Body acceptance is a big part of our growth and healing, but we are sometimes simply unaware of the negative attitude we have towards a particular body part, until a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend calls us up on it.
Is it better to ignore how we feel? Sure, thats a great short term solution, but it's not very nice of you and it's not good for your self esteem. Consider looking at what you dislike and being a little kinder...isnt it better to air the dissatisfaction and take a look at why you feel the way you do? These feelings are probably old, habitual and need airing. It's good to reflect on and clean up your emotional hygiene.
Often we dislike something about ourselves because we 'compare' or take remarks very personally, especially when we are young and in the teenage years. Porn and the media do not help, not to mention how 'loose' others can be with their remarks.
Which brings me to Vaginas/Vulvas. What do other women feel about theirs? It's taken time for me to accept and like my own, a recent self portrait really helped me see my vagina as unique and beautiful. It was fun to draw too, the winding, smooth, sexy lines and shapes reminded me of summer flowers, so beautiful and unique.
After using myself as a guinea pig, I wanted more to illustrate. I needed photos. My girlfriends needed to WhatsApp/email me their Vulvas.
Like you might expect, I had some straight up 'NO WAYS!' but I managed to get three pretty easily. Poppy is a London DJ, Maui, I met at HTB Church and Amelia, my BFFL, a wonderous mother and Actress.
I asked them all to write a small piece about how they felt seeing this body part illustrated.
Enjoy the illustrations and the comments from the wonderful Women who took part in this, it was a pleasure to work with them.
For obvious reasons no personal details are revealed, the women's identity is top secret and I have selected 'stage names' for this project (I hope they like them).
The women are diverse group of Londoners.
"Firstly, thank you so much for drawing this, it’s like facing a fear and I have to admit, when I first saw it, I spent a long time laughing and had that unnerving awkward energy that most of us have when we talk about our vaginas. Once those feelings had gone away, I saw the true beauty in it and it made me feel very feminine. I’ve never been afraid of my vulva but I’ve never put it on show for all to see. I am proud of it, as we all should be. Thank you for changing the way I look at my vagina."
"I think vaginas/ vulvas have always been a part of the body we tend not to think about, though sometimes you wonder whether it looks 'normal' As there’s not really a beauty standard for vaginas (as far as I know) I’ve never quite known what constitutes as a “normal vagina” I think deep down though I’ve never considered it to be one of my best body parts just because you know.. it’s a vagina Though, from the artwork it does look at lot prettier than I would have imagined (is it even allowed to call your own vulva pretty haha?)
Participating in this project has made me become more conscious of the fact that it’s just another part, like hands or feet. They’ll all look similar but different at the same time...I guess thats what makes us unique." - Maui
"When Beth first asked me if I would be involved in this project I laughed out loud and felt a bit horrified at the thought. Then I thought about it some more and gradually started to change my mind, also because I think she’s such an incredible artist and I trusted her implicitly. I thought it would be quite a liberating thing to do.
I’d never really given my vulva much thought before. I certainly could never get my head around why any woman would want to surgically tamper with her vulva.
I’m so glad I found the courage to do it and am very grateful to Beth for the opportunity as I think it helped me as a woman to observe a part of my anatomy that I had always just taken for granted....but more than that, to actually see the beauty in it too."
Thank you for reading. This project in ongoing and I welcome any volunteers for further illustrations. Please feel free to email me if you are interested.
Lots of love,