Can a feminist ever advocate ‘designer vaginas’?
The world is awash with people having aesthetic work done these days - the likes of Love Island, TOWIE and Made in Chelsea have normalised lunchtime lip-fillers and birthday Botox treatments so that I often look around the tube-carriage and wonder if I’m the only person who hasn’t yet succumbed.
But lately it’s gone a step further. I’ve heard of close friends of mine having a Botoxed brow here, a light lip-fill there – cementing my belief that it’s really edging away from simply a celebrity-funded industry, to an affordable indulgence for normal people.
But what about ‘designer vaginas’? Is that just a step too far?
Dr Shirin Lakhani, a specialist in intimate heath and rejuvenation (yes there is such a thing!) explained to me that ‘vulva-vaginal rejuvenation’ has sky-rocketed in recent times: ‘Women are talking about their intimate heath more than ever and treatments can now offer a very real solution for women suffering with issues such as vaginal atrophy, laxity or problems relating to confidence in their appearance.’
As a journalist I’ve written a few articles lately about women who’ve had non-surgical ‘designer vagina’ treatments. I like to think I’m pretty open-minded (you have to be in my job), but I’ll admit that at first I probably did assume they were wannabe-porn star types (if there is such a type), or women who were simply doing it to impress their partner.
But then I actually spoke to these women, got under their skin. And I discovered that in reality they were having these treatments on their vaginas and vulvas because they wanted them. Not because anyone was making them. Not because they were under duress. Rather because their issue, whether it be scarring or looseness after childbirth, or conditions such as labia minora hypertrophy (where the labia minora protrudes more than the labia majora), or simply vulva’s which aren’t symmetrical (hardly any are apparently!), bothered them. One lady I interviewed came out of a seven-year relationship and had lost all confidence, largely because of what she deemed ‘old-woman’s skin down below’ which had been brought on by weightloss and Hollywood waxing.
Newly single, it affected her confidence. Big time.
Not wanting to go under the knife, she opted for the BTL Ultra Femme 360 treatment – a non-invasive, non-surgical device that used radiofrequency.
Afterwards, she had the confidence to get out there and meet another man. Of course, some sceptics might say it was just a placebo, after all it’s not like a man checks out your vulva when he meets you! So maybe in some ways it was, but for her, the treatment gave her back her confidence and empowered her to move on with her life.
Same goes for the 45-year-old Mum-of-five I interviewed who came out of a long-term relationship and visited her GP about feeling ‘loose’ down below. When her GP dismissed her saying nothing could be done, she decided to take matters into her own hands and have a non-surgical procedure that made her feel ‘tighter’.
Once upon a time she’d have put up and shut up, accepted it as part and parcel of pushing five babies into the world. Except she didn’t just sit back and accept it, she went out there and got what she wanted. A better vagina.
And it’s after speaking to women like this that I can’t help feel that whether it’s this type of non-surgical procedures, or actually going under the knife to improve your bits, if it’s something that you want to do, to improve your confidence or just your body, then who are we to say you can’t?
I’m not by any means saying it’s for everyone. But that’s the whole point.
The point is that thankfully we live in an age where we are allowed to chose if we want our vagina to be hairy, or waxed, or loose or tight. And that feels pretty empowering to me!
follow Rachel: @rachtompkins on Instagram