Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Designer Vaginas/ Simone Weil Davis

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In this article Davis challenges the practice of genital surgeries for women. She explores how the criteria that makes for a “good looking vagina” is portrayed in media such as pornography. Davis goes on to site how women feel that their privates are inferior and then are pressured to act upon that. She states that these feelings of inadequacy can not only root from a “domineering partner”, but from other women as well.

This article mentions two procedures that are often viewed as being very different: the American corrective/cosmetic labial modifications and the practice of African female circumcisions.  Davis states “Although consent is at the heart of the issue of genital operations on children, a topic both urgent and not to be downplayed, we must also look at the social and cultural means whereby consent is manufactured, regardless of age, in the West as well as in African and  other countries engaging in FGO’s.” I feel that this is an important point, because in both cases these women/children are looking to be accepted as normal, to conform to the society in which they live. This means that we shouldn’t look down on another society for letting their child undergo a genital procedure if our neighbor lady is getting some similar work done. Davis challenges us to view “both consent issues and vaginal modifications themselves [to] be considered on a continuum that is not determined along hemispheric, national, or racial lines.”


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