As a popular daytime lifestyle programme, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby’s This Morning often touches on an array of issues – from the controversial, to the emotional, the newsworthy and the downright ridiculous.
But yesterday, the programme found itself at the centre of a controversial topic – designer vaginas. And no, we’re not talking about the use of sequins to bedazzle your private parts, as made famous by The Only Way Is Essex.
On Wednesday 20th September’s episode of This Morning, Phil and Holly welcomed on to the show a doctor who brought with her a probe that can be used to ‘tighten’ and ‘improve the appearance’ of your vagina.
They also featured a woman named Annie Wardle, who was keen to have the procedure in order to, in her words, help her vagina return to what it used to be. The segment first saw the doctor showing Phillip the vaginal laser probe treatment, and then turned to Annie, who was having the probe inserted to her by a clinician, showing the treatment live on air.
Some viewers immediately took offence to the show, with some claiming that it was an inappropriate thing to be shown on daytime TV, while others took issue simply with the outlandish concept of a designer vagina.
However, it seems that while the segment certainly received a mixed reaction over on social media, there are actually some rather more serious issues at play with the idea of a designer vagina as displayed on This Morning.
First off, it seems as though the doctor on the programme herself wasn’t entirely convinced about the safety of the product. Talking to Phillip, she admitted that the tool wasn’t even yet available on the NHS, confessing that we’re “a long way” from that yet.
She said, “It appears to be safe, and does work for cosmetic appearance, for some tightening.”
“But whether it works for these claimed medical reasons, such as incontinence and prolapse, there is yet to be enough research.
And discussing whether it would be made available on the NHS, she said “I think we’re a long long way away from that. “
Similarly, it’s clear that the effects of the laser treatment are actually not yet known – and so advising it as a solution to a ‘less than attractive’ vagina could even be harmful.
Myra Robson, leading senior pelvic floor physiotherapist at Lewisham and Greenwich Trust, talking to The Pool, revealed that the device is actually being sold as something it’s not.
Discussing the fact that there is no medical research to back up its safety, she explained, “Not only that, but they’re telling women that it’s not a surgical treatment and yet, when you read about it, what it does is make tiny micro-tears to the vaginal tissue.
“When they heal into scar tissue, they cause shrinkage. That is surgery on a microscopic scale.”
She continued, “And with what long term effects? There’s absolutely no evidence. In ten years’ time, who’s to know what problems might arise with this treatment? There are many issues to consider. We know that black women are more prone to keloid scarring (scars that develop after minor skin damage), for instance, which could turn out to be problematic with this treatment.”
Similarly, an issue with body image in regard to the laser device and designer vaginas also arises. The doctor live on This Morning addressed the issue that changing our appearances in this way might be damaging, saying, “But, the question is, should we really be aiming to change what we look like on the outside?”
And some commenters have pointed out that Holly Willoughby’s arguably dismissive response to this issue could be damaging. In response to the doctors question, she simply said, “Love the skin you’re in”, before quickly moving on to talk about how many more treatments Annie would need in order to achieve the “desire effect”.
So should we really be looking to change the appearance of our vagina in this way – and with something that is still not confirmed as 100% medically safe? It seems that this is a question that still very much needs answering…