Fast-fashion giants like SHEIN and PrettyLittleThing are facing a backlash over images of their ultra-skimpy swimwear that appear to have been edited to make women look like Barbie dolls.
Known for barely-there bikinis with little more than an inch-wide strip of material covering the crotch area, many of her images appear to be modified and airbrushed to make the vaginal area appear “tidier”.
In addition to being criticized by fans on social media for the unrealistic images, an NHS gynecologist says such images are “harmful to young girls” because “Labia come in all shapes and sizes.”
For example a SHEIN Facebook advertisement for A “backless, ring-tied swimsuit” has garnered hundreds of amused comments over the model’s “missing labia,” with critics noting that the model looked like a Barbie doll.
One commented: “The extent to which they have gone to airbrush their private space is spectacular 10/10.”
Fast-fashion retailers like SHEIN (swimsuit pictured) are facing a backlash for turning women into Barbie dolls, apparently airbrushing their genitals in images to promote their ultra-skimpy swimwear
Shein’s £7.99 SXY beaded swimsuit has an exceptionally narrow panel at the crotch and tanga bottoms
One user said, “Do you get a free tube of Canesten with this?”
Another said: “I swear brands do this for angry clicks because when you go to the site a lot of the models don’t look like it at all! I only see ads with their craziest items.’
One jokingly said, “One sneeze and it’s gone,” while another mused, “The swimsuit that lets you clean your molars while you’re wearing it!”
One said, “I blew my nose on bigger handkerchiefs!”
Likened to a ‘mankini’ by UK Facebook users, the glittering backless swimsuit is garnering a lot of attention online. Some say it’s a marketing tool to get “anger clicks,” and others say they “just wouldn’t wear it.”
Facebook users were amazed at the model’s anatomy and how the glittering garment would wear.
NHS gynecologist Dr. Ahmed El Ghazim told FEMAIL he has concerns about the impact such imagery has on young customers, agreeing that the models do not look natural.
“The labia has no typical shape and these depictions are unrealistic,” he explained.
“The labia can be very long, and this includes the outer and inner labia, known as the labia minora and labia majora.
Experts fear that young women are being given an unrealistic picture of what their bodies should look like, leading to a surge in requests for labiaplasty (Fashion Nova swimsuit pictured).
US e-tailer Fashion Nov’s barely-there swimsuit, which features a rhinestone butterfly instead of fabric, recently went viral when shoppers commented that the model might as well be nude
What is Labiaplasty?
According to the NHS, labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of the labia minora – the flaps of skin on either side of the vaginal opening.
It should not be performed on girls under the age of 18 as the labia continues to develop beyond puberty into early adulthood.
Some women want a labiaplasty because they don’t like the way their labia look. However, it is perfectly normal to have visible skin folds around the opening of your vagina. In most cases it doesn’t cause any problems, which is why labiaplasty is rarely available on the NHS.
The procedure is often done privately.
“It can be uncomfortable if the labia majora is extremely long, and then one would opt for labiaplasty.”
He added that the number of women wanting labiaplasty for cosmetic reasons has increased.
“We’re now seeing more women coming in for surgery to get a perfect vagina,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of women come to me about the shape of their labia and I suspect it has to do with social pressures and possibly pornography.
“Images on fashion sites, especially young girls, convey an insecurity that they don’t need about their bodies because the shape of the vagina doesn’t compromise functionality.”
Despite efforts to diversify models, many swimwear and lingerie models on the sites are still clearly “labialess”.
In recent years, various bodies and genitals have been increasingly normalized by many brands in order to appear more authentic to consumers, but the contrast between aesthetic culture and homogenized beauty on the Internet has led to a significant rise in cosmetic surgery, and labiaplasty in particular.
The procedure involves a “beautification” of the vaginal area, as many women struggle with self-confidence when they have long or deformed labia – both perfectly normal and healthy
A close shave: This black bikini, modeled on an enviable figure, appears to have a transparent stripe and a smooth bottom