Apr 032009

Red Canna by Georgia O'KeefeBefore I shower and brush my teeth, I open my laptop and check my Facebook, Twitter, email and e-calendar to see what’s in store for the day. The absolutely lovely message at the top of my inbox read, in part: “Basically, I want photos of your vulva.” Less raunchy than it sounds, it was just a notice about a new project in vein of Betty Dodson‘s work. A yet-to-be-created site will collect vag photos to show the vast diversity of shape, size, form and color “down there.” If you want more info this exciting venture — or if you’d like to participate — submit questions, comments, pics of your lady bits or any other lovely lady goodies to VaginalRevolution on gmail. There ya go. Just doing my part to spread (no pun intended) the word. Okay, so, by the way …. speaking of vaginas, why didn’t anyone tell me BBC America sneakily aired Perfect Private Parts at 2:00 am last night / this morning? The segment’s description from the site:

“How far will women go to achieve perfection for a body part that not many people will ever see? A journalist meets with sex therapists, plastic surgeons and patients to understand why girls as young as sixteen are requesting cosmetic vaginal surgeries.”

You guys!! This is EXACTLY the kind of thing I would’ve watched. Shit, I hope they rerun it. Did anyone catch it? If so, what did you think? By the way, if you’re interested in reading stuff about vaginoplasty, BBC News ran a trend story about it last September. Also, a growing number of people are asking: “How can we judge African societies as being barbaric and not condemn equally the cutting of women in the West [...]” Probably a very good question with lots of food for thought / debate. Hmmm, since I’ve got vagina on the brain, it might be a good time to mention I’ve noticed the female voices have been relatively silent in the Funky Brown Chick comments section lately. Where are my girls? Stand up and have your vulvas counted!! The demographics constantly shift around here. So, I’m taking census because I’m curious. Please use the comment section to tell me whether you’re male, female or other.

Full-color poster of “Red Canna” (pictured) by Georgia O’Keefe is available at AllPosters.com. Also, if you’re into her work, check out the online home of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

  25 Responses to “She said: “Basically, I Want Photos of Your Vulva””

  1. This website sounds like a great education tool. We use the books “Petals” and “Femalia” in our classes. In fact, I have a class next week all about vulvas! We use the vulva puppets too. Often, it is really empowering for women to see the variety of vulvas – it helps them to appreciate and value their own!

  2. I will likely submit a few photos. It's important that people understand how beautiful NATURAL genitalia can be! Thanks for the heads up.

  3. I am a woman and it makes me sad that women would alter anything about their genitalia. I understand sowing it back together after tearing during childbirth, but just to make it “prettier”? I am all for plastic surgery but I have a hard time with people messing with either their faces or their vaginas. Everyone should look unique in those two areas, in my opinion. I wish our society would appreciate being different, because if you look hard enough at any part of any person's body you can see beauty in it….

  4. “I'm a man, baby” in my best Austin Powers shagalicious voice.

    Vulva's? Absolutely love em'! Wish there were more, in the world.

    But seriously, the difference between African genital mutilation vs western vaginoplasty is easily apparent. Nobodies holding a woman down for a vaginoplasty, done with the nearest sharp instrument, designed to keep her from experiencing pleasure.

    besides, the vaginoplasty also has the added benefit of reducing the possibility of tearing during waxing. I think its a win win. Smoothness, and coochie safety!!

  5. I am an African American women…and while I condemn genital mutilation, it is hard for me to equate that practice with cosmetic surgeries here in the US. I am not happy that so many women, and so many young girls are having vaginal reconstruction but this is a elective surgery correct? So ppl choose to have that surgery, but in Africa, the women and young girls are forced to be mutilated…and that is atrocious.

    I love my vagina, I use a mirror and look down there from time to time. I think more women should, it is very liberating…

  6. I think it depends on your point of view….

    Mine is usually about 1″ to a 1/2 an inch away from the vajayjay….as my proclivities lean toward oral. So a pretty vayjayjay is the vajayjay thats in front of me. LOL

    But like any other part of the body, if someone doesn't feel comfortable with the way it looks and want it to look different….why not?

    You can tell someone they're sexy till you're blue in the face. It doesn't mean anything unless they ” feel ” sexy. You can cut and paste weight in there too.

  7. Poodle lips (pardon the expression) may be yummy, but I can't say they are attractive. In fact, *nobody's* genetalia is attractive, men's or women's. I suppose you could paint a smiley face on it or something, and that might make it look peppy, but surgery isn't going to make it any prettier.

  8. Female. :-) And I think it's an excellent point about double standards for different cultures.

  9. I do think there is a difference between elective surgery and forced surgery, so I don't see it as a double standard. My personal view is that vaginoplasty is as stupid and unnecessary as breast augmentation, but there will always be some people who believe they can surgically improve their appearance and that the complications are worth it. Certainly it is healthier to come to terms with how you look (especially as even the most attractive people will alter with age) and focus your energy on what you accomplish rather than innate characteristics, but I don't see our society encouraging that anytime soon. It's not profitable.

    I'm female.

  10. hi there! i am a black chica. and i think the difference is consent. i am all about folks having the freedom to do as they please, but forcing children (or adults) to have their genitalia cut off or altered is a dangerous path. (and lets talk about male circumcision)
    anyways, i also am part of a blog community called raven's eye. raveneye.org and we would love to crosspost this article to raven's eye if you would be interested. please email us to let us know at ravenseyeblog@gmail.com
    thanks! love your blog.

  11. Hmmm I wonder if the proliferation of bare vaginas in porn has created this desire for women to have “pretty” ones. When most of the ones people saw were covered in hair there wasn't much thought about what they looked like. Now that more and more are uncovering theirs, of course they're going to care about what they look like.

    I think I am almost as disturbed by vaginoplasty as I am by genital mutilation – just in a different way. The force factor is a bit of a false argument for me. I think the mental and emotional twisting that happens in the mind of a woman who feels that her vagina isn't pretty enough is easily as powerful as the arms that hold down a girl who is forced to undergo genital mutilation.

    I mean, really, we have to ask ourselves what is up with our society's insistence that women look a certain way. Vaginoplasty is just another symptom of the larger disorder. We have to start appreciating ALL the ways in which women are beautiful and stop narrowing the parameters of beauty. Women are starving themselves, devoting their lives to exercise, going under the knife, putting who knows what poisons in their bodies – just to have the right hair, white teeth, better boobs, flatter stomachs, tighter buts, less wrinkles, and now pretty vaginas! At least there's nothing left for us to obsess over the appearance of.

    Add in the fact that we equate appearance with self-worth and self-respect in women and is there any wonder that there are women who feel compelled to change the appearance fo their vaginas?

    For me, what makes genital mutliation worse is the fact that it is designed to cause pain and reduce pleasure. That its intent is to restrict the sexual freedom of women. And yet, in our society we do a pretty good job of messing with women's heads to restrict their sexual freedom. So which is worse – genital mutilation or mental and emotional manipulation?

  12. Hmmm … I don't think I've ever SEEN another woman's vulva up close and personal.

  13. No prob! :) I can't wait to see this project launched; should be interesting.

  14. If, when I get older, my face starts to slide down town my chest, I'm soooo not against getting that stuff pushed back up. I want my outsides to reflect my insides.

    Who knows. Maybe I'll change my mind on this. Maybe I won't.

    That said, I'll totally admit that I'm generally against elective surgery. Hell, I rarely take over the counter meds. (I was recently sick w/ the flu and I only broke down and took Robitussin after the 3 day.) So, yeah, I'm not sure if I'd REALLY be able to not a PS cut up my face.

    It's hard for anyone to say what they'd REALLY do until they were in the situation, no?

  15. “Tearing during waxing.” I flinched as I read that. Ouch. :(

  16. That's 2 for 2 on the comments about the difference “consent” makes. So true.

  17. I think men's penises are absolutely beautiful.

  18. It's a tough one. I can totally see both sides of the “double standard” debate. By the way, have you seen Moolaadé? Good stuff.

  19. Three for three on the 'consent' front …

  20. Thanks! I just sent you an email. :)

  21. So which is worse – genital mutilation or mental and emotional manipulation?

    GOOD question!!! Might do a post about that in the not-too-distant future …

  22. when you get older….. you are gonna look just like you do right now…..
    just more dangerous……

    lamesabassman……. now….. if your southern smile is anything like your northern smile…. I'll take some 8×10's….. asap…. smile…..

  23. Physical mutilation is worse than emotional manipulation. Emotional manipulation can be overcome, perhaps with help and perhaps over many years. But I've never heard of anyone regrowing a clit.

    I agree that vaginoplasty is internalized sexism, and that internalized sexism is a bad thing. I just can't agree that internalized sexism is as bad as externalized sexism. I see a difference in what happens to the woman who is strong enough and brave enough to stand up. In a system of externalized sexism, she might get killed. In a system of internalized sexism, she'll just get called 'weird' and 'unattractive.' I know I'd rather be weird than dead.

  24. hi!
    just discovered this article and i’d love to hear more about that project. did you submit pictures in the end? have you heard from the project since then? where can i find more?

    thanks for your answer.

  25. Hey there! Not sure if it ever got off the ground. Here’s the original website: http://showmeyourcunt.wordpress.com/ Not sure if no pictures were submitted or if the project moved elsewhere. If I hear any updates, I’ll let you know.

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