While some women opt for genital procedures for medical reasons, their growing popularity is still primarily tied to esthetics — possibly fuelled by the popularity of Brazilian waxing, hair-free porn stars, and modern-but-incorrect notions of what “normal” female genitalia looks like.
“So many women have no hair anymore. That makes the appearance of all the structures of the genitalia so much more obvious,” says Dr. Mitchell Brown, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.
The genital surgery trend is one some members of the medical community find alarming. In its 2013 policy statement, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) says the currently-available evidence doesn’t support female genital cosmetic surgery.
“We’re concerned that if you make a decision to remove tissue at a young age, it could have an impact we haven’t even begun to measure on your ability to have normal sexual function, and normal childbirth, years down the road,” says Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO of the SOGC.
Brown says he’s noticed a rise in women under 30 asking for genital procedures, and says patients must be both emotionally and physically mature before he’ll operate. He also stresses that, while women may want tweaks in their genitalia, there is no such thing as “ideal.”
“It would be a boring world if we all looked the same . . . you have to take time to educate people that there is no ideal nose, no ideal breast, no ideal labia,” he says.