Clothing brands are turning women into Barbie dolls

Clothing brands are turning models into Barbie dolls: Retailers, including SHEIN and PLT, are being bombarded with swimsuits so skimpy they have to airbrush models’ private parts to advertise them.

  • Fast fashion giants are known for their ultra-skinny swimsuits
  • But buyers claimed to have airbrushed photos of models online
  • Customers say bold pieces can only be worn by Barbie, not real women
  • NHS gynecologist warns of the danger of unrealistic images for young women

Fast fashion giants such as SHEIN and PrettyLittleThing are facing backlash over images of their ultra skimpy swimsuits which have apparently been altered to make models look like Barbie dolls.

Known for their barely there bikinis with little more than an inch-wide strip of fabric covering the crotch area, many of their images appear to be modified and airbrushed to make the vaginal area “cleaner”.

As well as facing fan criticism on social media over the unrealistic images, an NHS gynecologist said such images were ‘harmful for young girls’ because “lips come in all shapes and sizes.”

For example, a SHEIN advertisement on Facebook for a “backless ring-tied one-piece swimsuit” garnered hundreds of amused comments, due to the model’s “missing lips”, with critics noting that the model looked like a Barbie doll.

One commented, “The extent to which they went to airbrush his private space is spectacular 10/10.”

Fast fashion retailers such as SHEIN (swimsuit pictured) are facing backlash for turning women into Barbie dolls, apparently airbrushing their genitals in pictures to advertise their ultra-skinny swimsuits

The Rhinestone Studded SXY One Piece Swimsuit from Shein features an extraordinarily narrow fabric band at the crotch and a thong bottom

The Rhinestone Studded SXY One Piece Swimsuit from Shein features an extraordinarily narrow fabric band at the crotch and a thong bottom

One user said “Do you get a free tube of Canesten with this?”

Another said ‘I swear brands do this for the clicks of rage because when you go to the site a lot of the models look nothing like this! I only see advertisements with their craziest articles.

One jokingly said, “One sneeze and away you go”, while another thought, “The bathing suit you can use to floss while you’re wearing it!”

One of them said, “I blew my nose on pieces of cloth bigger than that!”

The sparkly halterneck swimsuit that has been compared to a 'mankini' by UK Facebook users is attracting a lot of attention online.  Some say it's a marketing tool to get

The sparkly halterneck swimsuit that has been compared to a ‘mankini’ by UK Facebook users is attracting a lot of attention online. Some say it’s a marketing tool to get “rage clicks” and others say they “just wouldn’t wear it”

Facebook users were puzzled by the model's anatomy and how one would wear the sparkly garment.

Facebook users were puzzled by the model’s anatomy and how one would wear the sparkly garment.

NHS gynecologist Dr Ahmed El Ghazim told FEMAIL he was concerned about the impact of such images on young clients, agreeing the models did not look natural.

“The lips do not have a typical shape and these depictions are unrealistic,” he explained.

“Labia can be very long, and this includes outer and inner lips called labia minora and labia majora.

Experts fear young women are being given an unrealistic impression of what their bodies should look like, fueling a rise in inquiries about labiaplasty (Fashion Nova swimsuit pictured)

Experts fear young women are being given an unrealistic impression of what their bodies should look like, fueling a rise in inquiries about labiaplasty (Fashion Nova swimsuit pictured)

US e-tailer Fashion Nov's barely there swimsuit, featuring a rhinestone butterfly instead of fabric, recently went viral with shoppers commenting that the model might as well be nude

US e-tailer Fashion Nov’s barely there swimsuit, featuring a rhinestone butterfly instead of fabric, recently went viral with shoppers commenting that the model might as well be nude

What is labiaplasty?

According to the NHS, labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of the labia minora – the flaps of skin on either side of the vaginal opening.

This should not be done on girls under 18 as the labia continue to grow beyond puberty into early adulthood.

Some women want labiaplasty because they don’t like the way their lips look. But it’s completely normal to have visible skin folds around the opening of your vagina. In most cases this is no problem, which is why labiaplasty is rarely available on the NHS.

The procedure is often undertaken in private.

“It can be uncomfortable if the labia majora are extremely long, and that’s when a labiaplasty would be requested.”

He added that there had been an increase in the number of women seeking labiaplasty surgery for cosmetic reasons.

“We are now seeing more women having surgery to have the perfect vagina,” he said.

“Many women have come to me concerned about the shape of their lips and I suspect it has to do with social pressure and possibly pornography.

“Photos on fashion sites give young girls, in particular, an insecurity they don’t need about their bodies, because the shape of the vagina doesn’t affect functionality.”

However, despite efforts to diversify models, many swimwear and lingerie models are still clearly “lipless” on the sites.

In recent years, diverse bodies and genitals have been increasingly standardized by many brands in an effort to appear more authentic to consumers, but in contrast, aesthetic culture and homogenized beauty online have led to a significant increase in cosmetic surgery, and in particular labiaplasty.

The procedure involves “cleaning” the vaginal area, as many women struggle with confidence if they have long or deformed labia, both of which are totally normal and healthy.

A close shave: This black bikini, modeled on an enviable figure, appears to have a sheer band and a smooth underside area

A close shave: This black bikini, modeled on an enviable figure, appears to have a sheer band and a smooth underside area

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Michael O. Stutler