This one goes out to any woman who’s ever asked: “Is mine normal?”
NB: This post contains about 55 images of vaginas*. Unfortunately, your boss may think that makes it NSFW.
A heck of a lot of Australian women are requesting surgery on their vaginas these days.
So many, in fact, that the country’s largest GP’s organisation has introduced brand new guidelines to help Aussie doctors deal with the increasing demand for women’s genital surgery.
The sad thing is, most requests are completely unnecessary — fuelled by some women’s vague, uniformed sense their lady-bits are unsightly, ABC News reported this week.
“They say things like ‘I feel this is ugly or horrible’, they use terms like ‘disgusting’ and ‘hanging out’,” author of the guidelines Dr Magdalena Simonis told the ABC. “So most of the comments are related to their aesthetic appearance as opposed to a functional issue.”
She said the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners guidelines would “help them understand that normality is a big range”.
Well, we applaud that aim. You know why?
Because very few of us know what the hell other women’s vaginas even look like. (Hell, some of us haven’t even seen our own yet. If you’re in that group, we suggest you grab a compact mirror and get to the bathroom, pronto.)
Too many of us have grown up basing our understanding of what a vagina looks like on Barbie — who is devoid of any genitalia at all — and girls in pornos — who are often so airbrushed, they may as well be.
Without any realistic images to compare to, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that vaginas come in many forms. Hairy, hairless, innie, outie, fleshy, uneven… the variation is almost endless, but you’ve probably had no way to get a visual on many other ladies’ bits.
That’s why we invite you to feast your eyes on some replicas of other women’s vaginas today.
The images you are about to see are plaster casts of real-live vulvas, created by vulva sculptor James McCartneyfor his art project The Wall of Vagina.
Look! A realistic vagina.
Here’s another. See how it looks different to the first one?
Another vagina. Different again.
A few more. Note: They’re all unique.
Some others. No two are the same.
Aaand 40 more.
The point here? Is that vaginas are as different as faces. But because it’s taboo to show pictures of real-life private parts, many women feel ashamed about their own vagina’s unique appearance.
As McCartney writes on his website, that’s exactly why he created the Wall of Vagina.
“The variety of shapes is endlessly fascinating, empowering and comforting,” he says.
Check out some accidental vaginas. Post continues after video.
“For many women their genitals are a source of shame rather than pride and this piece seeks to redress the balance, showing that everyone is different and everyone is normal.
Love your work, vulva sculptor.
Now, can we all stop asking our doctors to cut our perfectly healthy genitals up, and start appreciating these rather excellent, powerful and useful body parts instead?
And below is gallery of things that look like vaginas. Note: Real-life vaginas look pretty much as diverse as this random collection of items.
* Before you tell us this in the comments: Yeah, we know this bit is actually called the vulva. But the word vagina is so great, isn’t it?