The study also
found women exposed to images of female genitalia are more likely to get
tempted to consider the procedure.
Australian researchers from the school of psychology at Flinders University conducted
a survey among 351 women aged 18-69 of whom 17% expressed willingness to
Nearly 13% of the survey participants had been negatively
commented upon for their genital appearance by their romantic partners and 19%
of them had had a discussion about genital appearance with their friends.
Gemma Sharp, the study author, said: "Our study is the first to
systematically examine the role of the media, romantic partners and friends on
women's consideration of labiaplasty."
She added, "Our findings suggest a worrying trend of women becoming
dissatisfied with the appearance of their genitals. We think that if women and
their partners were made aware of the large variation in normal genital
appearance this might help to alleviate some of their concerns about their own
The study revealed exposure to a variety of media sources such as
television, internet, advertising and pornography that displayed images of
female genitalia induced a desire in women to consider labiaplasty.
Women who received negative comments from their romantic partners and
those who discussed genital appearance with their friends also expressed
interest in undergoing the cosmetic genital surgery.
Dr David Veale, consultant psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS
Foundation Trust and The Priory Hospital North London, said, "This study
suggests that the media, romantic partners and friends are influential in
shaping women's perceptions of their own genital appearance and decisions to
It is possible that women (and their partners) don't realize women in porn may have had a surgical modification of their labia, observed Dr. Veale. Consequently, women with perfectly normal labia may think they look abnormal compared to women who have modified labia, he added.
Dr. Veale is convening the genital surgery symposium at the Appearance
Matters conference which will also feature research on visible difference, cosmetic
surgery, body image, education, ethics, media, weight and provision of care.