British artist James McCartney spent five years plaster casting 400 women’s vulvas for his sculpture The Great Wall of Vagina. The project is an exploration of women’s relationships with their genitals.
James came up with the idea while he was working on a different sculpture for a sex museum. He discovered that many women have anxiety about the appearance of their genitals, incorrectly believing they are ugly or abnormal. “It appalled me that our society has created yet one more way to make women feel bad about themselves” he said. He decided to do something about it – so he created art that dispels misconceptions about what women look like “down there.”
The women who volunteered to participate ranged in age from 18 to 76. There is great variety in the vulvas, as you would expect given there are 400 of them. One has multiple piercings, two are from identical twins, there are mother and daughter castings and transgendered men and women. There are even casts from a woman pre and post natal, and another pre and post labiaplasty.
The sculptures are fascinating to look at and people can view them without feeling shame or discomfort because the images are not pornographic. They allow women (and men) the opportunity to see the immense diversity in female genitalia. Each one is completely different and completely normal.
Check out the videos below to learn more about James and The Great Wall of Vagina (which should probably be called The Great Wall of Vulva, since the vagina is your birth canal, while the vulva is your sex organ. But I’ll forgive James that grammatical mishap, because his project is awesome!).