For all the lust and poetic worship that (male-dominated) society has dumped on female bodies over the centuries, an even greater amount of shame has been drilled into women about those same bodies. Making matters worse, much of this shame can be attributed to our collective (American) aversion to discussing genitals —particularly female ones — in anything but the vaguest and/or most derogatory of terms. It's no wonder that many women have a less-than-positive relationship with their anatomy.
Thankfully, some dedicated vagina warriors are fighting the good fight, promoting pride with a number of awesome initiatives. One of our faves? The Labia Library, a gallery-driven site that aims to "show that, just like any other part of the body, labia come in all shapes and sizes." In addition to extensive libraries of user-submitted images, the site offers some really great information and resources for anyone who needs reassurance that, yes, your labia are 1000% normal.
A number of artists are doing great work to cultivate vag-positivity, too. You may have heard of the Great Wall of Vagina, an ongoing project consisting of over 400 plaster casts of vulvas belonging to real woman of different shapes, ages, sizes, and races. It's been called "the Vagina Monologues of sculpture" and is intended to spark conversation on our collective discomfort with the subject of female genitals.
For a more personal way to get your self-love on, there's VulvaLoveLovely, an online company that makes miniature clay jewellery modelled on your own unique anatomy. VLL was started by artist Jessica Marie, in an effort to combat the shame she felt toward her own body: "Whenever I thought of my vulva in any context, I got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt dirty, I felt useless, I felt ashamed, and I felt used." In hopes of creating a healthier relationship between women and their bodies, Marie and her staff now create a wide range of vulva-themed items, including soaps, pillows, and jewellery (which you may recognise from Portlandia). Even if custom vaginal replicas aren't your cup of tea, it's hard to argue against any effort to decrease the shame and negativity surrounding the female anatomy. Majora props to all involved.
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