Me and my vulva: 100 women reveal all | Life and style | The Guardian
Vulvas are rarely seen outside porn and childbirth, which Dodsworth puts down partly to their position on the body. “Cocks are right there at the front. They are visible, whereas vulvas aren’t. If you’re a straight woman, you don’t see many.” And, as she writes in her book, they’re not easy to look at: “Let’s be honest, it’s tricky to witness our vulvas for ourselves, legs awkwardly astride pocket mirrors, bums shuffled up close to full-length mirrors, or taking a selfie with the unflattering lens of a smartphone.”
It’s also a part of the body we know relatively little about – historically, there has been a lack of scientific understanding; about the clitoris, about orgasms, sexual pleasure. Meanwhile there is a pervasive squeamishness about vulvas, which may be one factor behind the fact that, in England, cervical smear test rates are at their lowest for two decades. This gap in knowledge may also be responsible for the growing numbers of people who undergo labiaplasty: according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there was a 40% increase in procedures in the US between 2015 and 2016.
Dodsworth’s vulva shoots were a very different experience from Manhood. For many women, being photographed was the first time they had looked at this part of their body in close detail. “I feel like men were revealing themselves to a woman, in a sympathetic space,” Dodsworth says. “This time, women were revealing themselves to themselves. Some women were shaking, asking me if they were normal.”