by Dr Amelia Stephens
Recently, I was talking to a friend about preparing for a self-care event that she was due to speak at as part of her work role on that day. She was admonishing herself for leaving things to the last minute, and feeling the tension of not being as prepared as she would otherwise have liked. The lack of pre-preparation now meant that she felt ‘squeezed’ into doing things within a certain timeframe, which I am sure we can all relate to.
by Dr Amelia Stephens
An article recently published in the Medical Journal of Australia showed the increased frequency of vulvoplasty in New South Wales, Australia (1). The intention of the study was to look at potential complications following this procedure and outcomes of the women who had the procedure done related to births following. What was interesting about this study, was seeing how the rates of vulvoplasty have increased, not only in Australia, but in other countries such as the U.K and U.S.A since the early 2000s. So from here, we need to ask a few questions. One you may be asking, rightfully so, is – what on earth is vulvoplasty?
What is vulvoplasty?
Vulvoplasty is an operation that changes the shape of the vulva, the external part of a woman’s genitals. It can be done for the purpose of correcting anatomical malformations that women are born with, that may affect their function or quality of life significantly, or, assisting with correcting scarring or malformation resulting from female genital mutilation. You may have heard the term ‘designer vagina’ and this is also associated with vulvoplasty. Strictly speaking, the vulva is a different anatomical location to the vagina, but it is common for the two to be considered the same thing.
‘Designer vaginas’, and vulvas, have become a more common cosmetic procedure, and as this study shows – it appears the incidence is increasing. As one could appreciate, this area of a woman’s body is quite sensitive, so undergoing surgery would be considerably painful at times.
So why are women lining up to have this procedure done?
Last night I attended a monthly presentation & discussion group for women, where the theme was ‘Breast Care Awareness’. This month, October, is Breast Cancer Awareness month – which you may be familiar with as there are many initiatives and events on with this theme. The event that I attended offered a very different approach in the way breasts are currently viewed and discussed. There are many breast awareness campaigns that assist women in being aware of and detecting changes in their breasts, due to the very high prevalence of breast cancer in our society today.
There is still debate in medical circles about whether women should be examining their breasts, and how often/when GPs should be offering breast examination, due to the risk of causing ‘false alarm’ or causing harm from investigating lumps that may never cause concern. Likewise, there is controversy about breast screening programs (usually mammogram), and whether they are picking up too many early cancers that would otherwise have resolved, without invasive testing/treatment. From this couple of sentences alone – and no doubt what we see in the media from day to day, we can see that much of the conversation today about breasts is centred on breast cancer.
Whilst this is a very important conversation to continue having, there is also further for us to go in how we view and discuss women’s health on the whole. (more…)
Misogyny means the hatred of women and the word as we know it in the English language is derived from the Greek ‘misos’ meaning hatred and ‘gyny’ relating to women, and can also be related to the female physicality expressed through the ovaries, womb (uterus) and cervix.
There is a culture of misogyny that runs deep and wide across our globe. It can be expressed differently depending on the location or nationality, but essentially women the world over are abused on a moment to moment basis which displays this clear hatred and complete lack of love, decency and respect. How and why does this abuse occur? (more…)