The Great Wall Of Vagina!

I recently heard about this art exhibit called the “Great Wall of Vagina.” It’s pretty much as it sounds. It’s a wall covered in vaginas.

Great-Wall-of-VaginaReally, it’s a series of panels featuring plaster casts of real women’s vaginas. Now normally I don’t really like vaginal art. Maybe I’m a prude, maybe I’m just sane. Maybe I’m pissed because I had a lot of Georgia O’Keefe posters in my room as a child, and now I know they weren’t actually flowers.

Nevertheless, I really fancy the Great Wall of Vagina, even though the first sentence on the site’s “About” page sounds like something Lena Dunham would say: “Female genitalia have long been a source of fascination, recently of celebration but generally of confusion.”

I think the idea behind the Great Wall is awesome, and I was shocked to find out that it was conceived and created by a man.

The artist, Jamie McCartney, rounded up four hundred women who volunteered to have molds made of their vaginas. A diverse four hundred women at that:

“The age range of the women is from 18 to 76. Included are mothers and daughters, identical twins, transgendered men and women as well as a woman pre and post natal and another one pre and post labiaplasty.”

The point of the Great Wall is to exhibit the diversity of female genitalia. A lot of women, the artist acknowledges, feel very self-conscious about their vaginas. Because so many of the vaginal images we are exposed to tend to be either pornography or flowery paintings, many women have no sense of what is actually “normal.” The panels were made to educate people about how diverse vaginas can be. I looked at pictures of the panels, and boy did I learn about vaginal diversity!

The exhibit is currently being shown in Milan, but if you can’t make it there in time, you can see photographs of all the panels on the Great Wall of Vagina website. Check it out! (NSFW, obviously)

Follow the author on Twitter and visit her blog ThePeppercat.

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    • Peppercorn

      I saw a documentary that included the making of this exhibit. The nonchalance with which they treated female genitalia was refreshing.

      • Candace

        Oh sweet, what documentary. I wanna watch it!

    • kj

      Fascinating! But at the same time, not gonna lie, this panel is making me reconsider having kids.

    • Ash

      I feel like vagina art is hugely hypocritical. We always talk about how we want to be treated equally to men, but a wall of penises would be considered juvenile. Which is stupid, obviously, but is it that vaginas fascinating and penises are hilarious?

      • Cate

        I totally agree with you.
        I heard about this exhibit a while ago (on Regretsy, I think. They love vaginas there) and I thought it was hilarious. I am self-aware enough to realize that I only think this is hilarious because I have an incredibly juvenile sense of humor.
        I get that these sorts of exhibits are ostensibly meant to make ladies not be insecure about their lady parts, but hello, gentlemen are insecure about their gentlemen parts too. There are multimillion (billion even?) dollar industries built on providing everyone with their share of genital insecurities.

      • Matthew McVeagh

        I don’t see why a wall of penises would be juvenile. I think it would be educational, as this one is. I am a man and I have seen very few penises. That’s not just because I’m not gay, our culture hides genitals of both sexes and one of the functions of porn is to let people get a glimpse of other people’s equipment, including from those who are supposed to be on the same team. It’s just that porn, obviously, is heavily distorted, and not reliable on this matter any more than on how to have sex.

        I’d like to see Western and indeed general human society get over its embarrassment about sex and genitals and get to the point where we are not upset about them being openly seen. But in the ongoing absence of that the least we can do is explore the physical reality in artistic ways like this which collect a large sample, anonymise and demystify.

    • Matthew McVeagh

      Why should you be “shocked to find out that it was conceived and created by a man”? Haven’t there been similar works of men’s penises created by women?

      In a word: demystifying. Certainly for me, I’ve just seen about 50x as many vaginas as I have in real life. And what overall impression do you get? That per se they are not pretty or ugly, something to be ashamed or proud of… they just are. They are functional, they have a function, and a shape.

      Beyond that any significance we feel about them is something we’re reading in. Both men and woman invest huge emotional meaning in both male and female genitals, and breasts. We need to take a step back sometimes and withdraw from all that automatic reaction, and artworks like this could help.

    • Matthew McVeagh

      HA! From the bottom left of the website’s homepage: “NEWS FLASH: Great Wall of Vagina deemed ‘obscene’ by Tokyo police”!

      This is a culture that allows the sale of underaged schoolgirls’ used panties in public vending machines!!!

    • http://twitter.com/GreatWallVagina Great Wall of Vagina

      I love reading these discussions about my work. Negative or positive, it’s really interesting to hear other people’s take on it. Many miss the point but then many have other points that I hadn’t considered. If I tried to answer every comment I’d go mad. Anyway if you want to know more about why I did it and how then check out the youtube playlist:

      http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAC81B85B9D98083D

      I hope it gives a clearer idea of what this is all about You can leave comments there too!

    • those are not vaginas

      If you’re going to do an entire art piece on something, you may as well use the correct terms. A vagina is not an external thing you can see, or easily mold. This is a wall of vulva.

      • Jesse

        But vagina sounds more like “China” so it’s more clever, duh