How much do good looks matter? Enough to be presentable and attractive to the opposite gender? Or enough to fit into the patriarchal standards of beauty? In our society women are expected to fulfill the latter. They are expected to be beautiful and attractive, that too while embracing the changing fashion trends. Anything less or more always gets scrutinised for not being good enough. But how long will patriarchy determine what looks good on us women and what needs to be changed? When will we have the bodily autonomy to decide what we want?
Today, I came across an article that talked about something I never imagined- getting designer vaginas through surgery to fit into tight sweatpants or bottoms. The article stated that the number of women who underwent labiaplasties has only doubled in 2022. To make the scenario clear, let me explain what labiaplasty means. It is a surgery that is performed on women’s vaginas to reduce the size of the labia- the flap of skin on both sides of the vagina. Women are opting for this surgery because they feel uncomfortable wearing tight leggings with big vaginas or labia. They feel exposed in tight clothes as large labia are easily visible in tight lowers. Moreover, tight clothes cause pain below the belt area and chaffing. Consequently, many women are either avoiding wearing such clothes or undergoing surgeries just to fit in.
The article clearly mentioned the side effects that this surgery might cause to women. One of the women who underwent labiaplasty said she lost the sensation below the belt, while in other cases, it could also lead to infections and scarred tissue. The surgery does not only affect the body but it also costs a fortune, priced at 4000 dollars.
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Designer vagina: Why do we hate our bodies so much?
But dear women, why is fitting into a specific dress or obtaining a particular figure so important as to let your body, especially sensitive parts like the vagina, under the scalpel? Why are women so eager to undergo such discomforts just to fit in certain clothes? Should clothes or body size determine how good a woman looks or how modern she is? Why are women’s clothes not inclusive of different body types, why are they largely uncomfortable and unrealistic?
The patriarchal politics of women’s clothing is a known phenomenon. Women’s clothing is designed as per the patriarchy’s perception of women. They do not have pockets because it is assumed that women do not need money. They are too tight because patriarchy likes women to be in a particular shape. We are still far from the era when clothes for different body types of women are normalised. This is why tight leggings cause discomfort to women with larger vaginas. Clothes are made only for women with smaller and ‘designer’ vaginas. Women with larger vaginas have to either adjust, avoid wearing them or go under surgeries.
I am not opposing women who go under surgeries by choice, but does it make sense to do so just because clothing brands are not ready to make inclusive clothes for women? It is high time now that women start valuing their bodies. They need to understand that their bodies shouldn’t change with patriarchal demands and expectations. Trends come and go, our bodies remain with us for our lifetime. They help us fight diseases, bear children, climb mountains, make love and feel the world around us. Our bodies deserve to be cared, to be comfortable and to be loved. So why not prioritise our bodies over fashion trends?
The views expressed are the author’s own.