The problem of “the perfect Vulva"
All vulvas are unique and beautiful - just like our hands, noses and eyes are. The problem is that there’s just one kind of vulva shape being displayed in the popular media. Whether it is in magazines, mainstream porn, or even biology books, all over the world we are constantly confronted with a distorted image of the “perfect” vulva, and it has led us to believe that we don’t fit the “normal” image. As a result, girls as young as 9 years old are researching labiaplasty surgery (the surgical procedure that alters the aesthetic appearance of the labia and/or clitoral hood) online, and we are seeing a sharp global increase in girls under 18 (and even under 15) undergoing labiaplasty surgery, making this procedure one of the fastest growing types of cosmetic surgery in the world.
So, what can we do about it?
We’ve somehow gotten the idea that there’s something wrong with us, but there isn’t. To prove this, I started The Vulva Gallery in 2016. The Vulva Gallery is an online gallery and educational platform celebrating vulva diversity, aiming to improve sexual health education and opening up conversation about topics that are still being stigmatised. Since 2016, together with a rapidly growing community of nearly 250,000 followers, I’ve been working on improving this stigmatised image of the vulva and the response has been amazing.
From an online gallery to a beautiful book for everyone
My next step is to bring The Vulva Gallery to the mainstream. I want to create a book that embodies everything The Vulva Gallery has touched on over the last 2 years. A book that can be used in medical practices and in health classes, that can be looked at in waiting rooms, or can be given as an empowering gift. This book will be gender inclusive, respectful and encouraging and so it is for individuals with ánd without a vulva, for all who have ever struggled (or still struggle) with the appearance of their vulva, for parents wanting to open up conversation with their children and teach them about body diversity, and for all who want to hear a voice that is different to what we hear in the popular media.
Inside the Book
The book will answer all kinds of vulva-related questions and disclose information on anything from pubic hair to changes in labia shape to personal hygiene and menstruation in a respectful and inclusive way. You’ll find a chapter about anatomy, accompanied by a diverse range of anatomical illustrations. Myths will be debunked and the book will contain all kinds of wonders of the vulva & vagina.
It is a gender inclusive and positive book, in which many different personal stories will be shared alongside vulva portraits. The book will open up conversation about a topic that is still surrounded with taboo and shame.
In the book you’ll find:
More than 500 colourful illustrations, all based on real vulvas
A chapter about anatomy (with colourful & diverse illustrations)
Vulva portraits & personal stories
Vulva myths debunked - medical health providers explain why these myths are false
Wonders of the vulva & vagina - interesting facts that everyone should know
Questions answered - all kinds of vulva- and vagina-related questions
How to draw a vulva
Vulva names around the world
Positive quotes about vulvas from individuals from around the world
What I aim to achieve
With this book I aim to raise awareness around body diversity, to inspire and empower individuals by sharing personal stories, and to provide information on anatomy and sexual health. It will be accessible and will tap into the very active dialogue around inclusivity. To sum up, it will:
Represent and celebrate vulva diversity
Normalise open conversations about vulva-related topics
Normalise different aspects of our vulvas such as differences in labia shape and colour, pubic hair and skin conditions
Debunk myths and provide inclusive education about anatomy
Provide a more positive and inclusive usage of language
Focus on the beauty in diversity, and on the functionality of our vulvas instead of objectifying or sexualising them
Share many diverse vulva portraits & stories, thereby encouraging individuals to appreciate their own uniqueness
By sharing appreciation of our diversity, encourage developing a more positive genital self-image
By showing diversity and openly talking about our experiences and insecurities we can change the way we look at our bodies - and the bodies of others
Why I hope you’ll support it
This book is dedicated to everyone with a vulva: whether you’ve always loved your vulva or not (yet). It’s dedicated to everyone with a vulva, no matter their gender, as this book is gender inclusive and welcomes all. It’s dedicated to everyone familiar with vulva-related struggles: maybe you have a friend who feels insecure about their vulva, a daughter, or a sister who deserves to see how beautifully diverse we can be. It’s dedicated to everyone with a curious mind, wanting to learn more about this beautiful part of our bodies - and share their knowledge with others. I hope that you’ll support this project because it is dedicated to you.