Wait, WTF?! The great wall of what? Never heard of this magnificent wall? Are you afraid to look at your own lady bits? Fear not, Rebecca Dane checks out what all the hype is about and fills you in on all the lip smacking details.

The Great Wall of Vagina
 

I’ve never seen a friend’s vulva. Whether it was changing behind towels in the locker rooms or entering separate stalls to use the washroom – there have never been any social moments in my life that have lead me to see a friend’s vulva.


I’ve never had a conversation with my best friend about what our vulvas look like. We talk about things our vulvas and vaginas enjoy. About the pubic hair we remove or leave, but I don’t ever remember a moment of discussion about what our vulvas actually look like.

 

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This, I’ve learned from porn. Whether from a porn site or a Tumblr blog or a Reddit thread, there is a certain ‘type’ of vulva that keeps appearing. I just kind of assumed that this was a ‘normal’ way to look.

Diversity is the spice of vulvas!

When I was 14, my good friend asked me if my ‘vaginal lips’ hung out below my ‘vagina’. (The correct anatomy terms weren’t in our vocabulary yet). It was something that she had clearly felt self-conscious about. It took me a few years to realize that she was self-conscious because the media had never shown a vulva that looked like hers.  


Here is where Jamie McCartney is doing the world a favour and changing female body image issues through his art. The Great Wall of Vagina, despite its anatomically incorrect name, is possibly the most famous art exhibit of female genitalia. McCartney has made four hundred plaster casts of vulvas from a diverse range of women. Separated onto 10 panels of 40 casts each, the variety of vulvas is intended to display how diverse our intimate body parts can be.


Included in the art exhibit are women ranging from ages 18 to 76 and includes mothers and daughters, twins, pre- and post-birth, pre- and post-labiaplasty as well as transgendered men and women.

For many, genital appearance can be a source of anxiety, particularly if it doesn’t look exactly like the ones portrayed in the media. This giant wall of vulvas helps dismantle the belief that there is a ‘normal’ vulva appearance.

It's political and educational art not porn...

The casts are all painted stark white to remove the erotic aspect of viewing vulvas. It is not intended to be a form of pornography or erotic art – it is intended to be an educational exhibit by removing shame and bringing to light the variety of vulvas in the world. The majority of the models for this project live near the UK as the casting was done in person, so one can argue that the castings are not as diverse as they might like. However, McCartney is not done with his political artwork. He continues to produce exhibits that feature women from around the world: women from around the USA, as well as a small exhibit of the diversity of erect penises. Again, his artwork is meant to inform people that there is no ‘normal’ appearance of genitals.

Looking at other people’s vulvas is not a common occurrence, which means that the media really does influence our perspectives of what ‘normal’ is. This can bring about so much shame, even leading some to take action with plastic surgery to get the ‘perfect vagina’.


While McCartney’s The Great Wall of Vagina isn’t going to change everyone’s perspectives immediately, it is definitely a hugely important piece of art that is breaking down the barriers of discussing what 'normal' vulvas actually look like (hint: they are diverse!) and advocating for body positivity. It is a truly powerful exhibit that will impact so many lives.


I definitely believe that everyone should check out the diversity displayed in this exhibit. Our minds and our vulvas will all be better off for it! I can’t wait to see what other body positive art Jamie McCartney comes up with next.


If you weren’t fortunate enough to have seen this art installation in person, you can check out the 10 panels on the official website. Or if you have seen it and want to talk about it, write a comment below or start a thread in the forum!

There's no such thing as a 'normal' vulva or 'perfect' vagina. They are all unique like YOU! And you (and your vulva) are beautiful!

Rebecca Dane is one half of A Couple of Kinks – a sex-positive site that focuses on sex toy reviews, ‘how to’ guides and stories of their sex adventures. They are hoping to help impact the sex toy industry by focusing on safe, ethical and LGBT+ inclusive companies as well as help normalize sex and kink.


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