[An edit of this article was also published in Ciao newspaper, July 12 2013]
Then, after 101 Vagina was selected to be part of a group exhibition as part of the Sydney Fringe, the venue refused to allow the images to be shown, saying that they want the venue to be “family friendly”. So I censored the images with QR codes that lead people to various vagina censorship related articles.
Why? Why should children not see, talk about, hear different words for, draw and reflect on vaginas? Are vaginas bad? Are penises bad? Mine isn’t, is yours?
The younger the children are, the more recently they have themselves just emerged from a vagina, after having been conceived through one. But in spite of this there seems to be a cultural fear around children and anything sex related coming within proximity of each other.
Of course, children should be protected from sexual predators, but somehow, the valid and important concerns about sexual abuse have resulted in sex being given a blanket label, bad. The act that led to their existence is labeled bad. What are the two most forbidden words in the English language? Fuck and cunt.
How unfortunate! They should be words of celebration, exuberance, joy, pleasure, freedom & love.
Our culture is severely hobbled by sexual repression and suppression. The worst manifestation of this is sexual abuse and though it may not be the only cause, I believe we will never rid culture of sexual abuse without first dealing with the sexual repression and suppression which underpin it.
Guilt and shame does not arise naturally in us as children, it is taught to us by adults, whether directly or indirectly, through judgement and fear. It is adults who teach children that their bodies are to be hidden, not to touch themselves and not to say certain words. This means that it is up to us, the adults, to reverse this trend.
One of the best ways to reverse guilt and shame is through open discussion and direct engagement. A child who has had open, honest and respectful discussions about their bodies and sexuality is far less likely to end up with feelings of shame and guilt about their own. It also means they will be less likely to fall victim to externally imposed shame from various media or abusive comments.
Imagine if, instead of learning about sex through porn, children were from infancy taught to respect their own and other people’s bodies; that they are the masters of their own; that no part of it is shameful; that pleasure is a birthright, and that sex can be a beautiful act of bonding, joy and pleasure?
Fortunately there is a growing and international “sex positive” movement which is working to remove the negative stigma around bodies and sexuality and the 101 Vagina Exhibition and Festival of the Vagina are proudly part of that movement.
Breaking taboos can be creative fun and no one needs to get hurt in the process. In fact, years of hurt can begin to be undone in the process.
Here is an excerpt from one of the messages written and deposited in the “Write your own vagina message” box:
“… I was thrilled to bring my 3 yr old daughter along, and set her on the path for having pride of her vagina, her self, her future pleasure, her body and it’s life giving abilities & to make sure she’s empowered! …”
This article appeared in the French media and resulted in a sharp spike in traffic to 101Vagina.com which is mentioned right at the end of the article.
I love website analytics ! Were it not for analytics I would never have even knows about this article.
Click on the image below to see larger, readable image.
So, my intent is for most of the blog content to be original, rather than re-posts and links etc.
However, I could not pass this one up. Vagina/vulva muffins/cupckaes are proliferating! :)
I’m realising how difficult it is to find the original creators of web content, considering that most things are simply reposted from other sources, but below is one example :)
Best to simply google “vagina cupcake”, click on “Images” at the top to get the google image search, and see for yourself!
From www.hollyandtheicing.com we have:
She even has a video on how to make them: http://www.hollyandtheicing.com/?tag=rude-cakes
I would have thought there would be a market for this in Melbourne? I have not found anything locally on the net, was looking to promote someone local but came up empty handed. Let me know if you know of one.
“When I reached puberty I always thought my vagina was ‘normal’. This was however until my older sister saw me naked me one day and proceeded to tell me that I was ‘abnormal’, since my labia protruded from my vagina. In view of this my whole outlook of my body changed. From that day on I felt ugly. Although I have taken steps to talk to my body whilst looking at my vagina and tell myself I am beautiful, I continue to struggle with wholy loving and accepting that I am indeed not aesthetically ugly but beautiful. Iam 42 years old. This is my biggest challenge in life. I have a divinely beautiful life however if I am honest to myself it continues to have an impact on me in different ways than being sexually abused as a child/adult has. Thank you for allowing an avenue to express my hang up! :)
“I’ve always liked my vagina and its ability to bring me pleasure, but I haven’t always embraced it. In my first years of sexual activity, I was embarrassed by its smell and would lather it in perfumed moisturiser before getting into bed with my boyfriend. Eventually, he asked me why I did this. When I explained my self-consciousness, he in turn explained that he liked the smell; it turned him on, big time. This was a revelation to me. Lesson: my vagina smells good.
Another revelation came on the big screen, thanks to an on camera tour by a gynaecologist. He was performing a colposcopy (removal of abnormal cells from the cervix) and offered to “give me a tour.” I agreed. He used the colposcope (a camera), to magnify my vagina and project it like a strange pink flower onto the television screen overhead. He did close-ups on the hood of my clitoris, my clitoris, my labia majora and minor, the vulva and the vagina itself. I was mortified – my vagina, blown up on TV! – but the two female nurses just looked bored. Lesson: my vagina is no big deal.”