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Large Labia Love

Women are constantly being judged for their outer beauty both by men and other women. As a culture, we dissect our favorite celebrities' weight (Is Jessica Simpson still packing on the pounds?) and our least favorite politicians' breasts (Did Sarah Palin get a boob job?). We scan Perez Hilton, Dlisted and TMZ to find out all the ugly things that happen to the Beautiful People. We know it's wrong, but still we judge and critique these people for what we see on the outside. We don't do it with male figures quite as much. Has anyone been talking about the fact that John Travolta looks like an old queen or that Nicolas Cage has lost a lot of hair?

But now this critique of how women look, or should look, has gone below the belt. Inside the pants and under the panties, there are even more ways to make a woman feel disfigured or just ugly. In this horrific link (NSFW), on "embarrassing bodies," the focus is on her lips, but not those upper ones that women plump up to look like Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson.

No, these are the lower lips, the labia, and they are being called disgusting and embarrassing when they are large or long. It explains that labiaplasty is the surgical procedure that "reduce[s] the inner labia" if it "undermines confidence, especially when it comes to relations in the bedroom."

Look, I know that we're not all model perfect. Trust me. I've grown up with body image issues. Yep, I've had them my whole life. My grandparents tried to bribe me to lose weight in fifth grade. My mother had her own "stuff" about being thin, which inadvertently got pushed on to me. I was chubby as a kid, and I still struggle with the ups and downs of being petite without being paper thin. I've talked about my issues with my breasts, or rather my large areola, and I still deal with looking at my less than model-perky-perfect boobage by regularly telling myself that it's all okay.

I'm not a fan of plastic surgery. I think that there's beauty in being human, in the shape and form we've been given to work with. And we can work with it. I do. I spin. I hike. I dance. I hoop. I work out with machines. I take care of my body because I want it to look hard and big and strong and sexy. And I get what happens as we age. I know, firsthand, that growing older is a drag, especially for women, so I can't say I'd never have any plastic surgery.

As for the labia, although you can work out your pelvic floor for stronger vaginal muscle control, you can't work out your labia. A woman either has to accept them as they are, or give in to the idea that they're not good enough and go under the knife. But before you alter yourself for whatever reason, I just want to go on record as saying that larger labia are hot. They're sexy. And they're normal, too. A LOT of women have them.

The issue is that when a woman sees a link like the one above, and isn't sure what's "normal," acceptable, or beautiful, she starts to question what she's got going on down below. And most women worried about what their labia look like haven't looked at a lot of other real women's labia either. Maybe they've seen some porn, but porn actors aren't the standard when it comes to real women. No, they're paid professionals, who spend a lot of their income making sure they look a certain way so that they can be, in the minds of the people who watch their porn, the perfect fantasy fuck.

The thing is, no one's idea of the perfect woman is the same. So even when a woman's look adheres to a Barbie standard of beauty, they're only appealing to a certain type of man, one who might be hooked on the shallowness of culturally accepted standards of physical perfection. (And, by the way, Barbie didn't even have labia.) If you really want to see vulva variety—and most women haven't, because why would they?—check out Femalia by Joani Blank.

But answer me this: are there websites suggesting that a man with an extremely low dangling ball sac should get a scrotum lift, or that a man with a small penis should cut some skin from his arm and add it to his rod? Why is plastic surgery recommended for a woman whose inner lips hang lower or flower fuller than her outer ones? And why do we celebrate when a man's penis is large and long, but when it comes to a woman's vulva, large and long are not at all good? Double standards are a bitch, or at least apply more to the bitches than bros, I suppose.

Maybe I can't understand this, because my labia have never been a cause for concern in my mind. Or maybe because I've seen my share of vulvas, and I know the variations that exist. Even when I relate it back to my feelings about my boobs, I still don't get it.

The girls writing deeply insecure comments on that website are worried that their boyfriends or fiancees will reject them for their large labia. This is actually a deeper issue. If someone only loves you for how you look, what kind of lasting relationship do you, or will you, have? And if you only love yourself for how you look, what's going on inside you?

In the end, large lips, small dicks, none of it matters. If labia surgery makes you feel like a winner; if a boob job makes you feel more confident, sexy and secure, then go ahead and inflate that ego. But if it's not going to really change how you feel about your true self, only how others perceive you, is it really worth the stress on your body and your mind?

Me thinks not.

And by the way, even the models (porn and not) aren't necessarily what they seem to be. The next time you want an authentic perspective of what a model really looks like, watch this video. It took a full day of shooting, over two and a half hours of video footage, and weeks of editing to make this minute-long clip that reveals more than words can say.

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Jamye Waxman
July 18th, 2010
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JamYe WaXman, M.Ed. has been dubbed "the nexxxt generation of sex educator" by Wired.com. WaXman, who has a Masters in sex education from Widener University, is a well-known and sought after...