Social Justice Research

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 318–348 | Cite as

Self-Objectification, System Justifying Beliefs, and the Rise of Labiaplasty

  • Caroline E. DroletEmail author
  • Anne M. Drolet


Labiaplasty, an invasive surgical procedure that reduces the size of the labia minora, has dramatically increased in popularity, particularly among adolescent and young adult women in Western cultures. To understand this increase, we examined two possible underlying factors: self-objectification and system justifying beliefs. In Study 1, we predicted that system justifying beliefs would moderate the relationship between self-objectification and the desire to undergo labiaplasty. In Study 2, we also examined the unique role of labia-specific surveillance. Moreover, we predicted that system justification would be related to differences in the labia lengths that were considered normal versus desirable. In both studies, system justifying beliefs moderated the effect of self-objectification on dissatisfaction with one’s labia and consideration for getting a labiaplasty, but the nature of this effect was different for general indicators of self-objectification and labia-specific surveillance.


Labiaplasty Cosmetic surgery Self-objectification System justification 



This research was supported in part by Michigan State University’s Graduate Student Research Enhancement Award and Brock University. We would also like to thank Elvira Prusaczyk and Carolyn Hafer for all of their feedback and advice.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.College of Human MedicineMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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