Well not mine actually – its just that I liked the headline. The Guardian’s article Me and My Vulva gave me pause for thought. And for the first time in a while encouraged me to put pen to paper.
Photographer Laura Dodsworth, in a book and accompanying film for Channel 4, tells the stories of 100 women and gender non-conforming people through portraits of their vulvas. How you can be “gender non-conforming” while in possession of a vulva is left unexplained. Perhaps because it is un-explainable?
Anyway it’s all very jolly and lest you are unclear exactly what a vulva is, fear not – many of the 100 vulvas so expertly photographed by Ms Dodsworth are displayed for all to see in the article. Bunched together, the group portrait looks rather like a Persian rug – all very geometric. And I shall resist the temptation to make the obvious jokes about rugs.
One of the motivations for the study appears to be that vulvas are not easy to look at. In the words of Ms Dodsworth “Let’s be honest, it’s tricky to witness our vulvas for ourselves, legs awkwardly astride pocket mirrors, bums shuffled up close to full-length mirrors, or taking a selfie with the unflattering lens of a smartphone.”
Much the same could be said of one’s bottom. Presumably she will be making a gender non-conforming follow up: “Me and My Rectum”? And perhaps a gender non-conforming male could make something similar? Although if he (it?) is gender non-conforming perhaps he could not be said to be male? How confusing! But just imagine the fun – you could have a quiz show and get prizes for guessing which rectum photos came from a non gender-conforming male and which from a non-gender conforming female.
Better still, Ms Dodsworth has collected “vulva stories” to accompany the photographs, some of which are reproduced in the Guardian.
I am shocked by none of this. Certainly not! Perhaps mildly amused best describes how I feel about this latest contribution to 21st century culture. Good old Guardian eh? Its not all communism and Cold War these days.
Womanhood: The Bare Reality is published by Pinter & Martin on 21 February; 100 Vaginas will air on Channel 4 on 19 February.
Health of the labia, nice and pink, is the first thing I look at, when I start to talk to a woman. What’s her face got to do with it, except that the general health of the skin is usually the same for the labia. Another homologous organ is the prepuce. for men it is called the foreskin (surprise) and for women it is known as the clitoral hood… Makes a pleasant change from the ‘dick pics’ that men are so often prone to drawing, particularly at a younger age.
It’s an interesting subject – gender fluidity. Young people are leading progress here. I’ve read on the subject to catch up with terms like cisgender or asexual. My knowledge is still shaky but what I am learning seems very exciting.
In short, it does not matter what gender you are biologically, you can associate with whatever gender, both genders (eg bi) or no gender. I know and follow a few ladies who are biologically women but do not necessarily associate with female or female related stereotypes eg Kristen Stewart or Ruby Rose. Same for guys – you can have male genitalia but associate with women (eg shemales) or you can be transgender – a woman but with male genitalia.
I am still learning about it but the freedom that comes with this new approach is exciting. I urge you to read more about it.
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I am seriously pleased to hear that folk with such differences are finding their proper niche of respectability. Perhaps the human race is growing up at last. In themeantime, i’m finding it hard to repress my regrettable Lincolnshire/Yorkshire born inheritance of sexual ribaldry …
Excellent stuff – the Guardian can provide quite a laugh on occasions. I just wish it would not constantly bang on with partisan narrow minded politics. I must say, I had a hell of a laugh when I read that article.
When I was a newspaper reporter, especially when I was in Fleet Street, the “Gridiron” as it was mockingly referred among journalists for its uncorrected literals, I could never stomach its deliberate abandonment of journalistic impartiality.
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But talking about vulva’s, my first sight of one was when I rowed my girlfriend under the low overhanging boughs of a willow tree and asked her to show me her “vulva” as I now know it is called, which she promplty did, to my horror. I have avoided direct eye contact with the species ever since but still remain somewhat traumatised …
My first wife, not the above girlfriend, told me on my honeymoon as she viewed my eager nakedness, “Aren’t men funny?”, so I suppose it can work both ways.
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