I’m about to say some things about vaginas/vulvas that you’re not going to like. Consider this your fair warning, and my preemptive apology.
Vulvas are ugly. Vaginas too. They’re hideous, foul, repulsive, and embarrassing. All that extra skin just flapping around, serving no real function. The whole kit and caboodle is just disgusting, both to look at and deal with. Don’t even get me started on vaginal wetness, making everything slick, slimy, and sloppy. Especially when menstruation is involved, it’s like someone went to town with a hatchet. And that wiry mound of hair, it’s obscene. Any person that thinks a pile of wrinkled protruding skin is anything but icky clearly has something wrong with them. Vaginas/vulvas are gross. End of story. Yuck. I wish I didn’t have one, my life would be so much easier without it.
Contrary to your assumptions those aren’t my thoughts or the way I feel. Instead, what you just read is a mish mash of the messages I’ve received over the last 7 years from readers who’ve hated their genitals for one reason or another.
It’s sad, disheartening, and depressing.
Having said that, I’m sure many of you have felt something similar at some point. Maybe you’ve contemplated labiaplasty because you thought your labia (inner/outer) were too big. Opted to have sex in the dark so partner(s) couldn’t see your genitals. Shaved it bare in an attempt to be more appealing. Smothered it in disinfectants to mask your bodies natural odour. Applied tightening lotions or potions in hopes of making your vulva appear more ‘youthful’. Slathered on lightening creams because you thought the pigmentation was too dark. Or maybe you’ve spent a lifetime feeling uncomfortable in your own skin because your vulva wasn’t a taught, neat, toned little package like the ones often seen in porn.
No matter the reason for hating your vulva, or embarrassment you’ve experienced because of it, I can promise you’re not alone.
It’s for this reason that I love 101 Vagina by Philip Werner. Throughout the hardcovers thick and glossy pages we’re given a brief but honest glimpse into what it’s like to be the owner of a vagina/vulva. Some of the writing is uplifting, poetic even, while other excerpts take on a tone of courage, anxiety, sadness, respect, appreciation, and humility. It is raw, deep, emotional, insightful, and intentional, offering the opportunity to redefine and honor our bodies in a way we may not have been able to before. It’s a reminder to love ourselves, to see past the indifference and shame, to fully embrace what we’ve been gifted with, for far too often we forget.
A few choice quotes;
Until I met my husband, I was ashamed of my vagina, I thought it was weird. But he made it his mission to change how I felt about her, and now I’m proud.
That doctor decided I needed my labia and clitoral hood stitched back together. The procedure felt like something akin to being on an alien abduction table for human experimentation. To this day I re-experience the trauma of this event every time someone looks as my vagina. (speaking about a childhood accident)
You have welcomed both feminine fingers and tongues and masculine pulsing hard members of desire, filling me with joy and breathlessness. I now look at my vagina with awe, gratitude, and reverence – she is truly amazing.
While many of the comments I get are fairly crude, they are actually stated with the utmost fascination – and no small measure of respect – for the awesome that is my vagina.
Unlike the photoshopped images often found in pornography and film, depicting shaven vulvas, primed and perfectly sculpted to be plush, plump and camera ready, each of the 101 black and white photographs accompanying the writings are real; there are bruises on thighs, unevenly shaved pubic hair, crooked tan lines, aged and rippled skin, moles and scars, cellulite and stretch marks, freckles, stubble, piercings, and tattoos.
Moreover, there are labia of every shape and size; some protrude yearning to be seen, others hide tucked away safe from the prying eyes of judgment. And yet, each of them is beautiful, perfectly suited for the person to which they belong.
For some this book will be a commentary on female sexuality. To others, a work of art. Maybe it’s an homage to the almighty vagina/vulva, or a personally transformative experience. A minority might even view it as carefully crafted pornography, but for all intense and purposes, *smut* it is not.
Regardless of your perspective, I hope 101 Vagina gives you a chance to take a good hard look at the way society views genitals, as a body part and a means of gaining pleasure, and how those views shape and potentially damage along the way. And in that, I hope you are challenged to see past the lies about ‘beauty’ we’ve been brainwashed to believe are true and learn to love your body just as it is. Perspective is everything, and the content within these pages has heaps of it.
We should be taught from a young age that our vagina is noting to be ashamed of, that we’re all different and beautiful and deserve all the love and appreciation
Whether you’re uncomfortable in your own skin, are a lover of vadges everywhere, have kids nearing an age of curiosity about their body/the bodies of others, or simply want a coffee table book that’s sure to spark conversation, I implore you to buy a copy of 101 Vagina. I promise you’ll be a better person for it
To get one of your own head over the 101 vagina website, hit up Amazon.com/Amazon.ca, or if you’re in Toronto from June 14th – 22nd you can check out the last leg of the 101 Vagina Art Exhibit & Book tour at Creative Blueprint Gallery. Copies will be available for purchase, and if you happen to see Philip, make sure to thank him for his work. <3
“Dedicated to our bodies and our sexuality,
our deepest desires and most delicate vulnerability.”