NHS Gynae Warns ‘Unrealistic’ Vulvas Advertised In Fast Fashion Could Lead To ‘Insecurities’

The swimwear for sale on some sites is frankly impossible for anyone with vulvas


by Marianna Manson |
Updated on

As if we didn’t have enough to contend with comparing our bodies to the hyper-photoshopped models forced down our throats at every turn online, fast fashion brands have set their sights on our private parts as they advertise swimwear modelled by women with seemingly non-existent genitals.

The brands in question – repeat offenders Shein and PLT – have been criticised on social media for portraying models who’ve not only had their cellulite and stretch marks removed, but also their entire vulvas as they pose in bikinis anatomically impossible to wear for anyone with sex organs.

Offending items include Shein’s 'backless ring linked one piece swimsuit' which features a thong back and fetching inch of fabric to the front which would struggle to hide the modesty of a Barbie Doll – a comparison which has been drawn by hundreds of commenters on a Facebook ad for the item in question.

One of the Shein swimsuits

But it’s not just outraged social media users that have expressed their disbelief – NHS gynaecologist Dr Ahmed El Ghazim said the images could prove harmful to young women who are already vulnerable to unrealistic advertising imagery.

'The labia doesn't have a typical shape and these representations are unrealistic,' he told MailOnline.

'We are now seeing more women coming in for surgery to get a perfect vagina. I've had many women coming to me concerned about the shape of their labia and I suspect it is to do with social pressure and possibly pornography.

'The pictures on fashion sites give young girls especially, an insecurity they do not need about their bodies, because the shape of the vagina does not affect functionality.'

Is nothing sacred anymore?

It’s not the first time fast fashion mega empire Pretty Little Thing has faced major backlash, most notably after former Love Islander Molly-Mae Hague was named Creative Director []{href='https://graziadaily.co.uk/celebrity/news/molly-mae-pretty-little-thing-fashion-week/] last summer with s' }last summer with seemingly no relevant qualifications or experience.

The appointment sparked widespread criticism online and a protest outside a London catwalk show in February of this year, fronted by fellow Love Island alumni Brett Staniland, who told Grazia at the time, ‘I've worked exclusively with either luxury high end or sustainable brands for the last few years, and I've distanced myself from fast fashion for quite a while. When the opportunity came up, that we could perhaps create some change and raise awareness around the bad practices of fast fashionand their unethical business model - I thought it'd be really good.

'With this cause, I'm drawn to the people who are exploited - sustainable fashion is about the planet, but I really have empathy towards the people within the story as they're often overlooked,' he added.

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