Welcome, dear friends, to my new blog on… well I’ll come straight out with it, the Vagina!
I am taking part in another art exhibition, until the end of May, in the Brighton Fringe Festival called ‘Minge Fringe’ (details below), which is an exhibition that celebrates the beautiful anatomy of a woman’s most sacred area and in all different media. It is truly a stunning and powerful show and I thought I would share with you a couple of paragraphs from my book ‘The Art of Birth – Empower Yourself for Conception, Pregnancy and Birth’ for your interest, as they are about the vagina. You may be asking why I (or others) wish to represent the vagina, or rather Vulva, in our paintings? I hope this briefly answers that question as I think it is about reclaiming a part of ourselves and the Feminine as a whole, which has been so mistreated, distorted and under-represented for far too long.
‘When it comes to female genitalia, there are so many words for the different parts which can sometimes cause confusion. The word vagina is often misused because it refers specifically to an interior structure, whereas the Vulva is the whole exterior genitalia. The vulva also has many major and minor anatomical structures, including the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, bulb of vestibule, vulval vestibule, greater and lesser vestibular glands, and the opening of the vagina. The vagina is like the bridge between the external vulva genitalia and the magical internal system of cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus. The clitoris, a little ball-like organ, is situated above the opening of the urethra and is purely designed for sexual pleasure. Eight thousand nerve endings (twice as many as the male penis) culminate in the clitoris which are connected to the vulva, vagina and the rest of the body. The clitoris, or ‘pleasure central’, allows orgasm without penetration. Orgasms release powerful health giving endorphins/dopamine, the chemicals of well-being and have often been associated with enhancing a woman’s creativity. It is not surprising then that some cultures, who wish to suppress female power and retain docile obedience, surgically remove the clitoris!
The female reproductive system and genitalia are the most impressive parts of being a woman and yet they have been the most shamed, abused and violated. Women have become sexualised objects, where external features define a woman as ‘good enough’ for the male gaze and any natural bodily functions are suppressed or extensively sanitised. The vagina, in particular, is still seen as shameful, dirty or ‘looks wrong’ and the expectation is that only a man can ignite its pleasure. Even language has encouraged negative connotations: vagina is the general anatomical term which suggests ‘clinical detachment’ (Camphausen, R. C., 1996), vulva is a bit vague, and the word cunt is the most insulting word used today but has derived from the Greek fertility goddess Kunthus and the Indian nature/earth goddess Kunti (I’m sure amongst other positive derivatives). In the Middle Ages, the word cunt was the everyday factual word used in England instead of vagina or vulva which was brought over by the Anglo-Saxons. It was also normal, during this period, for streets to be named after the trade that took place there and so a red light district became known as Gropecunt Lane. Gradually the word became associated with prostitution and as women and their sexuality, as a source of power, were feared by men, it is not surprising that cunt has become a derogatory expletive. Thankfully the Sanskrit word Yoni translates as Womb, Origin, Source and Vulva and is somewhat more appropriate in my opinion, albeit borrowed from an ancient culture. I, however, like to refer to the Yoni as a woman’s ‘Divine Source’ because it is the gateway to physical pleasure and the creation of new life which collectively embodies her entire life energy.
As women cultivate a positive relationship with their divine source, they discover the power of their intuitive compass as a way to navigate life. I want to raise awareness and show how unique, beautiful and sacred your divine source is and release the man-made guilt and shame that has been attached to our most precious anatomical gem for centuries. I think the divine source is the symbol of the feminine spirit and where a woman holds her natural power. The anatomical genitalia is only the external expression of a complex internal system of pleasure, reproduction and for the creation of new life. This system embraces the three lower Chakras; the root, the sacral and the solar plexus and their primary function is sexuality, reproduction and energy. This is the centre of a woman’s powerful creative force which ultimately generates her life energy’.
Have a powerful, creative week!
*Minge Fringe Art Exhibition, Brighton Arts Club, 43 Providence Place, Brighton BN1 4GE