Thanks to the society that we live in, body insecurities in young girls are now stemming beyond an hourglass shape with ample cleavage, with alarming numbers of girls under the age of 18 going under the knife for labiaplasty, with the concerning trend soaring in popularity by almost 50% in just one year.
Figures from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that were released in February showed that between 2015 and 2016, over 200 girls under 18 underwent the procedure, with over 150 of them being under 15. These worrying numbers only count for the procedures completed by the NHS, so we don't have any indication of how many girls had the surgery privately.
Labiaplasty is a procedure that reduces or reshapes the size of the labia minora, and is now recognised in the cosmetic surgery industry as the fastest growing procedure according to leading names. Doctors have claimed that girls as young as 11 have met with them to have their genitals look 'like a Barbie'. GPs now give out a pamphlet, So What Is A Vulva Anyway? - which is available online too - to girls and women contemplating the surgery.
Gynaecologist Dr Naomi Crouch chairs BritsPAG and has been working with the NHS to try and reduce the amount of female patients requesting the procedure. “There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the practice of labiaplasty,” she said. “And the risk of harm is significant, particularly for teenagers who are still in stages of development both physically and psychologically.” Talking about the new pamphlet, she added, “We hope this resource will provide information for girls and young women that their vulva is unique and will change throughout their life, and that is entirely normal and healthy.”
She's not the only professional who thinks that labiaplasty is bad news, Dr Paquita de Zuluet believes that the trend is as a result of overexposure to social media and pornography — and we tend to agree. That, along with the lack of education has certainly created a breeding ground for the low self-esteem and resentment towards their bodies that young girls and women feel on a daily basis. It's becoming increasingly common knowledge for youngsters to understand that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and whilst the same applies for the female anatomy, they don't know that, and that's something that needs to be implemented sooner rather than later if the surgical procedure's popularity has any chance of slowing down.