Dissertation Title:

Lilith’s Revenge: Adolescent Labiaplasty as Shame Response to Intrapsychic Eyes of Judgment


Julia Grant

Date, Time & Place:

May 26, 2022 at 10:00 am


This hermeneutic study utilizes an archetypal and mythopoetic lens to examine the phenomenon of adolescent labiaplasty, a plastic surgery procedure that has been increasing in recent years. The analysis applies the notion of shame that arises from developmental impingement, manifesting in intrapsychic judgmental eyes of a Terrible Mother complex, to an adolescent female’s motivation to arouse positive feedback about the appearance of her vulva. The Lilith archetype, as derived from mythologems of the 4,000-year-old Lilith she-demon, is discussed in relation to the psychological background of the phenomenon. The research suggests Lilith identification as a possible psychic constellation in adolescent females who actively self-sexualize and participate in cultural practices that may validate their vulvar appearance. Lilith archetypal patterns in hard and softcore pornography, sexting, hook-ups, and female attitudes toward cunnilingus are illuminated. Evidence is provided to make the argument that the history of vulva representations suggests cultural archetypal patterns that symbolize Lilith’s manifestation as witch. Through these analyses, adolescent labiaplasty is revealed as a potential response to both a personal and collective Lilith shadow that leads to objectification of the vulva, facilitating the idea that surgical intervention is a solution to psychological discomfort.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Jungian Archetypal Studies, ZZ, 2014
  • Chair: Dr. Safron Rossi
  • Reader: Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
  • External Reader: Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
  • Keywords: Adolescent Labiaplasty, Vulva, Lilith, Self-sexualization, Terrible Mother Complex