or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lip Service

In case you may have deluded yourself into thinking that there may be a stray square millimetre of a woman's body that is not subject to aesthetic scrutiny and expensive reconstruction, this piece from Salon.com ought to set you straight. "Vaginal rejuvenation", which is to say "relatively painless and bloodless" laser surgery intended to make the pussy neater and tidier, is apparently an up-and-coming plastic surgery speciality. Rome fell for less.

While the aesthetic qualities of the female pudendum are really not in my brief, the proper use of the English language is, and while I'm going to valiantly resist sniping about the fact that the writer, Rebecca Traister, used "vagina" where she meant "vulva" (I've already complained about this, and I guess enough is enough), I sure am going to complain about these two paragraphs, straight from the press release quoted in the article:

Candidates for the Laser Vaginal Surgeries include women whose vaginal areas have stretched due to pregnancy or aging; women who want to increase their sexual pleasure; women who want their labial lips reduced, enhanced or re-shaped; women who want to reconstruct their hymen to its original form; women who have experienced vaginal trauma; women whose vaginal size is not totally compatible with their partner; and women who suffer from stress incontinence

Many women suffer silently because they are not pleased with their vaginal areas. Multiple pregnancies, aging and trauma often result in stretching which makes them physically and emotionally unhappy. This trademarked procedure enables Dr Jason to resculpt the vulvar structures, the labia lips to meet the aesthetics desires of the individual patient.

"Labial lips"? "The labia lips"? Jesus. Labia are lips, always and forever. Using the adjective "labial" to describe lips is like using "prognathous" to describe a jaw (a mistake I've also seen more than once) or, to be a little less abstruse, like saying "abdominal abdomen"; the noun being modified is already encapsulated within the adjective, so you can have a prognathous ("jut-jawed") face or even a prognathous person, but not a prognathous jaw. And you can't have labial lips, on your face or in your pants.


While poking around the word "labia", I thought of "labile", which means, depending on the context, "adaptable" or "unstable". Given the way language changes over time--is, in fact, labile--is it possible...? Could they be...?

Nah, they're unrelated, more's the pity. (So is "laboratory", which is, however, related to "labor"--a laboratory, originally Latin "laboratorium", was a place where work of any sort is performed, though now it's strictly a place where scientific work is performed.)


Post a Comment

<< Home