London Bridge Plastic Surgery ad labelled "irresponsible"

Labiaplasty ad criticised for making women think their bodies are abnormal

An ad promoting cosmetic surgery to alter the appearance of women’s labia has been ruled socially irresponsible by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The labiaplasty ad, published in UK newspaper London Metro, received five complaints surrounding the references it made to “a more natural appearance” and “enlarged labia”. The complainants questioned whether the ad was socially irresponsible encouraging women to be dissatisfied with their bodies and undergo surgery to ‘correct’ what they did not like the look of.

The clinic backed its ad, saying that an abnormally enlarged labia minor and majora could cause physical discomfort and psychological distress for women. It added that an enlarged or abnormal appearance could be caused by pregnancy and childbirth, as well as sports and hormonal changes. The clinic said it did not believe its ad was irreponsible and that the purpose of the ad was to let consumers know surgery exists that can help them do something about the condition, rather than be dissatisfied with their bodies.

However, the ASA upheld the complaints and said it understood it was natural and normal for a woman to have noticeable skin folds around the vaginal opening, and that appearances could vary widely. It stated that the wording that mentioned “a more natural appearance” implied that labia not operated on might be somehow ‘unnatural’ in appearance. As a result, the ASA ruled the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 on Social Responsibility and should not appear again in its current form.