Articles2008

Designer Vaginas

Katherine

Katie

 

ABSTRACT

The goal of creating the idealized female form is neither new nor novel. Women have been altering their bodies for centuries. However, the focus recently has come onto the vagina – the most culturally value-laden of anatomical parts. This paper seeks to explore how historical representations and contemporary perceptions of the vagina have shaped attitudes towards female genitalia, and why society has perpetuated the objectified, idealized female image and imposed that falsification on the vagina. Additionally the author explores the practice of female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS), potential impetus behind the increase in elective vagina surgeries, and the implications of FGCS for both the individual and broader society. Further the author hopes to examine implications for social work practice working in a society blanketed with the pernicious cultural message that in order for a woman to be accepted and feel adequate, she must attain the “perfect” physical form.

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