The black and white photos of those group of women who mimicked with their fingers the triangular shape of the vagina, are still impressed in the collective imagination. It was the seventies, the years of the protest against the established order. In this climate of yearning for dismantling each archetype and identity, including the biological one, the feminist movement climbed important steps towards the cultural success.
Cultured, socially active, belonging to a medium-high social class, the typical feminists, using certain vulgar gestures, used their education not to elevate themselves, but to express a wild regression. The intellectual effort was used to promote to the public the coarser and less feminine image of the woman.
On the other hand, the idea of woman produced by the sexual liberation invoked by feminists is the one of a coarse and unhappy one. It is the woman liberated by modesty, rebellious to the stereotype of the guardian of the hearth. It is the woman who, in the name of her self-determination, began to occupy the porn set. For a sort of heterogenesis of the purposes, feminism legitimized the woman-object.
And the effects are catastrophic. Certain pornographic models have penetrated the mind of the youth, by stimulating the most archaic parts of human instinct. The image of the woman has been transmitted to many adolescent males like an object onto which they can discharge their sexual impulses, even aggressive. But the consequences of this can be also seen on adolescent girls. The porno star, or at least the uninhibited and undressed girl, threatens to become an aesthetic model of inspiration.
A proof is given by a phenomenon that is spreading in the United Kingdom, and on which the BBC program Victoria Derbyshire show, shed some light. In a single year, over two hundred girls, minors and in some cases even under the age of nine years, were subjected to a surgery to change their vagina. One hundred and fifty of them are not yet fifteen.
Labiaplasy, which consists in a remodelling the lips of the vagina, is guaranteed by the national health service also for underage girls, prior medical authorization. In this way many of these small girls unsatisfied about their genitals, resort to a doctor claiming that their condition has consequences on the relationship with sport and sex. This complaint is enough to obtain permission to undergo the surgery at the State’s expenses.
The BBC interviewed a gynaecologist Naomi Crouch on this theme, who explained: “I find it very difficult that there are one hundred and fifty girls less than fifteen years old with such faults as to justify a surgery of this kind”. The gynaecologist considers rather than at the origin of the request there is an aesthetic dissatisfaction. “Girls – she said – often come out with comments such as ‘I hate it’ or ‘I would like to remove it’ and for a young girl it is very painful to feel this way”.
A statement echoed by her colleague Paquita De Zulueta, who has over thirty years of experience. “I happened to meet girls eleven, twelve, thirteen years old dissatisfied with their own vagina – explains the doctor -. They think that both measurement and shape are wrong. Sometimes they seem disgusted, they would like to have a small vagina like Barbie’s“.
The porn as a model
According to DR De Zulueta it is necessary to start afresh from the education of the new generations. Indeed, because many girls are conditioned by a flood of pornographic images to which they are subjected. “We should explain them – says the gynaecologist – that there is a distance between these images and reality,as we all have different faces, the same applies to our intimate parts”.
“Uncomfortable similarities” with genital mutilation
There is therefore a social, but also strictly medical alarm. DR Crouch focuses on this: “The law says that we should not perform these kinds of surgeries on developing organs.” And she added that the practice has “uncomfortable similarities” with female genital mutilation, which is prohibited in the United Kingdom.
The same organ that was mimicked with fingers and showed off as a symbol of freedom in the Seventies, for many girls today is a source of frustration.