Thursday evening as I was catching up on my recorded shows, I noticed a program running on BBC America. The title intrigued me enough to postpone my DVR viewing. I snuggled into my blanket a little bit as I berated myself for cleaning up my dinner plate at BELLA. The show was a documentary about cosmetic surgery that women want performed on their private parts due to self esteem issues. The show was hosted by a middle aged lady with two children. She followed a young girl as she set out to have the surgery performed. Asked why the young girl felt a need to have the surgery performed she mentioned that her mates laughed at her and her sister telling her potential boyfriend that she was a little lippy down there. She felt that perhaps if she thinned out her labia she would be more confident. This young lady didn't even go to her doc to have pap smears due to her feelings of disgust for her private parts. The camera follows her into the one day surgery room whereby she is given a local numbing agent as she braces herself for the knife. The surgery takes a few minutes and the young lady leaves to tend to her wounds at home. The surgeon informs the host the he performs between 10-15 surgeries of the labia per month.
Next the lady goes to some sculptor who is casting women's private parts in order to show the variations. She is hoping that this helps dissuade young girls from going under the knife all to gain a 'designer p****' . The host gets her private parts cast. The host sends one of interviewees to get her private part cast in hopes that she will not decide to have surgery. It works with the woman and she realizes she is not in any need of surgery and she actually is overcome emotionally. The host then heads off to interview an alternative therapy practitioner. In therapy apparently women are made to look at themselves and perhaps have a one on one confrontation with their private parts. Its a bizarre session and almost borders on new agey to me. Another interviewee ends up going with the host to the alternative therapy session. This young woman seems to have some issues with how she looks like down there and is presumably at peace with herself at the end of the session.
The coup de grace for me was when the whole issue of hymenoplasty. This issue brought up the subject of religious as well as cultural beliefs that are close to home. Women in our culture are judge on the purity during the wedding night. In the documentary a muslim girl is frantic to get the surgery so to hide the fact that she is not a virgin from her parents as well as her bethroed. The host ask a young indian/paki man if he expects to marry a virgin and he adamantly said that there was no way he would marry anything other than a virgin even though he might not be expected to be a virgin himself. Its a double standard that most women have to deal with. The host is overcome with tears as she notes that western women pride themselves for their sexual liberation and here they were chopping their bits all because they felt inferior to images that men have of them.
"Its all about presentation ain't it. When I have a meal I wouldn't like it to look like its being slapped together would I?" exclaimed a painter. All in all I knew about hymenoplasty for a while and used to think women were dumb even to undergo that since the hymen is cartilaginous tissue that can break by the simple act of riding a bike/camel/horse. Women are made differently Mashallah and some women can be married and still have their hymen intact. Its an odd world when a woman worth is judged by things beyond her control.