The contribution of online content to the promotion and normalisation of female genital cosmetic surgery: A systematic review of the literature

Mowat, Hayley, McDonald, Karalyn, Dobson, Amy Shields, Fisher, Jane and Kirkman, Maggie (2015) The contribution of online content to the promotion and normalisation of female genital cosmetic surgery: A systematic review of the literature. BMC Women's Health, 15 . doi:10.1186/s12905-015-0271-5


Author Mowat, Hayley
McDonald, Karalyn
Dobson, Amy Shields
Fisher, Jane
Kirkman, Maggie
Title The contribution of online content to the promotion and normalisation of female genital cosmetic surgery: A systematic review of the literature
Journal name BMC Women's Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1472-6874
Publication date 2015-11-25
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/s12905-015-0271-5
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 15
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background
Women considering female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) are likely to use the internet as a key source of information during the decision-making process. The aim of this systematic review was to determine what is known about the role of the internet in the promotion and normalisation of female genital cosmetic surgery and to identify areas for future research.

Methods
Eight social science, medical, and communication databases and Google Scholar were searched for peer-reviewed papers published in English. Results from all papers were analysed to identify recurring and unique themes.

Results
Five papers met inclusion criteria. Three of the papers reported investigations of website content of FGCS providers, a fourth compared motivations for labiaplasty publicised on provider websites with those disclosed by women in online communities, and the fifth analysed visual depictions of female genitalia in online pornography. Analysis yielded five significant and interrelated patterns of representation, each functioning to promote and normalise the practice of FGCS: pathologisation of genital diversity; female genital appearance as important to wellbeing; characteristics of women’s genitals are important for sex life; female body as degenerative and improvable through surgery; and FGCS as safe, easy, and effective. A significant gap was identified in the literature: the ways in which user-generated content might function to perpetuate, challenge, or subvert the normative discourses prevalent in online pornography and surgical websites.

Conclusions
Further research is needed to contribute to knowledge of the role played by the internet in the promotion and normalisation of female genital cosmetic surgery.
Keyword Female genital cosmetic surgery
Systematic review
Internet
Labiaplasty
Women's health
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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