By now regular readers would be familiar with SBS’ Friday night ‘naughty slot’.
At 10pm Fridays it frequentlyshowcases documentaries that are either sexy, sexual, sexually-liberating or of an acquired sexual taste. Given that we’ve previously had The Search for the Perfect Penis, now it’s time to redress the gender imbalance.
Welsh TV presenter Lisa Rogers is host for this mission, best known for The ScrapHeap Challenge – a title which I’ve resisted punning here. She wants to determine why so many British women are turning to cosmetic surgery to improve the aesthetics of their genitals. In the past five years there has been a 300 per cent increase in labiplastys.
Many women, we are told, want to return to the simplicity of a vagina resembling that of a child. One aesthetician says Brazilian waxes boomed after Sex and the City (television is always to blame). Few understand a staggering array of differences amongst their gender. Pivotal to it all is a misconception that vaginas seen in porn literature are typically ‘natural.’
For this bold mission, Rogers goes where, presumably no woman has gone before. “I’m trying to understand why a growing number of women seem to hate their vaginas,” she says. She looks at the issue from multiple angles, literally – expect to hear the phrase “fufu” a lot.
We meet a teenage girl who undergoes labiplasty because her sister had ridiculed her genitals. Rogers is appalled by the lengths a brave, and frankly, committed subject, will go to in order to restore self-esteem. All this for an area “nobody ever sees”.
There are opinions from surgeons, a group of senior women, a self-help women’s club who analyse their own (seriously), and she even gets two blokes who are renovating her home to fess up on what constitutes a respectable vagina (they are pretty offensive).
The most staggering subject is a faceless Muslim girl who regrets having sex with a boy she thought loved her and now wants her hymen restored because the knowledge she is no longer a virgin is “worse than death”. It profoundly moves Rogers to tears.
Through it all, Rogers is endearingly coy in confronting and exposing her own body parts, yet the cameras are happy to discreetly include others. Ironically, it actually adds to the depth of this most taboo of subjects.
The Perfect Vagina airs 10pm tonight on SBS ONE.