Vaginal Shaping Is Now A Thing, And It’s Getting Really Popular. But We Wonder Why

[envoke_twitter_link]Vontouring is the newest new thing on the market[/envoke_twitter_link]. And no, it’s not some exotic way to go mountain climbing, it stands for vaginal contouring, a surgical procedure which will help tighten the walls of your vagina. It’s presented as a cheaper alternative to labiaplasty which it certainly is because while the average labiaplasty can take anything up to 5,000 dollars, vaginal contouring is only 300 dollars, making it well within the reach of many women. It is however, unlikely that vaginal contouring can do all that a labiaplasty can do: a labiaplasty is also used to treat congenital defects within the labia and in sex reassignment surgeries but a large amount of labiaplasties are performed for cosmetic purposes which this procedure, also known as Protégé Intima, is focusing on.

Make no mistake though, vaginal contouring is almost an entirely cosmetic procedure. It’s also pretty painless, with many of the initial patients reporting a ‘feeling of warmth’. While it can take four to six sessions to ultimately complete, each sessions lasts a maximum of fifteen minutes, making it an easy operation for those who are pressed for time, like working women.

Many might wonder why exactly women might want to restructure or beautify their vaginas. Some women who want to get their vaginas ‘back in shape’ after giving birth will opt for the procedure. The Protégé Intima website also states that it is for women with ‘post-natal disorders that affect sexual satisfaction’ and also for those with scarring. But there is the slightly problematic matter of why exactly women want to ‘correct’ the shape of their vagina (as many sites are advertising it); there is no correct shape for the vagina and there never will be. The female genitalia are some of the most misunderstood parts of the woman’s body, largely because of the culture of shame and hiding that surrounds it. With the rise of easy access to porn many women find themselves wanting the ‘desirable’ vaginal structures shown in them.

Cosmetic procedures are hardly limited to women, but as Dr. Steinbrech points out, cosmetic surgeries are sought by a very particular section of men whose careers demand it such as models or men on the top of executive careers such as CEOs who are going for a particular look. Certainly nothing like the wide range of women who go in for cosmetic procedures. This is perhaps another sign of how while both men and women are required to conform to a certain degree, for women this is something that can affect every facet of their life in an effort to keep up with a standard of beauty that men may not be beholden to.

Vontouring is only one in a long line of purely cosmetic procedures undergone by women. Other popular procedures include the likes of liposuction, breast implants and facelifts. Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery which involves having fat removed from various portions of the body (including thighs, buttocks and abdomen) while breast implants are done in order to enhance a women’s breasts with surgically inserted silicone shells and is also often known as breast augmentation surgery. Facelifts, on the other hand, are operations that involve the tightening of tissue on the face with removal of excess tissue in order to present a more youthful image. The procedures themselves have varying recovery times, but apart from the physical recovery itself, there is also the matter of the psychological effects of the treatment. Reports indicate an increasing amount of body dysphoria among women undergoing cosmetic procedures as well as an increase in activities such as smoking cigarettes. There may also be biological complications following the treatment, such as in a case in Thailand (known worldwide for its very cheap and popular cosmetic surgeries), where the patient died following a surgery.

While one might argue that these procedures allow women to take pride in their body shape, we may also consider what exactly drives women to participate in such procedures to alter their body shapes. We need only think of beauty pageants such as Miss Universe or Miss World where a woman’s worth is judged solely based on her body — the swimsuit section alone is a standing testimony. A society which portrays one sort of body type as ‘acceptable’ over other through advertising and entertainment (movies, TV shows, video games) creates the mindset which eventually pushes these women towards cosmetic surgeries. We must endeavor to understand this problem (because the almost universal dissatisfaction women have with their bodies is almost certainly a problem, albeit an unacknowledged one) and deal with the cause, rather than the symptoms.