Okay ladies (and gentlemen, you should hear this too), it’s time to talk about labia. Recently, I’ve been hearing more and more about “labiaplasty,” which is essentially plastic surgery on the vagina. If you’re feeling horrified right about now, we’re probably on the same page here. Now, I understand the importance of surgeries like this for people who are for example, intersex, but I want to focus here on those who are going under the knife for purely aesthetic reasons.
Being insecure about your vagina is not uncommon — I’m pretty sure we’ve all at some point in the transformation of our lady gardens wondered, “Is this normal?” — and I want to start off by telling you that it probably is normal, but if you’re still worried about it, go to the doctor and ASK! Don’t let this shit interfere with your sex life because you have to be comfortable with yourself in order to enjoy yourself!
Easier said than done, right? It might seem to you that every vagina you’ve ever seen looks way more normal than yours does. Or perhaps someone once told you that your vagina looks odd? Let’s just think about that for a second: I mean, what is the authority that’s setting the precedent for what a “normal” vagina looks like? If your answer is “porn,” then you can give yourself a smack in the face because I don’t know how many times this needs to be reiterated: PORN IS FICTION. All of those vaginas have been primped, primed and filmed from certain angles in order to fit in with the aesthetic idea of “The Vagina” that our culture seems to have espoused.
First of all, let’s address the fucked-up-ness of having a completely hairless vagina with tiny pink labia that barely protrudes at all as our aesthetic ideal. What you’re striving for if you’re thinking that’s what your vagina should look like is to basically return to having unaroused and prepubescent genitals. Does that sound sexy?
Furthermore, a quick Wikipedia search for “labiaplasty” will tell you that the average length for the labia majora (the outside lips) can be between seven and 12 cm and for the labia minora (the inside ones) is between 20 and 100 mm. And those are only two parts of the whole. So basically, what constitutes a “normal” vagina is anything that falls within a huge spectrum, across a huge amount of variables, including color and shape. So that’s why I told you that your vagina, whatever it looks like, is probably normal. And yeah, because the vagina is such a complex thing, it usually looks like kind of a mess. But it’s still normal.
So I suggest you all go and Google Image “labia” — as opposed to “pussy” or other less scientific terms — to get a real idea of what vaginas look like. Oh yeah, and relax, it’s just a vagina.
Naomi Rea is a third-year English literature and philosophy double major.