Initial Post

What role, if any, do media play in shaping a woman’s self image regarding the appearance of her genitals?

  • Post your response to the discussion board by Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Respond to two other students’ postings by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET

Please write initial posts and respond to 2 peer posts below

Claudene D. Milner-initial post-please reply

Professor Petra Elliott

Human Sexuality

Does the media play a role in shaping a woman’s self-image regarding the appearance of her genitals? This is an interesting question. With the internet and the progression of what appears on television, the media does play a role in many things in our society. The discussion of genitals in a public forum has come a long way. Around 2006 when people made their schedule around the Oprah show some started calling their vaginas vajayjays because Oprah said it. I don’t think it was due to shame or anything other than it sounded fashionable. We also see so many discussions concerning genitals on the different house wives shows. I’ve seen the dialogue go from Brazil waxing too colonic cleansing. One might ask does the media play a role in a woman’s self-image, I would say yes. Most woman are very concerned with how their genitals appear. Some might have all the hair removed or even leave landing strips in various shapes. “Prior to the 1990s, removing public hair was primarily the practice of porn stars and exotic dancers, but it has become a grooming trend some mainstream women practice” (Crooks & Baur, 2017). Media plays a significant part of a woman’s self-image. Unfortunately, people want what they see others have. The labia and how to make it appear more symmetrical is another conversation that is on social media. Some magazines are airbrushing it to make it appear girl like and now grown woman want theirs to have the same appearance. “Increased exposure to internet, magazine, and film pornography in which the inner labia are frequently small or nonexistent may contribute to women’s belief that their labia should look different than they do naturally” (Crooks & Baur, 2017).

Yes the media might play a role in how woman perceive their genitals. However if a woman is surgically altering their genitals then I feel they need to do much research before doing so as to not alter the pleasure they receive from sexual experiences just to have a beautiful looking vagina.


Crooks, R. L. & Baur, K. (2017). Our sexuality (13th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Sara Initial post-please reply

Media’s role in women’s self image of her genitals

The media has role in how women feel about what their genitals appear to be. I will point out and discuss a few examples of how the media can possibly influence and sway self-confidence, specifically about women’s genitals.
I will, first, touch on the importance of a woman’s self confidence during her prime sexual ages. A positive self-appearance will lead to positive sexual esteem. If a woman feels her genitals are not of a desirable appearance it will most likely lead to negative sexual experiences.
Technological advances have provided increased public access to pornographic images, many of which reflect a narrow and unrealistic range of genital appearances (Braun & Tiefer, 2010; Davis, 2002; Green, 2005). Even more mainstream sexually explicit media images, such as those published in Playboy Magazine, idealize an exclusive set of genital attributes (Schick, Rima & Calabrese, 2010), despite the fact that there is considerable variability in the size, shape, and color of women’s vulvae across the general population (Lloyd, Crouch, Mino, Liao, & Creighton, 2005). A good example of a specific “look” that is common in film and magazines is fully shaved genitals. When women are constantly seeing models’ or actor’s genitals looking a certain way and that way only, they will more than likely start to think that their genitals do not look as they should.
There is another cultural phenomenon that is advertised publicly, to change the appearance of a woman’s genital appearance by getting plastic surgery. Marketing slogans range from, “achieve the perfect vagina” to “vaginal rejuvenation”. When a woman sees this she automatically starts to wonder why and what about her genitals needs changed.
In conclusion, the media projects to the public that females’ genitals should look one specific way and any other way should be changed. Hopefully the public understands that all women are different and therefore all women’s genitals are different in appearance. In reality, there is no normal one-way or the high-way appearance when it comes to the female genitalia.



Schick, V. R., Calabrese, S. K., Rima, B. N., & Zucker, A. N.,2010. Genital Appearance Dissatisfaction: Implications for Women’s Genital Image Self-Consciousness, Sexual Esteem, Sexual Satisfaction, and Sexual Risk. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34(3), 394–404. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2010.01584.x

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