No More Cutting: Meet The Artist Making Paper Vaginas To Fight FGM
Body dissatisfaction in teenage girls is as involuntary as boners are for teenage boys: inevitable and unfortunate. But while there’s a simple solution to getting rid of a rogue hard-on, being unhappy with your appearance isn't as fun, and it's leading young women to seek out surgical interventions.
So many teens want to prune and shape their lady garden that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued guidance from its Committee on Adolescent Health Care about what to do when teenage girls ask for cosmetic genital surgery, so doctors can reassure patients that what you have between your legs is 100% normal.
In the last year alone there has been an 80% increase in the number of girls that requested labiaplasty since 2014 (from 222 girls to 400 girls) and a 2013 British report found the number of labial reductions on girls and women done by the National Health Service had increased fivefold over 10 years.
But while young women might want to cut and trim their vulvas out of dissatisfaction, there are almost 200 million women and girls around the world that have been unwillingly subjected to FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), according to the United Nations Population Fund.
Seeing a disturbing parallel between labiaplasty and FGM, British artist and director of Papersmith studio Mandy Smith created "No More Cutting": a project to raise awareness of FGM with the aim of ending the practice within a generation, but also empowering women to love their bodies (genitals included).
The UN recognises FGM as a human rights violation and was outlawed in the UK in 1985, and yet it still happens behind closed doors. Between January and March in 2016 alone, more than 1,200 cases of FGM were newly recorded in England.
Despite common belief, FGM is not always rooted in religious beliefs. The practice, which involves cutting (or completely removing) the labia and clitoris, stems from traditional notions of modesty and purity, and a desire to control women’s sexuality - in the most extreme cases, it's designed to make sex painful so that women are less promiscuous.
By Olivia Cassano, publish on 04/07/2016