“Wow, there is a lot going on there.”
A British photographer has taken close-up shots of 100 women’s vaginas in a feminist campaign to combat “body shaming.”
Laura Dodsworth said the undertaking was her duty as a woman, especially given that she has already done a project about penises.
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“How am I, a card-carrying feminist, a champion for penises, but not women and vulvas?” she wondered in an article in The Guardian Saturday, which included some of the choicest vagina pics.
Dodworth’s latest work, “Womanhood: The Bare Reality,” tells the stories of 100 women and gender non-conforming people in photos and words. It will be released this month as both a book and a Channel 4 documentary.
According the Guardian article, which is an extract from the book: “The vulva stories Dodsworth has collected made me laugh and cry, moved by the openness with which each person talks about sexual liberation, grief, loss, abuse and everything in between.”
(It was unclear who the female narrator was. Perhaps the feminist spirit disembodied.)
Dodsworth said her inspirations for photographing 100 vaginas were both political and personal, and that the post-#MeToo moment seemed like the right time to give women permission to “reclaim our bodies and our stories.”
She wants women to stop being ashamed of their vulvas, no matter their appearance, she said. She recounted recently reading with dismay that labiaplasty, or vaginal beautification surgery is said to be the fastest growing cosmetic procedure in the world.
(The anonymous voice admitted that she had spent years considering the surgery out “crippling” shame about her vulva.)
Dodsworth also aimed to push back on the kind of activism that last year saw one LGTBQ-concerned health group admonish physicians to stop using the V-word in favor of the more-inclusive “front hole.” Dodsworth called this kind of euphemistic language “inaccurate and harmful.”
In her view, the vagina must be celebrated and explored.
“Let’s be honest,” she said, “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.”
By contrast, “cocks” are much more “visible,” she pointed out.
In this spirit of vaginal openness, Dodsworth said, she had photographed her own vulva for the book, too.
“I remember when I took my photograph and I put it up on my Mac screen,” she said, “I just thought, ‘Wow, there is a lot going on there.”
Read more: Dodsworth belongs to a cultural movement calling on women to expose their bodies as an act of defiance against patriarchal male gaze.
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- Photographer Laura Dodsworth with a vagina.: Courtesy