[While this article does not technically fit in the abortion section, it relates because of the trend to force or pressure women to become objects of sexual gratification.]
Female Genitalia Newest Target, Trend for Plastic Surgery
Women must take a stand against objectification in the culture and world today
Experts are alarmed that the newest trend in cosmetic procedures is designer vaginas, which many women seek after watching pornography in the hopes that it will improve their sex lives.
"It runs the risk of redefining beauty as that which is only 'skin deep', as opposed to its higher reality: a reflection of and a participation in inner beauty" said Johnette Benkovic, author.
About 800 so-called "vaginal rejuvenation" procedures were performed in 2005, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a tiny figure compared with the 320,000 liposuctions performed annually. But doctors who offer the procedures have received prominent media attention and the practice is expected to grow.
There are three categories of vaginal cosmetic surgery, said Dr. Thomas Stoval of the American Society of Gynecological Surgeons. The first is vaginal rejuvenation, in which a laser is used to stimulate collagen growth and tighten the vagina. The second is revirgination, a surgery that reconstructs the hymen. The final is labiaplasty, a surgical procedure in which the labia are reduced in size.
Vaginal rejuvenation and revirgination are never medically necessary, Stoval said, and there is no scientific evidence that the procedures make sex more enjoyable. Labiaplasty is necessary in rare circumstances. The procedures can cost up to $10,000.
Dr. Kathleen Raviele [vice president, CMA; OBG] said she is disturbed by the procedures and what they say about how some modern women value their bodies.
"We are focused as a culture on the physical expressions of our sexuality and not concerned with other aspects of our sexuality, such as the intellectual, social, or creative aspects", she said, adding that it is up to women to take a stand against the procedures because "women set the moral tone for a culture."
Women want vaginal cosmetic surgery after viewing photos of "perfect vaginas" from doctors offering the procedures, Stovall said, as well as after watching porn.
The reduction of a woman or man to an object to be used for sexual gratification should be avoided at all costs.
Benkovic said that when the dignity of a woman's body is attacked, part of her spirit is attacked too; vaginal cosmetic surgery must be resisted. "Vaginal rejuvenation surgery for cosmetic reasons profanes the spiritual dimension of the female person." "Reducing all the personal riches of femininity to that single value, that is, of sex, as a suitable object for the gratification of sexuality itself should be publicly suspect."
[by Mary C. Schneidau, OSV, 21May 2006; Family Resources Center News, August-Sept 2006]