A Museum as you won’t expect it. We like this kind of cultural projects, so we decided to know more about the Vagina Museum. We discovered that a Penis Museum exists in Iceland but that is another story… The Vagina Museum was born from a concept by Florence Schechter, a science YouTuber. All begun when she was researching 10 Animal Vaginas for a YouTube video to go alongside the one she made about penises. She discovered that there was not enough Vagina in the cultural world, so she is trying to fix this gap. Here you can read what she told us about her project and the future of the Vagina Museum.
In your opinion, what are today taboos about Vagina?
So many – even just saying the word vagina will get you shut down. In many social circles you can’t talk about sex, or masturbation without everyone freaking out. In many places you can’t even breastfeed without at best a dirty look, at worst getting kicked out.
Vagina and politics. Why is the feminine so frightening socially?
I think a lot of it comes back to the taboos in the above question. If we can’t talk about it even with our friends, how can politicians talk about it on our behalf??
In your opinion when an artwork is pornographic and when it is erotic?
I think this is a very interesting question and there’s no right answer. It massively depends on context and social factors. What might have been considered pornographic 200 years ago would barely raise an eyebrow now. I suppose on a personal level, erotica has an element of artistic quality to it.
What kind of reactions have emerged from feminists regarding The Vagina Museum? Can we consider this Museum as an “objectification” of the vagina/feminine or there’s something different behind the showing of artworks about it?
The response has been overwhelming positive. A lot of people and feminist supporting the idea – especially for the part about outreach and advocacy work as well as exhibitions about the gynae anatomy. There have been a small number of people who express disappointment for what they perceive to be “reducing women’s bodies to only the vagina”. However, I think this perhaps comes from a slight misunderstanding – the vagina museum is not a women’s museum. It is a vagina museum. I certainly hope that the museum will not fall into objectification and one of the key ways of avoiding this is by listening to people and communities and asking them what they want to learn and see.
What is the role of the Vagina in art and contemporary culture?
This is a very broad question you could probably do an entire thesis on! I think more and more the vagina is becoming a bit more mainstream but we still have a long way to go (and that’s also not to say that vaginas haven’t been part of historical culture – they absolutely have!). You can see loads of examples of vaginas in modern art on our instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/vagina_museum/
Straight to the future. What will happen next?
Next we hope to get on the road a pop up museum – keep an eye out on our website or sign up to our mailing list to hear about the crowdfunding campaign for this. Once we’ve done the pop museum for a bit, we’ll graduate to an interim space for a few years (probably in Brighton), then we’ll get started on building the permanent museum (probably in London).
Mendes Biondo & Elena Bello