The Perfect Vagina-A Film Review
The need to improve our bodies, (become thinner, develop a more toned physique, remove the gray from our hair, etc.), has existed, and will more than likely continue to exist, until the human race is able to eliminate all pre-conceived ideals of beauty from our culture. This quest to reach physical perfection has finally achieved an all time-low; In our modern day society cosmetic surgery now allows for women to improve, or rather, change the appearance of their genitalia. Labiaplasty reduces the size of the labia minora, giving the vagina a smoother and more tucked-in appearance. A documentary filmmaker by the name of Lisa Rogers set out to not only investigate this and other similar practices but to, hopefully, get to the bottom of why people are going to such extremes to please others. The resulting film, ( The Perfect Vagina), gives a unique perspective on the human race’s ever increasing desire to look our best.
Filmmaker Lisa Rogers is determined to learn more about the growing trend of labiaplasty and why so many women in her native U. K. are turning to this avenue to improve the look of their vaginas. Throughout her journey she meets with medical professionals who’ve performed the procedure and women who utterly hate the appearance of their parts. Determined to somehow start a ripple of awareness, Rogers reaches out to three specific women in the hopes that she can bring them to love their bodies before it’s too late. Of the three, Rogers is unable to save one woman; a young girl named Rosie. Even after meeting with Rosie for a one-on-one interview Rogers cannot prevent her from going through with her previously scheduled procedure. Rosie, who had suffered teasing from both her sister and various male friends, has decided to go under the knife in the hopes that she will no longer be made fun of for her large labia minora. Rogers is given permission to record Rosie’s operation; a sight that’s sure to cement itself within the minds of viewers for quite some time. Towards the end of the film Rogers takes things on step further and delves into the controversial realm of cosmetic surgery from the religious perspective. In Muslim culture, men are discouraged from marrying a woman who is not a virgin. Therefore, women who have lost their virginities prior to being married are secretly getting their hymens reconstructed. Rogers follows one of these girls on a pre-op appointment, only to find herself in tears after the meeting ends.
Rogers goes into the filmmaking process with an already negative view of labiaplasty and other related procedures. While most viewers probably have the same feelings as Rogers, by beginning her film already against its subject matter she sets herself up to create a biased creation. Rogers also neglects to consider the alternative reasons why women opt to have their labias trimmed. There are some women who claim that they can’t wear flattering clothing because their labias are too large, which induces chaffing and other issues. In such cases, it’s mildly understandable why someone would choose to undergo labiaplasty. Though these women are still citing a reason that’s rooted in cosmetics they are not opting for surgery solely to please someone else; women who choose to have their labias trimmed so that they can have more clothing options available to them are choosing surgery for themselves, not someone else.
Aside from her limited take on the subject matter, Rogers covers what she chooses to address in a matter that balances professionalism and personal connection. Rogers invites her interviewees to become her friends without forgoing any, or very little, journalistic integrity. She puts herself directly into the shoes of her participant without revealing her own vagina to the world.
Though the film focuses primarily on problems plaguing women in the U. K., it still sheds light on an ever-growing problem: Cosmetic surgery has greatly surpassed any of our expectations, the results of which need to be stopped before they can continue to plague our society.