Guernica’s Kristen O’Regan went undercover as a woman seeking a labiaplasty to investigate the world of vaginal rejuvenation, a field of surgery which is “relatively unregulated and frequently botched, as indicated by the staggering number of clinics that advertise discreet revisions of bungled previous surgeries.” One of her many disturbing discoveries was a that a procedure called “The Barbie”is growing in popularity:
Dr. Red Alinsod, a urogynecologist in Laguna Beach, California, claims that his most requested surgical procedure is the Barbie: a procedure that excises the entire labia minora. This results in a ‘clamshell’ aesthetic: a smooth genital area, the outer labia appearing ‘sealed’ together with no labia minora protrusion. Alinsod tells me he invented the Barbie in 2005. “I had been doing more conservative labiaplasties before then,” he says. “But I kept getting patients who wanted almost all of it off. They would come in and say, I want a ‘Barbie.’ So I developed a procedure that would give them this comfortable, athletic, petite look, safely.”
If this disturbs you. GOOD. It should. The Atlantic wrote about the rise of procedure back in the summer of 2011, prompting a feminist group in the UK to organize a march to protest “The Barbie.” Sadly, O’Reagan’s piece seems to confirms that “The Barbie” is only gaining momentum, which means that the myth of the “perfect vagina” continues to thrive. While some women “undergo labiaplasty for medical or practical reasons—large labia can cause irritation and pain during sex and exercise,” O’Reagan reports, the vast majority undergo the surgery to achieve a more “neat” or “streamlined” crotch. No. No. No. There’s no reason why women should be encouraged to get rid of their labias. Do not want a Barbie crotch. And I’m wondering who these women are that do?