When I was growing up, I never gave any thought to what my labia looked like. I’d seen ‘em. I had mirrors. But I figured all girls’ lower lady lips were all more or less the same. To be honest, even as a straight woman and adult, I still hadn’t seen much of what other females were working with. Thorough researcher that I try to be, now I have seen, and yeah, they vary in color, size and shape. There is a wide range of normal, just like with penises, areolae and nipples.
Things are different now, though, then when I was growing up. Teens shaving their pubic hair is a common practice, and access to the internet means they can see all manner of perfect photoshopped body parts, which has translated into yet another reason for some of today’s teen girls, who have notoriously dealt with insecurities about things like the size of their breasts, their thighs, bellies and asses, to throw the aesthetic of their hoo-has into the mix of self-doubt, too.
Remember when all we worried about was what it smelled like down there? Ah, simpler times.
The troubling thing is that these insecurities are manifesting in a rising trend amongst teens who are so self-conscious about what their labia look like that the number of teens getting or requesting cosmetic labia surgery, or labiaplasty, has increased to the point that it caused the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to issue a statement to doctors on how to handle this influx of requests. To paraphrase, they say, "cautiously."
According to the New York Times, there was an 80 percent increase in girls 18 and younger who had labiaplasty surgery in just one year — from 222 girls in 2014 to 400 girls in 2015. Only a handful get the surgery for legitimate medical issues; most reportedly want the surgery for cosmetic reasons.
Sure, that’s not a lot of people in the grand scheme. But it’s a concern. These are our teenage girls, after all — the ones we hope won’t have sex too young or get pregnant, not the ones we want to pay doctors to surgically and forever change their sexual organs so they have porn star poonannies before they’ve even become adults.
Maybe sexual encounters are supposed to be like a box of chocolates. Maybe variety makes things more exciting and interesting. This trend makes it seem like tiny, pink, hairless newborn-baby-mice vulvas are the gold standard. I say fuck that.
Save yourself the pain, the risk for scarring and loss of sensitivity, the money, and just grow your damn bush back, people. You’re not an 8-year-old. You should have hair on your genitals. It’s nature’s camouflage. Embrace it.