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Volume 20, n° 2
pages 81-87 (avril 2011)
Doi : 10.1016/j.sexol.2010.10.003
Vulvar reconstruction. The exploitation of an ignorance

G. Zwang  : MD
44, chemin des Sarments, 34980 Saint-Clément-de-Rivière, France 


At the very end of the 20th century, the clinical reconstruction of the morphology of the vulva became a widespread fashion. Going well beyond the context of classic dysmorphophobia, requests to practitioners have to do with submission to a stereotypical concept: recreating general appearance of the female genital organs as there are in childhood. Based on ignorance as well as on very old justifications – rejection of animality and the depreciation of the female body –, such submission, dismissive of the adult state of these organs, is a trespass against elementary ethical imperatives. Moreover, this moral issue poses two types of problems. On the one hand, there are medical ethics considerations for practitioners. On the other, and more broadly, it is a cultural issue that reaches down into the foundations of Western civilization.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Keywords : External female genital organs, Cosmetic genital surgery, Body image, Dysmorphophobia, Genital pilosity, Sexual censorship, Sexual mutilation, Cultural, artistic and/or didactic representation of the human body, Swimsuits

 Également en version française dans ce numéro: Zwang G. Le remodelage de la vulve. L’exploitation d’une ignorance.

1  The beard, a handicap in hand-to-hand fighting, might have disappeared through evolution if men had not started shaving it off – as we see on Paleolithic faces – as soon as they learned to make cutting instruments. A rare but telling example of cultural intervention on natural selection processes.
2  In the domain of aesthetics, it our deep-seated conviction deems the effects of domestication “awful”. Konrad Lorenz, 1970.

© 2010  Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.
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