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These 'Barbie Pussy' labiaplasty ads have been banned from Instagram

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Emily Reynolds
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A collection of Instagram adverts promoting “designer vagina” labiaplasty has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). 

All Dolled Up, a cosmetic surgery firm, had been advertising an £1000 discount on their “Barbie Pussy” labiaplasty treatment – surgery that reduces the size of the labia minora. The picture – of a naked young woman – was accompanied by a sparkling heart emoji. 

The ASA upheld the complaint, saying the term ‘Barbie’ was “likely to be understood by consumers as a reference to both the toy doll and to achieving physical ‘perfection’”. 

“We considered that the phrases “Barbie pussy”, “perfect pussy” and “designer vagina” presented the procedures as aspirational, fashionable, and a way to achieve a ‘perfect’, more attractive vagina,” it explained. ” Given the nature of the procedures we further considered that the phrases risked encouraging women to view their labia and vagina as abnormal.”

“We also considered that the presentation of the phrase “Barbie Pussy” with the accompanying hashtag and emoji was likely to appeal especially to young women and teenage girls.”

Other product names and descriptions – which included ‘peachy package’, ‘camera ready’ and ‘itzy-bitzy waist’ – were also considered to be “flippant” and to “minimise the invasiveness…of procedures offered”. 

The All Dolled Up advert, now banned by the Advertising Standards Authority

Demand for so-called “designer vagina” surgery has increased over the last few years. In the US, demand for labiaplasty has increased 283% since 2015. 

In June, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show revealed that girls as young as nine are seeking surgery on their genitals “because they are distressed by its appearance”. Dr Naomi Crouch, an adolescent gynaecologist, said that she had never seen a girl who needed the operation. 

“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,” she said. 

And GP Paquita de Zulueta told the BBC that she had seen girls as young as 11 “thinking there’s something wrong with their vulva”.

“Their perception is that the inner lips should be invisible, almost like a Barbie, but the reality is that there is a huge variation. It’s very normal for the lips to protrude,” she said. 

“There isn’t enough education and it should start really quite young, explaining that there is a range and that - just as we all look different in our faces - we all look different down there, and that’s OK.”

(Image: iStock)

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Emily Reynolds

Emily Reynolds is a journalist and author based in London. Her first book, A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind, came out in February 2017 with Hodder & Stoughton. She is currently working on her second.  

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