At the moment I am reading Bodies by Susie Orbach, discussing many body issues from babies bonding with their mother to the psychology of wanting to look a certain way. It has been an interesting read, incluing a studying into a man who wanted to become an amputee and have his legs surgically removed. The relationship between our mind and body seems to be so distant in an age where we are bombarded with photoshopped images of the perfect body and constant advertising of products and processes that we need to age gracefully and to fit into society.
After taking part in the Embroidered Campaign to support Female Genitalia Mutilation [blog] I kept meaning to look up an artist that I remembered seeing The Perfect Vagina shown on Channel 4 in August 2008. Jamie McCartney, who runs Brighton Body Casting, was working on a 5 year project taking plaster casts of women's vaginas.This is 'art with a social conscience', to show that this is naturally what women look like!
Panel 1 with 40 vagina casts.
'400 casts arranged in this manner is in no way pornographic, as it might have been if photographs had been used.' Jamie McCartney
The First Official Photo Shoot
"Why did I do it and what's it all about?" I hear you ask. Well, it became clear to me whilst working on a not dissimilar piece for a sex museum that many women have anxiety about their genital appearance. It appalled me that our society has created yet one more way to make women feel bad about themselves. I decided that I was uniquely placed to do something about it." - Jamie McCartney on BrightonBodycasting.com
The project is delicate as it is loud. It strikes as a project to get participants to understand themselves more by comparing their vaginas with other women and realize that we are all different. It also makes suggestion to the popular rise in the 'designer vagina' as well as the fore mentioned female genitalia mutilation.
If you are at all self conscious about your body,especially vagina, watch this complete clip from The Perfect Vagina shown on Channel 4 in 2008.
McCartney took women as young as 18 to women in their 70's, as well as casting female to male and male to female transsexuals. It is a great project, that will unfortunately offend the light-hearted and closed minded people, but inspire women who suffer with body anxieties. Women need to be more open with each other about their anxieties and support each other to love themselves without injecting botox, implanting silicon or insisting on photoshopping photographs.
@GreatWallVagina on Twitter
Great Wall of Vagina Website
Brighton Bodycasting Website