COS­METIC CON­CERNS

Toronto Star - - LIFE -

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.

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