What you see in magazines and pornography


Have you ever looked at a picture of a vulva in a magazine and wondered if your vulva is completely different from everyone else’s? 

In Australia, images of women’s genitals that appear in magazines like Cosmo and Cleo (even in sealed sections and M rated pornography) need to comply with the Guidelines for Classification of Publications. In practice, the Classification Board requires that the labia minora and clitoris are airbrushed out of photographs - apparently they are just too rude for us to see! However, pictures of penises are allowed to stay - no airbrushing required. Even people who have worked in magazine publishing, like Mia Freedman, have talked about how ridiculous this is.

If this annoys you as well, tell the Classification what you think of it.

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Images that appear in pornography are altered by airbrushing, so it’s not a great yardstick to use to get an idea of what a healthy genitals look like. Porn stars themselves often have labial surgery too, so what you’re seeing isn’t necessarily natural. Our photo gallery will give you a better idea of what vulvas actually look like.

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