“It’s not vulgar, it’s vulva”
This is the slogan used at Jamie McCartney’s current “Skin Deep” exhibition that I visited recently. The artist’s intentions are to desexualise female genitalia by forcing casts of them onto a commercial platform entitled, “The Great Wall of Vagina”.
As I walked into the gallery, I immediately burst into a fit of laughter: totally unexpected and somewhat embarrassing for someone who is far from conservative. As I stared (scrutinised) the various vaginas on display, I couldn’t believe the variety. Old ones, young ones, pierced ones and even half and half ones. They were each so different they started to look like ageing faces to me, which was unnerving to say the least.
Although a fascinating sight, something I didn’t buy into was the artist’s intentions to desexualise the wall of wiggly bits. All I could think about was what men/women would think if they came up against each and every one in a moment of passion. The artist himself even addressed some of the intimidating penis moulds as ‘beasts’ which made me question whether his dedication to normalising these sculptures was fool-proof.
On the whole though, it got me thinking. Much like my thoughts on hair removal, is it a big deal what the vagina looks like in the throes of passion? Female sex organs, although essentially an object of lust, are admittedly one of the ugliest body parts we are lumbered with, which I guess is why we cover them up with expensive pants. And the same goes for men. Call it a trouser snake all you like, I’d much rather cross paths with a riled up cobra at times.
But when are you going to stop obsessing over penis size boys? And how long are we girls going to strive for the perfect vagina? With the prevalence of labiaplasty as one of the most popular procedures of our time, shouldn’t we remind ourselves how ridiculous we are becoming and how lucky we are to have these weird and wonderful crevices and shafts? And functioning ones at that?
I’m hoping that once we’ve all had a good old laugh at each other’s dangly bits we’d all agree that yes they’re pretty gross looking, sometimes do unexpected things and will never be a welcome guest at the dinner table…
But they make babies. And that’s pretty cool, right?
Go and have a look at the great wall. I promise, you’ll never feel more normal.