In Pursuit Of The "Designer Vagina"
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A relatively new, elective and increasing medical procedure in the West known as “female genital cosmetic surgery” (FGCS) claims to have the ability to enhance the functional and aesthetic features of women’s genitalia. Using FGCS online discussion forums, this study examines the experiences of women who have undergone, or are contemplating undergoing, genital cosmetic surgery, and explores surgeons’ websites in order to understand how FGCS is marketed and promoted online. Using content analysis, this study found that women and clinic websites reported aesthetic concerns, psychological issues, physical discomfort and sexual reasons as the primary motivations for having surgery. Furthermore, this study found that surgeons’ websites advertise FGCS as a “low-risk” procedure, which acts as a reasonable solution for correcting an “abnormal” body part (i.e., the female genitals), and which women are increasingly becoming aware of in large part due to emerging normative standards of the vulva.