PODCAST: Designer Genitalia - Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery

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Sun, 2012-04-08 (All day)

Podcast on Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery

Listen to the podcast - mp3 format

Recorded April 8, 2012

Nip and tuck surgeries have become commonplace, but what about cosmetic genital surgeries?  A quick search reveals six clinics in Toronto alone that offer to reduce women’s labia, tighten their vaginas or remove their clitoral hood.  Surprised?  In the U.K., last year these procedures on the National Health Service increased by 70% on the previous year to 1,118.  If you are curious, intrigued or just plain flabbergasted, listen to our podcast with Leonore Tiefer and Lyba Spring with CWHN Executive Director, Anne Rochon Ford, moderating.    

Leonore Tiefer, PhD, is an educator, psychotherapist and sex therapist, and an expert in the medicalization of sex. She has a private psychotherapy and sex therapy practice in Manhattan, New York and is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at both New York University School of Medicine and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Lyba Spring worked as a sexual health educator for Toronto Public Health for nearly 30 years. She recently retired from that position to set up her own consulting company, Lyba Spring Sexual Health Education and Consulting Services.

Additional Resources

Therapeutic vs. Cosmetic Surgery

Intersex Surgery, Female Genital Cutting, and the Selective Condemnation of “Cultural Practices” by Nancy Ehrenreich with Mark Barr in Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (Vol. 40).

Research on Health Risks of Surgery

Why are women referred for female genital cosmetic surgery? Rebecca Deans, Lih-Mei Liao, Naomi S. Crouch and Sarah M. Creighton, Med J Aust 2011, 195 (2): 99.

Personal Perspectives

The Perfect Vagina [FreeDocumentaries]

“A New View of a Woman's Body” by the Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers. Originally written in 1982. Updated in 1991. Illustrated by Susann Gage. Includes complete redefinition of the clitoris. Softcover. Get it from Progressive Health/Feminist Health Press in Los Angeles, CA (call 619-260-0810)  including bulk and resale quantities.

Other Recommended Resources

This New View Campaign - VULVANOMICS, the 4th activist event organized by the New View Campaign to challenge Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery (FGCS).

Viva la Vulva – YouTube video

Robertson, Wrenna (2011) I’ll Show You Mine (self-published by Show-Off Books). And a background article about the book published on Vancouver's Straight.com.

The Search for the "Perfect" Vulva from Journal Watch (publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine)

Nick Karras (2003) Petals (self-published). Nick also has poster for sale on his site with array of diverse genitalia.

Redd, Nancy Amanda (2008) Body Drama. New York:Gotham Books. This book, subtitled “Real girls, real bodies, real issues, real answers” emphasizes diversity and contains genital photos along with photos of all other parts of the body and a great section on airbrushing!

Barnes, Andrew and Lumsden, Yvonne (2010) Heart of the Flower (Pangia Publishing Foundation, Brisbane, Australia).

Camphausen, Christina (2009) Yoni Portraits: The Intimate Art of Christina Camphausen (Published by RCC Design, Leiden, The Netherlands). Drawings, not photographs.

A 2011 spoof training video made by the New View Campaign called “Dr. Vajayjay’s Privatize those Privates.” In it we demonstrate and explain the marketing and advertising techniques used by cosmetic genital surgeons to create their market. It’s a tour de force, and we have prepared a 4-page study guide that offers activities for classes and groups to further explore the ideas in the video. 

Women with normal sized labia minora still seek labial reduction surgery for cosmetic reasons finds new research published 24 August, 2011 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

"Popular Cosmetic Procedure Called 'the Barbie' Hacks Off Women's Labia So She's Smooth Like a Doll Labiaplasty is the most common 'vaginal rejuvenation' surgery" published on AlterNet.

Severson, Anne (1971) 17 minute silent film “Near the Big Chakra” available on DVD

Designer Parts: Inside the Strange, Fascinating World of Vaginoplasty by Melanie Berliet, published in The Atlantic, April 2012.

The Visible Vagina. Catalog based on an exhibition in New York, January - March, 2010. Francis M. Naumann, 24. W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. Huge range of types of art, including painting, photography, drawing, collage, craft.

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