LIFESTYLE

'Designer Vagina' Surgery Advert Banned For Implying Women's Genitals Are 'Unnatural'

The advert is 'irresponsible'.

11/05/2016 13:59

An advert for 'designer vagina' surgery has been banned for suggesting that women's bodies might be "unnatural".

The ad, from the London Bridge Plastic Surgery clinic, suggested that women could "achieve a more natural appearance" by having labia surgery, also known as labiaplasty.

Despite it also suggesting that women could have surgery for health reasons - to "relieve the discomfort caused by enlarged labia" - the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the overall message was "irresponsible". 

They said it implied that a pre-surgery labia might somehow be "unnatural" in appearance.

Richard Cummins via Getty Images

The advert was first published in The Metro on 9 February.

Five people made complaints saying that the references to "a more natural appearance" and "enlarged labia" were socially irresponsible and encouraged women to be dissatisfied with their bodies.

In response to the complaints, London Bridge Plastic Surgery said the ad was for labiaplasty - a specialist plastic surgery procedure to reduce the size of and reshape the labia minora (inner lips) and labia majora (outer lips).

According to the company, an abnormally enlarged labia minora and majora "could be a source of physical discomfort and psychological distress for women".

They said the women undergoing such cosmetic surgery did not consider it to be unnecessary surgery and that they had lived in discomfort and were self-conscious about their condition.

As a result it did not believe the advert was socially irresponsible.

The Metro added that it considered the ad suitable for their readership of young professionals with disposable income and who would "not take offence" to this type of ad. 

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After taking everything into account, ASA said the advert was socially irresponsible and said it must never appear again in its current form. 

It wrote: "The ASA understood that it was natural and normal for a woman to have noticeable skin folds around her vaginal opening and, in most cases, this shouldn't cause any problems.

"It was also natural for the labia minora to vary widely in appearance. We considered that the description of labiaplasty as achieving 'a more natural appearance' implied that the pre-surgery labia might be somehow ‘unnatural’ in appearance.

"We considered that it was irresponsible to imply that any part of a person’s body was not natural in appearance, including because it could encourage them to be dissatisfied with their body, regardless of whether or not it encouraged them to undertake cosmetic surgery."

ASA concluded: "The ad must not appear again in its current form."

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