Every week, our team at Unbound receives an email containing an overview of our site analytics from the past 7 days. We touch on a few of the high points and we toil over ways to steer the direction of content based on traffic to the site (and take over the world one box of sexy goods at a time). Without fail, every week, we see the ever present number of people searching terms like “do I have a normal vulva” and “what do normal vaginas look like?” and “average girl vagina pics” This number is never low and it’s been a pretty constant number since we launched.
The good news, if anyone is (frantically) looking for a silver lining to this, is that a search and a click onto our site from the google results lands page them at this article, “The Average Human Vagina,” a beautifully written, intelligent piece by science writer, Dr. Jenny Morber. The piece originally appeared over at DoubleXScience, a fantastic online science magazine for women that you should be checking out often. (They graciously allowed us to republish it.) Dr. Morber touches on the more recent efforts of the science community to study the aesthetic diversity of female anatomy, the staggering rise in labia reduction surgery, and the profound reality that, there is no normal.
While some might suggest that porn is chiefly responsible for the perception that lady parts only come in one shape, I would hope we can acknowledge that anyone who seeks education through entertainment regardless of the topic at hand is likely to be misled. By expecting porn to do anything more than just entertain us undermines the power of proper sex education. That whole “real women look like..” deal is sort of a nasty one anyway. It’s the body snarking equivalent of politicians referring to “real Americans” while campaigning through the rust belt as if those living in cities aren’t paying taxes or voting. Whether we’re talking vulvas or voters, there's a rich and diverse experience in every example. Perhaps we simply need to supplement the imagery that gives us the impression that one “style” of vagina is preferable or acceptable. For many, porn is the only other visual we’re seeing. The problem might not be images that display pink, hairless vulvas with labia that have been photoshopped out; it’s that we’re not seeing enough…civilian pussy.
So where to start? The solution is fun because it involves naked ladies. Start with your own body. Check yourself out by learning every inch, fold, curve and non curve of your gorgeous and unique bod. Then take a look at others; the more the merrier. There are so many amazing body acceptance projects out there. Start with a few blogs like Beautiful Labia or Large Labia Project then peruse the Genital Art Gallery over at the body acceptance mothership, Dodson and Ross. You can also support fun upcoming projects like Debby Herbenick’s What Do You Like About Your Vulva and Vagina? And not to go all junior high art teacher on you, but try to look at the images objectively. Don’t compare yours. Just look at the images and appreciate them as independent and unique forms.
Oh, and never settle for a partner that makes you feel less than ecstatic about your body. Seriously, if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or uncertain about your vulva, labia, breasts, oh, everything — then fuck them — but only in the figurative sense.