WOMEN are increasingly getting distorted ideas about what their genitalia should look like with many thinking their bodies are “abnormal.”Read more>

sharon-osbourne photo image

New Australian research showed women photos of “designer vaginas” and unaltered genitalia.

The results showed that women were more likely to believe that the surgically enhanced genitalia were “normal” or “ideal” compared to the natural images.

The University of Queensland School of Psychology study said the number of labiaplasties had increased five-fold since 2001.

Ninety-seven Australian women ages 18 to 30 years old were divided into three groups. In the initial stage of the study, one group was shown almost three dozen images of modified female genitalia; another group was shown images of unmodified genitalia. A third group was not shown any images.

Then all three groups were shown a mix of images of modified and unmodified genitals and asked to rate them for the degree to which the vulva ‘looks normal’ and ‘represents society’s ideal.’

All three groups rated the images of the ‘designer vaginas’ as more like society’s ideal than those which hadn’t undergone surgery.

Women who had viewed the images of the modified genitalia first also rated the modified vulvas as more ‘normal’ than the unmodified genitals.

But women who had seen the photos of unmodified genitalia first tended to rate them as normal in the second stage.

The researchers suggest that young women may not realize that normal genitalia vary considerably in appearance.

“Designer vaginas” were thrown into the spotlight recently when Sharon Osbourne said she had undergone a labiaplasty.  However she came out after the story and said she had “made it all up”.

“The rise in genital cosmetic surgery for women is a very worrying trend,” the study’s lead author, Claire Moran, from the University of Queensland said.

“There seems to be massive misconceptions around perceptions of normal genital appearance and I wanted to explore this further.”

Ms Moran said the media had played a role in the trend.

“There are misconceptions around normal genital appearance,” she said.

“This is due to airbrushing, lack of exposure to normal women’s genitals, greater genital visibility due to Brazilian and genital waxing and the general taboo around discussing genitals and genital appearance.”

The results of the new study were published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.


Henry Sapiecha

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