From an article in today’s Guardian:
Those asking for this surgery on the NHS, Creighton says, “can be very young – sometimes as young as 10 or 11. Mostly they’re in their late teens or early 20s. There are two pairs of labia: the fat pads on each side and the thinner, slightly more frilly skin on the inside. The ideal these women want is not to be able to see their labia minora at all. That is the image from porno-graphy and magazines. Because of shaving and fashions in underwear, this part of the body is more visible now. And everyone is more exposed to these images of a ‘perfect’ body, so people feel pressured to look a certain way.” She argues that women are aiming for “a certain genital appearance that used to be an obligation only for some glamour models”. The report warns of a culture where a “homogenised, pre-pubescent genital appearance” is therefore being perceived as the norm.
As with any surgery, labiaplasty is potentially risky. Creighton says that there have been no studies into the after-effects or possible complications of labiaplasty, nor has there been any research into the impact on childbirth: she suggests that women who opt for this procedure might experience the same problems while giving birth as women who have undergone ritualistic female genital mutilations. Allison Henry, a US woman who had her labia reduced after a vaginal prolapse, recently wrote that the operation “was brutal. All [the] patients who say it doesn’t hurt are lying. I’d rather get my teeth pulled out than do that again.” In Anna’s case, she was unable to walk for two days after the operation, and was in recovery for six weeks.
One thing we have noticed is that people will have it done and then come back to have more taken off.