Racism also affects health and healthcare access. Considering racism as a determinant of health outcomes is an important step in setting research agendas and achieving change from individuals, health services and organisations.
The other major topic we are dealing with is that of Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery. This is a thorny topic as of course AFMW recognises the autonomy of women and upholds the right of adult women to choose to undergo lawful medical and surgical treatments. However, this area is difficult. Problems arise in the area of what makes up informed consent, as do boundaries regarding advertising or promotion of regulated health services in a way that directly or indirectly encourages their indiscriminate or unnecessary use. There are also the seductive but unproven allegations of enhancing female sexual satisfaction and/or ‘attractiveness’. Such surgery carries significant risks of physical and psychological harm to women and girls. Naturally the use of gynaecological and plastic surgical techniques where the primary aim is to repair or reconstruct normal female anatomy following trauma, harmful traditional practices, pathologic processes or congenital anomalies is totally legitimate. Another concern is media depictions that directly or indirectly promote a prepubescent appearance of female genitalia as sexually desirable. The media carries images that directly or indirectly promote abnormal perceptions of the appearance of normal female adult genitalia, for example digital manipulation to remove visible labia minor or indeed, the porn industry’s promotion of a single type of ‘look’. How to provide education regarding the wide diversity of the appearance of normal female genitalia is a challenge.
The position statement regarding Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery will be circulated in this newsletter and presented to members for formal acceptance at the AFMW Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The AGM will be held at 1830 Saturday 17 November at Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne. All AFMW members are welcome to the AGM (and your State subscription includes your AFMW membership) and observers are also welcome to come to the weekend AFMW Face-to-Face Council Meeting that runs over the Saturday and Sunday. This will also be held at Cabrini. We are combining with the VMWS for an exciting pre-AGM seminar on eHealth. We are also preparing a comprehensive AFMW Annual Report which will be emailed out to you either by AFMW or your State Committee (depending on each State’s arrangement with AFMW) after the AGM and will be available on our website.