British gynaecologists warned on Friday that increasing numbers of teenage girls and women are undergoing genital cosmetic surgery, driven in part by unrealistic images of how they should look based on pornography.
The state-funded National Health Service (NHS) performed more than 2,000 labial reduction procedures — labiaplasties — in 2010, a five-fold increase in ten years, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).
This is “probably the tip of the iceberg compared to the number of procedures that are done in the private sector” where the data is not routinely collected, said Professor Sarah Creighton, a member of RCOG’s ethics committee.
She said there had been no similar increase in labial disease in the last decade to explain the trend, suggesting instead a confusion about what represents ‘normal’ genitalia.
“The misapprehension arises from the prominence of just one type of ‘neat’ genital appearance, the type to be found prominently depicted in pornography,” said Thomas Baldwin, a philosopher who sits on RCOG’s ethics committee.
In a new paper, the committee expresses particular concern that teenage girls are undergoing unnecessary surgery, which is often anatomically similar to female genital mutilation — a crime in Britain.
There is very little data about the long-term risks of labiaplasty, particularly the effect it has on sensitivity and sexual function.
As a result, the committee recommends that genital cosmetic surgery not be carried out on girls under the age of 18, until their external genitalia are fully formed.
“The younger a girl begins her labiaplasty trajectory, the higher the number of operations over her lifetime and the greater the risk of scarring and sensitivity loss,” warned the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology.
The experts also recommend that surgery should not be conducted on the NHS unless it is a medical requirement.
“I hope that when applied, our recommendations will help to reassure many women and girls that they are perfectly normal, they don’t need surgery,” said Suzi Leather, chairwoman of the RCOG ethics committee.
[Image: “Young Tired Surgeon Wearing Scrubs And Looking Stressed” via Shutterstock]
Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam
The U.S Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from a Middle East studies course jointly run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it portrays Islam too positively.
The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East," including Christians and Jews.
Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why
The Federal Reserve seems a lot more concerned about the state of the economy than it’s been letting on.
The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.
Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”
Elizabeth Warren accuses Congress of complicity in Trump’s continued abuses
Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused the U.S. Congress of complicity in President Donald Trump's continued abuse of power late Friday, after reports surfaced of his alleged attempts to solicit foreign meddling in the 2020 presidential election, and reiterated her demand that Democrats use their majority in the House to pursue impeachment.
Warren's tweeted statement came hours after the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's opposition to a Ukrainian prosecutor in 2016.