The Vulva Gallery is a series of illustrations celebrating the vulva in all its diversity all over the world. The Vulva Gallery is body positive, gender inclusive and welcomes all.
About a year ago, I attended a lecture where I learned that in the past decade there has been an enormous increase in labiaplasty among young women. Labiaplasty is cosmetic surgery to partly or entirely alter (and usually reduce) the size of the labia minora, the inner folds of the vulva. In England alone, the number of surgeries increased fivefold between 2001 and 2010.
These statistics are worrying. No vulva-owning individual should feel that they have to undergo surgery just because their vulva doesn’t look like the ones they see in porn, or the way others expect it to look. It’s heartbreaking to see how far many will go to reach ‘perfection’. To have a surgeon cut such a delicate part of the body - a part that is so sensitive, that gives you sexual pleasure, a natural part, in order to conform is hard to grasp and yet, the numbers speak for themselves. Like many teenagers growing up, I’ve felt insecure about my own body and hugely pressured by the outside world, so I know what it feels like and it makes me sad.
The only way to change how we experience our bodies (and other people’s bodies) is to educate ourselves on natural variation and I hope that The Vulva Gallery may be able to help with this and contribute to a reduction in labiaplasties.
I receive many messages from people of all genders who tell me that before finding The Vulva Gallery, they had no idea there was so much diversity in vulvae. For the first time, they felt normal. This is why these projects are so important, we can’t rely on sex education or the media to teach us we are beautiful and that we need to love ourselves.
The Vulva Gallery is dedicated to everyone from all genders and non-binary. Many people with a vulva don't identify as female. There are so many gender identities (to name a few: transgender, agender, genderless, genderneutral, genderfluid, bi-gender, genderqueer, cisgender, non-binary, pangender, trigender, or polygender) and vulvas can exist in each one. Having a vulva doesn't define your gender - just as having a penis doesn't define it.
Love your vulva, because all vulvas are beautiful just the way they are!