your Labiaplasty Suggestions to Yourself, Doc

My ladybits are real and they're fabulous.

What a sad world we women live in. Not only do we have to submit to a yearly probing of our ladybits to make sure we are cancer-free, but now, thanks to reprehensible gynecologists more interested in performing lucrative labiaplasty procedures than in their patients’ self-esteem or dignity, we have to worry about whether our vah-jay-jays are cosmetically up to snuff.

Jezebel, dubbing the doctor in question “the worst gyno ever,” reported yesterday that a woman, writing in to the Patient Navigator column of the Globe and Mail, is warning other women that her gynecologist, during a routine visit, while she was still undressed and presumably in the stirrups, suggested that he could perform a labiaplasty for her and then proceeded to show her on a monitor where he could trim her labia.

The thought that going in for a routine pap smear can now turn into a carnival of shame because my labia are not porn-ready is the final straw on an already pretty high haystack of collected indignities. As a mother of three children, all of which were birthed vaginally, I thought I had shelved my dignity back in 2002 when, while semi-paralyzed from an epidural, my doctor and a hunky med student walked in while I was, quite literally, splayed out on the bed with a nurse’s hand up my hoo-ha. “Hey, how’s it goin’?” I said with a smile, a wave, and as much nonchalance as I could muster.

Then there’s the fact that I got a rectocele after my third child’s birth. That was a real ego-booster. The only silver lining to the surgery needed to repair it was that I got a “vaginal rejuvenation” thrown in — a surgery most mothers of 9-pound+ babies can get behind, I suspect. And I won’t even get into the time I went in for a pap smear and was told, “Well, now this is curious! I can’t seem to find your cervix.” Don’t worry, it was eventually located, but it took a lot of pressing, shifting about, and, finally, another doctor.

Despite these potentially mortifying moments, I am completely dismayed at what this woman went through with her doctor. She said that she noted the large posters for labiaplasty procedures in the waiting room, but as she was there for something else and didn’t bring it up herself, she was more than a little surprised when the doctor offered his surgical services, along with the implication  that something was wrong with the way her labia look. Not that something was wrong with them, but they were just inherently wrong.

I wonder if this doctor thinks that ear-nose-throat doctors should suggest nose jobs to their patients? Or that dermatologists should recommend hair plugs to the balding? How could he be so far out of touch as to think that cosmetic procedures should be pushed on patients that are not seeing him about cosmetic issues?

Is our society really so affected by pornography that women are supposed to aspire to having “pretty” vaginas? According the Center For Vaginal Surgery, yes, it is. Their site lists “Some women just want to look ‘prettier’ like the women they see in magazines or in films” as one of the reasons that women get this procedure done. It goes on to claim, “Labiaplasty can greatly enhance the cosmetic appearance of the outer vagina giving many women greater confidence and self esteem.”

Super. One more thing to add to the list of things that women can obsess over and wonder if men expect of them. I can’t imagine falling for any person douchey enough to expect their partner to look like a porn star, but that this surgery even exists as a “cosmetic” option indicates that there are other people who can and have.

This woman took the time to write to the paper so that she could warn other women of her experience. I can only hope that her letter will stand as a warning to doctors that women will not be subjected to unsolicited opinions on the cosmetic state of their vaginas. And I hope that her doctor is reprimanded in some way for his avaricious approach to gynecology.

What do you think? Have you ever been mortified at something your gyno has said or done during a check-up? Do you think there are ever occasions when it is okay for a doctor to suggest a cosmetic procedure?

FYI: I understand that for some this issue is purely medical, but if the patient was previously too embarrassed to voice concern about the size of her labia, wouldn’t the labiaplasty promotional posters adorning the office make her feel comfortable enough to bring up the procedure?

Photo Credit: © laurent hamels- fotolia.com

Read more of Amy Windsor’s writing at Bitchin’ Wives Club.
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