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Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery

Deviance, Desire and the Pursuit of Perfection

Authors: Nurka, Camille

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  • Presents a wide-ranging history of the phenomenon, stretching back to the Ancients and up to the present day debates
  • Challenges the dominant explanation of female cosmetic genital surgery – known as the ‘pornography thesis’ 
  • Sheds light on a topic that has been attracting increasing attention within gender studies and feminist scholarship
  • Brings rich historical context to a practice that is often depicted as somehow unique to this era
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eBook £47.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96490-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £59.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96489-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Examining the fascinating history of female genital cosmetic surgery, Camille Nurka traces the origins of contemporary ideas of genital normality. Over the past twenty years, Western women have become increasingly worried about the aesthetic appearance of their labia minora and are turning to cosmetic surgery to achieve the ideal vulva: a clean slit with no visible protrusion of the inner lips. Long labia minora are described by medical experts as ‘hypertrophied,’ a term that implies deformity and the atypical. But how far back does the diagnosis of labial hypertrophy go, and where did it originate? Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery tells the story of the female genitalia from the alien world of ancient Greek gynaecology to the colonial period of exploration and exploitation up to the present day. Bringing together historical, medical, and theoretical documentation and commentary, Nurka uncovers a long tradition of pathologizing female anatomy, a history sure to be of interest to any reader who wishes to know more about how medicine shapes our commonly held ideals.  


About the authors

Camille Nurka, PhD, is a gender studies scholar living and working in Australia. She has taught as a sessional lecturer and tutor at a number of Australian universities and published widely on the politics of sexed embodiment. She is also a professional freelance copyeditor for academics in the humanities and social sciences.


Reviews

“In this deeply engaging and much-needed book Camille Nurka shows that labiaplasty—surgery designed to fix ‘hypertrophy of the labia minora’—is not a medical necessity but rather a cultural invention. Nurka skilfully deploys psychoanalytic, feminist, and philosophical theories along with medical, surgical, and scientific discourse as she examines the history of this much-debated surgical procedure. The book shows clearly how labiaplasty shares a continuum with other genital procedures such as intersex surgery and ritual female genital cutting. It explains a vital race/gender connection in situating labiaplasty’s history partly in colonial-anthropological studies of black women’s genitals. Finally, this excellent book powerfully demonstrates how labiaplasty is part of a continuing fantasy of heterosexual ‘normality’.” (Meredith Jones, author of Skintight: An Anatomy of Cosmetic Surgery)

“Camille Nurka has written a richly researched, beautifully located account of what I would call the ongoing ontological project of the vulva. She identifies and explores deep historical roots – including in sex(ist) and race(ist) science – that provide the foundation and basis for contemporary ideas of gendered genital normality and desirability, freakishness and pathology. These roots underpin the contemporary ‘truths’ and experiential realities, the logics, that produce contemporary desires for, and practice of, labiaplasty (and other genital cosmetic procedures on the vulva and vagina) as a solution to genital distress. Richly researched and diversely located in terms of scholarship, this book is, above all else, a fascinating and engaging read!” (Virginia Braun, Professor of Psychology, University of Auckland, New Zealand)


Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook £47.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96490-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £59.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-96489-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery
Book Subtitle
Deviance, Desire and the Pursuit of Perfection
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-96490-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-96490-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-96489-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVI, 268
Number of Illustrations
28 b/w illustrations
Topics