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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Vulva Is Poetic

I was recently asked how I started making crochet vulvas. Well, I felt it necessary to make what I called an artistic personal rendition of my body. It first started as an imagined idea of how I thought my genitalia looked, but as I started making them for friends as gifts, and having more conversations around genitals I wanted to know what different genitalia belonging to different bodies actually looked like. Not to my surprise the only ones I could find were vulvas belonging to white cis women, you can see in detail the finds of that venture that in a post I called artducation: vulvas? So I came up with this exercise that serves as a reference to accurately rendering my own genitalia. Find what works best for your range of motion and mobility, whether that looks like lying on your back or squatting, place a mirror (you can also use one with a stand if holding it is not possible) and look. I chose to immortalize my genitalia by writing a poem, but the possibilities are endless as to how you choose to look at and understand your genitalia. You can draw, make a voice recording or sing a song, but whenever you are ready take a look.

We will all have entirely different feelings about our bodies, and looking isn't actually always a thing people want to do, which is perfectly fine too. In my experience locating the reasons why I choose to look have been super helpful. For me, looking is to get to understand my body in a new way. For a lot of reasons ranging from body dysphoria, sexual violence, and eurocentric standards of beauty, looking at my body was hard. For a minute my body either grossed me out, was anxiety provoking or just made me sad. And while those feelings are for sure still there looking is part of my oscillating process. Furthermore, looking has helped me in being able to identify when my body is going through changes. If I see or feel something new in or around or on my genitalia I can easily identify it and helps in having more direct and self-directed conversations with my doctor around my health. Key to looking is understanding, and understanding in a way that makes sense to you. This exercise is a process of developing your own language and imagery around your body and it acts as a huge fuck you in challenging normative ideas about bodies. Personally, feel empowered as I am taking control of my own health, honoring my sexuality, my blackness, my gender -ultimately the many facets of myself. Here is my super corny poem:

Vulva is...
When closed my left labia majora stands taller than the right
They are a dark brown almost black
and are larger at the top
Like a wave my labia has ripples
Two rolling waves toward my canal
My two labia fit together like a puzzle embracing each other

Kinda corny right? lol. Have you ever looked at your genitalia, and how would you choose to immortalize your body?