2gyc5d3There has been a groundswell of controversy surrounding the elective cosmetic procedure, labiaplasty. For those of you who might be living under a rock, labiaplasty is a “beautification” process designed to surgically alter a woman’s labia—sometimes for health reasons (I’ve seen blog comments made by women who claim to have suffered yeast infections from labial hyperplasia) but more often to appear, what, non-threatening? In researching this post, I even came across an ehow.com article offering instruction for suggesting labiaplasty to a spouse (oh, no you didn’t!).

So I recently read this article on Jezebel (they might be pro-woman but their authors need to refrain from using the word “retarded” when what they mean is “stupid,” ‘cause that’s just dumb), that thoroughly denounces the practice of labiaplasty and all who undertake it. My first reaction, of course, was “of course!” In my “up with women” frame of mind, I immediately thought “death to the natural vulva (not vagina, the writer needs an anatomy lesson to go along with a lesson in politically-correct terminology) haters!” I couldn’t imagine anyone knifing into their genitals for any reason.

And then I remembered my husband. And my friends. And let’s get back to that in a minute, shall we?

In my ongoing effort not to respond from a knee-jerk point of view, I sat on my hands for a minute. I thought about body modification in general. My nose is pierced and I have one tattoo with a couple more planned. My rock star preacher husband has several tattoos and several more planned. He is also working on stretching his lobes with a kit I bought him for Christmas (that titanium will look great with a double-breasted, pin-striped suit behind the pulpit on Sundays). Most of my friends are inked and pierced and although I don’t know of any with a doughnut implanted in their foreheads, I wouldn’t be that surprised. So there’s that. We willingly distort our own flesh in an attempt at being both unique and *othered* but at the same time, fitting in with those like us.

And I thought about my ongoing quest to diet in an epic attempt to make my curves more palatable in a size 2 society. I can’t remember the last time I either wasn’t actively dieting, thinking about dieting, or planning a new diet. How is labiaplasty any different? Fewer people (I hope) see your special place, but we are all wont to be “the same as” whether we like to admit it or not. I want my stomach to be flat, you want your “wings” to be a little less flappy. So who am I to judge?

Let’s get back to that genital mutilation thing. In the worlds I travel in, going under the knife, while often prohibitively expensive, is not that uncommon. Few among my friends and loved ones in the trans* community wouldn’t trade in their genitals on a new set, an improved set, in their minds. Who would be the first to cast a stone in their direction? Certainly not me. If I had an extra $20,000 lying around I’d be making my husband’s appointment tomorrow.

So I’m not going to be one of those that jumps on the anti-labiaplasty bandwagon. There are plenty of others who can get riled up for this cause and there are plenty of other causes for me to get riled up for. I’m okay with my own hooha. It’s not perfect, but it only matters to the one who matters (me). (Now you are all sitting there wondering what it looks like, right?) In the meantime, perhaps someone can figure out an excess labia donation program for my many transwomen friends who would trade places under the knife any time.