Tuesday, 4 July 2017

News Rant: Girls as young as 9 are having unneeded labiaplasty, why and what can be done about it?

I know that this is usually a blog about Video Games and other forms of entertainment, but every so often I have looked at news or polotics when I feel it is important to do so, if you are only here for the Games etc and want to skip this post out then rfeel free I wont hold it against you, but I just felt this topic was important.

OK so I wanted to take a look at a few things in the news that had made me just stop and feel the need to rant, this was supposed to be a piece where one by one I tackled various pieces of news and the issues I had with them but then I read one piece and I just couldn't write about anything else. I read the news that apparently Girls as young as nine are opting to have surgery on their well for want of a better term private area. Doctors have apparently said that this is because of body insecurities and they have claimed that these insecurities stem from social media and pornography.

Now I know you might think that I found this article in some uninformed rag but I actually read about it in the Independent. Naomi Crouch, a leading adolescent gynaecologist, talked to the BBC and told them that she is concerned GPs are referring young girls for unneeded labiaplasty(This is  an operation where the lips of the vagina are shortened or reshaped). She said that she is yet to see a young girl who needs the operation and feels that they are getting the operation when it is completely unnecessary, this is not just her opinion Paquita de Zulueta, a GP for more than 30 years, agreed with Crouch’s concerns, also mentioning that this was a modern problem, I feel I should include the following quote from her as its important “I'm seeing young girls around 11, 12, 13 thinking there's something wrong with their vulva - that they're the wrong shape, the wrong size, and really expressing almost disgust,”. I dont know about anyone else but I am deeply troubled by the concept of anyone as young as 11, 12 or 13 looking at any part of themselves physical or emotional and feeling disgust. If a person can so easily learn to hate a part of themselves at such an early point in there life then it is utterly terrifying to picture where this individual might end up, how they might feel about themselves when they are another 10 or 20 or even 40 years older. It has been proven that the emotional scars from bullying can last for a horrific amount of time and that's when its people you can potentially escape trying to rip you to pieces, what about when you have been trained to rip yourself apart emotionally and mentally from the inside?

It is believed that this phenomena is down to  pornography and social media leading to girls having an incorrect idea of how things should look, meaning that people are having the operation out of a fear that the bits they have simply look wrong instead of because they have an actual medical abnormality. A lot of people will probably be shocked by this whole news piece for lots of reasons least of which is the fact that girls from as young as 9 are seeing pornography. All of us want to think that children are innocent, we want to see 9 year olds as playing with My Little Pony and we like to think that they don't have to deal with anything serious, we would like to think the most serious question that enters there mind is should they ask for chocolate or strawberry milk but the worlds not like that anymore and maybe it never truly was. You might be able to keep your kid away from things but other kids will see things and then talk to your kid, as a parent you kind of need to be ready to tackle any question or worry your child might have and this can be a very challenging situation with many parents preferring to try to bury there heads in the sand.

In 2015-16, more than 200 girls under 18 had labiaplasty on the NHS, with more than 150 of these girls being under 15. Now several plastic surgeons have come out to try and say that there is nothing wrong with this and people have a right to seek help to change how they look if it makes them feel uncomfortable, but lets face it this sort of thing keeps them in work so there opinion is hardly a none biased one. The biggest issue is that this is most likely just the tip of the iceberg, I don't see this problem going away anytime soon in fact I would expect the figures to get worse and worse.

What can I say other than its just another troubling sign of the way our world is. People are so media saturated now days peoples opinions are shaped by it without them even realising it, there fears are magnified by it. A great many people are simply so brainwashed by a photoshoped celebrity reality that when they look in the mirror no matter how they look they will see something which does not match this glossy image they have been sold. People will buy all manner of face creams, toothpastes and dieting pills to try and match the blueprints they have been given by the media and when this proves futile they will look at even more drastic measures like starvation diets and plastic surgery and this is just made all the more worrying by the fact that children are now exhibiting this behaviour. The real troubling thing is that children seem to be falling even deeper down the rabbit hole, they cant remember a time before the information overloaded world we live in now, the TV, Internet and Magazines brainwash them and they look to us and in a great many cases they see an almost equally brainwashed larger version of themselves uncomfortable in there own skin, crushed by the weight of everything desperate to fit some ever changing concept of perfection.

It is easy to point at problems, to say that something is wrong and that it needs to change, but it is far more complex to actually do something about it. I may hold a degree in Social Science and have a background relating to child development but this does not mean that I hold all of the answers, this is after all a very large and complex problem and I doubt anyone person could wave a magic wand and sort it out, but I do feel that the first few things that need to happen is for awareness of this situation to be raised and for a discourse to get underway, people need to know about it and they need to talk about it only then can we start to look for ways to tackle it.

A few easy points for consideration are that we as individuals need to think about the way we talk about ourselves in front of children. Are you always mentioning your own weight or unhappiness with your looks in front of children? If so then maybe you need to stop and think that you are in fact adding and structurally enhancing a culture of criticism. Now I am not saying that its wrong for you to want to shed a few pounds or to live a healthier life style but you don't want to perpetuate the idea that your looks make you any more or less important as a person, children pick up on far more than most people would imagine, emotionally beating yourself up in front of one can send the message that its OK to do this. I think we also need to start complimenting the youth of today on none physical attributes, for example there compassion for others, or there sense of humour , we need to teach people and teach them from an early age that there is far more to being a person than simply how you look.We have a hard road to walk and many challenges to face if we want society to be less superficial and if we want young people to be free to be who they are without constantly questioning if there normal but if any road is worth walking its this one.

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