We need to talk about vulvas

Like most of the world, I’ve been quarantined at home for over two months.  I miss a lot of things, including book clubs, writing classes and random Brighton events.

 

Last week, I saw an event by ohne x This is a Vulva and it was exactly the kind of event I’d drag my girlies to for a night of vagina art and crafts.  Louisa, who organises ohne‘s events and Jo Corrall, the founder of This is a Vulva hosted a truly fun and informative vagina party.  We were promised and received: a sex re-education class, myth-busting, FAQs answered, a period pub quiz and the opportunity to design a vagina.

IMG_3946

I felt like we were in a modern biology lesson (COVID-Zoom teaching inclusive), planned by a cool, sexy aunty.  We talked about the ‘standard’ line-drawing diagrams of women’s genitalia and whilst this is suitable for biology lessons, it shouldn’t be the only pictures young men and women see of vulvas (accompanying the ones in porn).  Everything’s ‘neat’, symmetrical, almost hairless – save from a small mound of hair at the ‘top’.  Jo’s solution was an alternative diagram: hair everywhere, thicker at the top, a visible clit and inner lips uneven in size and sticking out further than the outer lips.  I’m sure many women in their twenties have heard men use the words ‘neat’, ‘tidy’ and ‘all tucked in’ when describing their ideal vagina – likely followed by a mental turmoil and exacerbating low body-confidence.

In fact, Jo’s mission is to:

Stem the rise of labioplasty.

I was shocked to learn that girls as young as nine-years-old are asking for designer vaginas from the NHS and 65% of young women are too shy to use the word ‘vagina’.

Fancying myself as someone pretty clued up on all thing genitalia, I still learnt a few new facts, including:

  • 75% of women’s labia minora protrude outside of their labia majora

Unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised to find out:

  • 75% of people think it’s abnormal.

On our call, we discussed how we wished we knew this at school.  How much teenage-angst would so many of us have been spared if we were told that ‘porn vaginas’ aren’t the norm?!  Fortunately, sex-education in the UK is changing (although for the first time in 19 years…) and last year, I shared my thoughts on porn – read it here.  I texted a close friend the facts I was learning and she said lots of men would benefit from taking part in a vagina workshop.  So to the Feeld men (link NSFW) I’ve sent this post to: hello, and well done for making it this far!

We don’t have to sing about how beautiful vulvas are, but we need to stop holding them in such high regard, especially as many of the vulvas on porn wouldn’t look out of place on a seven-year-old.  Adult vulvas have hair on them, and, just like our faces, our boobs and entire bodies, they aren’t symmetrical.  Knowing what’s normal for you is the important thing to remember.  Much like how the willies we see on porn aren’t accurate reflections of the general cock-owning population, we need to accept that ‘designer vaginas’ are not the gold-standard of vulvas.

 

Excellent IG accounts to promote positivity around vaginas, vulvas and female fertility:

Hertility Health

This is a Vulva (obviously)

ohne (obviously)

Gynaegeek

The Hotbed Collective (and their book of the same name)

The Sex Doctor

Please add any more in the comments.

All ticket proceeds went to Bloody Good Period, a charity who get period products to those in period poverty.  To donate, click here.

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