Research Field: Psychology and Medicine
Body image issues have increased worldwide in the last few decades, and are affecting people of all ages. To try to fulfil the “ideal” body type, we may restrict the amount we eat, start going to the gym every day or even consider cosmetic surgery. Surprisingly, labiaplasty was the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery worldwide in 2017.
Dr Sharp’s research has investigated the factors underlying this increased demand for labiaplasty and the outcomes of this procedure. Her research showed that this genital “ideal” is promoted via images shown on the Internet and in pornography, which are likely to have been airbrushed to create a smooth genital surface. Her current research focuses on the treatment of women’s genital appearance concerns using a psychoeducational approach rather than a surgical one, as well as preventing the development of genital appearance concerns in younger girls.
Gemma’s enthusiasm for communication of science and her research has resulted in national television and radio interviews, including ABC Radio National, SBS Insight, and TEDx, she volunteers with mental health organisations, and mentors high school students with their research projects. Dr Sharp received her PhD from Flinders University in 2017, and is currently an NHMRC Early Career Fellow at Monash University, as well as a Clinical Psychologist Registrar.