Tackling taboo with sparkly tampons

A MuffBusters fact and a sparkly tampon. Sourced: The Vagina Museum's Twitter: @vagina_museum

The world’s first vagina museum is opening in London.

The project was launched in 2017 with pop ups around the country. And the first premises
are opening Camden Market until February 2020, with a view to open a permanent
exhibition within the next few years.

MuffBusters: Vagina Myths and How to Fight Them aims to debunk myth and challenge the
stigma that surrounds gynaecological anatomy. The exhibition will also be available to view
online.

A series of events and performances, including, comedy and theatre shows, talks and a book
club will be made available. As well as an outreach programme providing, inclusivity and
health education regarding sex and relationships. The programme hopes to engage with
professionals to better services available to the trans and intersex community.

The museum has been praised online for its concept on tackling topical issues such as the
basic science of the vagina, Female Genital Mutilation and period poverty.

Museum director, Florence Schechter, told the Guardian her motivations behind setting up
the project was her discovery of a penis museum in Iceland “but no vagina equivalent
anywhere else so I decided to make one,” she went on to expand “I just love the vag. I am a
bisexual woman.”

The crowd funded project will open on the 16th November 2019, but don’t expect to write a
review on Trip Advisor as the museum’s name doesn’t meet the site’s family friendly
guidelines.

Where: Camden Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road.

Opening hours: Mon- Sat: 10am-6pm, Sun: 11am- 6pm

Price: The exhibition is free. (Ticket prices for events and performances vary).

 

And we’re not ovary-acting

The museum successfully crowdfunded more than £300,000 in order to open. Their eventual goal is to create a permanent museum space, as the lease on their Camden Market location will end in 2021.

And a permanent space is necessary. The lack of education and conversation surrounding female genitalia has had its impact on Western culture.

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

‘Vagina’ should be a part of women’s vocabulary, so it necessary to challenge the embarrassment that surrounds is. According to charity, The Eve Appeal, young women in the UK are less educated and more uncomfortable when discussing gynaecology than their elder counterparts.

Less, than 25% feel confident in their knowledge of gynaecological health issues, compared to over 42% of women aged 66-75. Over half of 16-25-year-old women admit to having an issue using the word ‘vagina’ or ‘vulva’, and nearly a third avoid talking to their GPs about their gynaecological health.

However, it is not only women who need to be comfortable when talking about vaginas… 50% of men wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing gynaecological issues with a female partner. The vagina is still believed to be ‘shrouded in mystery’ (Eve Appeal, 2016).

Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash.

The museum tackles the complex politics that surrounds this female anatomy, to engage and educate on menstruation, cleanliness, sexual activity and contraception – all normal experiences. To encourage comfortability and banish shame.

The first brick and mortar museum dedicated to all things vagina is inclusive to all genders. It serves as an LGTBQ+ and intersex ally as they are also represented in their narrative.

Rather than Middle Age chastity belts, Victorian sex toys or ancient fertility sculptures, the exhibition is full of informational posters, sculptures and a vagina themed gift shop- perhaps more textual than visual as hoped. The Vagina Museum may be missing a Pollock-esque menstruation piece. But, it doesn’t fanny around in directly tackling vagina myths, and an events calendar filled with “Cliterature” (book club) meetings.

The museum’s opening caught the attention of late-night talk show host, David Spade. Who joked [The Vagina Museum] is closed four days a month.

 

Santa’s cummin’

You can also celebrate Yuletide joy with The Vagina Museum…

By Rosa Yates