Two hundred young British girls between 9 and 15 have undergone surgery to modify their vagina.
I remember that when I was little, I dreamed of having a big kitchen like my mother’s. When she bought me a toy mini-kitchen, I began crying because it was fake, plastic, and tiny. I had gotten a Barbie kitchen with the pink windows, the un-openable oven, and the sink drawn on a sticker. But as a whimsical little girl with a love for all things big and grand, I wanted the full-size version! So my grandfather bought me pots — but not the plastic pots with the red saucer and orange fork. The real pots! With pans and lids! I was ecstatic; I thought someone had finally understood me.
Who knows how many people could tell you stories like mine.
This girl wants a castle, that one wants a vacuum cleaner, the other wants a horse, and another wants a mermaid tail like Ariel’s.
But I have never understood why a child would want to have a different vagina.
When I read a recent article in Vanity Fair titled “I want a vagina like Barbie’s,” I was shocked.
This was the subtitle: “In England, 200 girls, minors and in some cases, no more than 9 years old, have undergone surgery change their own vagina.”
Yes, you read that correctly. England. Nine years old. 200 girls. TWO HUNDRED.
Between 2015 and 2016, Vanity Fair tells us, at least 200 young girls, many of them still in elementary school, and more than half under 15, have applied to the English healthcare system for surgery on their vagina. In England, the National Health System does such surgeries only for medical reasons, not for aesthetic reasons.
“Girls know they will get the operation if they say their condition has consequences on their relationship with sports, sex. They know this is the button to press,” the article states.
The Victoria Derbyshire program, which is a BBC news show in England, provided the data and invited Dr. Naomi Crouch, director of the Society for Pediatrics and Gynecology for English teenagers, to discuss it. She expressed deep concern at the situation.
“Girls will sometimes come out with comments like, ‘I just hate it, I just want it removed,’ and for a girl to feel that way about any part of her body — especially a part that’s intimate — is very upsetting,” Dr. Crouch said.
Some experts point out that this “dysmorphia” is caused by children and teenagers’ overexposure to pornographic material, which is now very easy to access (all they need is a cell phone with an internet connection), free of charge, and can be viewed anonymously.
Maybe we do not realize how deadly pornography really is, how pervasive and violent it is. Especially when it is “inflicted” on children. There should be greater control and these sites should be closed. Parents should always be vigilant and block access to pornographic content on their tablets, PCs, and TVs. Parents should also urge teachers and after-school coaches to keep a closer eye on what the kids are watching.
Often a child’s first experience with porn is when it’s shown to them by a friend or a schoolmate. And it’s traumatic. As the Belgian sexologist Thérèse Hargot explains in the book A Sexually Liberated Youth… Almost, many kids’ first encounter with porn is an experience “inflicted on them by another, voluntarily or involuntarily. In these cases, images are imposed on a spirit that did not formulate the desire. It is a kind of rape, a rape of the imagination.”
Dr. Paquita de Zulueta, a gynecologist with over 30 years of experience, also commented on the trend: “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. Their perception is that the inner lips should be invisible, almost like a Barbie.”
An invisible vagina like Barbie’s. The world has gone crazy.
These distorted images cause such loneliness and confusion in our girls, and can lead them to reject their own femininity. Should girls and teens so young even be able to come up with phrases like that?
And isn’t it absurd that their parents cave to their demands instead of helping them deal with the real underlying issues? Isn’t it inconceivable and unhealthy for them to give their daughters permission to undergo surgery with all the risks involved? It’s almost if we were talking about getting a new mask for carnival or getting glitter nail polish.
And all this happens in modern England!
Something is very wrong when Charlie Gard’s parents were not able to bring him to the United States for treatment, but the parents of 9-year-old girls can bring their daughters to the hospital for vagina surgery.
It’s worth asking: what kind of society is pornography creating? What kind of an impact are these images having on our own children?
This article was originally published in the Italian edition of Aleteia and has been translated and adapted here for English speaking readers.