Allison Washington this was such an enlightening read for me!
Kammie Melton
101

As I’m sure you’re aware, porn and society in general have painted a picture of what a ‘normal labia’ looks like — all tucked in, neat and clean, nothing hanging out and getting in the way. There’s a huge group of women who even get surgery to make there ‘oversized’ labia smaller.

I know! I have even looked at a couple of the surgeons’ websites that promote this procedure and — wow — are they messed-up. Obvious marketing written specifically to prey on women’s body insecurities. Actual evil, IMO.

First they scrutinised, sized, and standardised our breasts, then they convinced us we needed a bunch of waxing and trimming ‘down there’, and now that’s not good enough and we need to nip and tuck that shit…scarring, complications, loss of sensation…actual evil.

There is a project by artist Jamie McCartney intended to push back on all this. It features castings of hundreds of ‘normal’ vulva (including trans vulva — and no, you can’t pick them out). They are all very different, and very few of them are ‘porn normative’. Like maybe 2%.

Jamie McCartney, ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’, Panel 1 of 10.

I once saw a similar effort done with montages of photographs of women’s breasts (spoiler: almost none look like Barbie™), but I can’t seem to find it now (anyone?). Seeing that helped me reduce my self-consciousness about my breasts.

(wow, never thought I’d be discussing this publicly…forgive me if you later find this deleted)

Right?! I may take this story down…not sure I’m comfortable with it…and for me, that’s saying something! Re-reading it, it feels super TMI…and I might’ve had one glass of wine too many when I wrote it…

If you do decide to delete, tell me if it’s OK to leave my response up — it won’t identify you in any way. That said, I feel it’s important to share these things with other women (thus my story) to try and normalise our bodies and feelings.

When my…labia causes problems as I walk, hangs out a bit too much, or needs to be tucked in I actually feel the least feminine. It actually makes me feel masculine, because I’m told that only men need to adjust themselves.

Of course women ‘adjust themselves’! (Amirite, ladies?) My labia don’t happen to hang out much, and I ‘adjust’. Especially before/after urinating (who wants damp knickers?). And whenever ‘things’ don’t ‘feel right’ (and no one’s looking ;-).

The only solid reason I can think of for having a labiaplasty is if they actually chafe (i.e., there’s a real comfort/health issue). (Or if you’re a trans woman — then a labiaplasty might be a nice thing… ;-)

I really appreciate you sharing your experience.

❤ Allison

Update: Having to ‘adjust’ our labia has already come up in discussions with other readers. I’m now thinking it’s probably universal.