Reading Lips: Exploring Emotive Responses to Labiaplasty

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Williams, Jenelle




Reading Lips focuses on emotional responses to bodily transformation, and how responses to bodies are shaped by being ‘orientated’ in particular ways. The form of transformation being focused on is labiaplasty, which is a surgical procedure that seeks to improve the aesthetic of the labia minora and majora. I argue that subjects who have considered and undergone labiaplasty are responded to in particular ways because of our social positions and facets of identity- which I refer to as ‘orientations’ -and that labiaplasty leaves ‘impressions’ on those who come into contact with it. I discuss
visceral responses of shame and disgust, and I focus on where and how empathy and agency are expressed and attributed to individuals who choose labiaplasty. I critically approach labiaplasty through a feminist lens while also incorporating lived experience with the procedure, as well as attending to the larger processes that shape responses to it.


SOCIAL SCIENCES Sociology General




Carleton University

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