We’re surrounded with a uniform image of the vulva— in pornography, in erotic art, and even in scientific diagrams. Without access to diverse images, our culture shames women for the shapes and sizes of our labia, clitorises, and vaginas, and more and more women are encouraged to consider invasive procedures like labiaplasty or vaginal rejuvenation surgery. The vagina as an icon is political; it can be used to make women feel objectified and judged, or it can be a symbol of our rich diversity. 

 

 

 

The sculptor Jamie McCartney noticed that while penises were generally fair game for conversation, vaginas and vulvas were often stigmatized and left unexplored, with the exception of the limited and unrealistic imagery presented by pornographers. Providing alternate visions of female genital shapes and sizes, the artist created “The Great Wall of Vagina,” a series of 400 cast vulvas from women aged 18-76; some had had children, some were transgender, some had undergone labiaplasty, and some were even twins.

 

The piece is noticeably different from the work of feminist artists like Judy Chicago, whose gorgeously symbolic work “The Dinner Party” features the vulvas of mythical and historical female figures alongside flower and butterfly imagery. McCartney’s work is brilliant for its objective rigor and lack of symbolism; cast all in a uniform plaster or metal, the genitalia of women of different backgrounds and circumstances are revealed to be as harmonious as they are gloriously unique. Without being eroticized, fetishized, or even romanticized, each vulva occupies a space all her own, proudly presenting herself to the world. 

 

In another series “Internal Affairs,” McCarney addresses the vagina itself, casting the vaginal interior to produce protruding sculptures; eliminating the sense of mystery that shrouds the female sex organ, the internal becomes external and powerfully commanding. Take a look. 

 

Thanks to Beautiful/Decay

Images via Beautiful/Decay

Tagged in: vulvas, vaginas, sculpture, pornography, NSFW, labiaplasty, jamie mccarney, great wall of vagina   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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