What is Normal?
Many women have similar concerns when looking at their genitals. Their concern is whether their vulva, outer labia, inner labia, and vagina are “normal”.
Then, here is the question.
- Which of the following is the “normal” appearance of the inner labia?
- Second question! What is the normal color of the inner labia?
Click to check your answer!
The answer is: “they are all normal”. One side of the inner labia could be longer or shorter, it could also be asymmetrical, darker, or lighter. There can be a lot of hair or less hair. These are all normal. Just like every snowflake is different, everyone’s external genitalia is different. Functionally they could be labelled as normal or abnormal, but abnormality can’t be distinguished by appearance.
What we think of as normal
There is no normal appearance of the vulva but there can be an appearance that we consider normal. However, in reality, a woman’s vulva is likely to be vastly different from such an ideal and this is normal.
- Unsure what the real vulva is
In 2017, doctors in Australia asked women between the ages of 18 and 21 what an “ideal” vulva looks like. They all picked a photo of the vulva that is “hairless” with “inner labia that does not protrude”. What’s fascinating is that what they defined as a “vulva” were all different. Most participants did not know where exactly the vulva is or the anatomy of the vulva.
As such, we do have a clear aesthetic standard of the vulva but often lack medical knowledge in comparison. Participants of this survey said that they were influenced by “the internet,” “pornography,” or “magazines.”
- Why do you want to correct it?
There may be some who want to correct their ‘completely normal’ genitals that have no functional issues. Everyone looks different but why do some feel satisfied whilst some don’t? The problem isn't the vulva, outer labia, or inner labia. It's somewhere else. It’s self-esteem.
According to numerous studies, women who want genital plastic surgery are more exposed to the media and advertisements, and these images become further internalized than for women who do not want genital plastic surgery. People who decide on the surgery “due to aesthetics” have very low satisfaction with their genitalia as well as low self-esteem. They especially had a tendency of consuming more pornography than average and this was pointed out as the main reason for their low self-esteem.
100 women and 100 shapes
Many doctors say that anxiety and complaints will easily be settled once we examine what is normal.than comparing your body to manipulated images presented by the media.
This is why women have started sharing their genitals online.
In order to show that if there are 100 women, there are also 100 different shapes, and they are all normal.
The Gynodiversity project is a website that collects photos of the vulva shared voluntarily by anonymous women and organizes them into panels. Here you can see that there are various forms of the “real” vulva that confirm the obvious and clear fact for us. That we all really look...quite distinctive. You and I are different, but this does not mean that we're wrong.