The Great Wall of Vagina

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While browsing one of my favorite internet sites one day a few weeks ago, I came across something a little strange, it was a link to a "Wall of Vaginas". Curious, I followed the link...

Design-a-Vagina.jpg

This sculpture seemed a perfect fit for my Blog Pop post for a few reasons. First, I found it a little unsettling that I thought of the sculpture as provocative. Although sculptures of vaginas are not really a part of my daily life (and probably not many other people's, either) why should it be shocking to see an explicit portrayal of a vagina? I think this question can in part be tied to Nancy Tuana's article Coming to Understand: Orgasm and the Epistemology of Ignorance. Although our society is bombarded with sexual images in media, the most blatant references are to the male phallus and the vagina is still a slightly more taboo subject. As Tuana elaborates, the vagina and other parts of female genitalia aren't even given proper detail and importance in science and medical contexts. Because of this constantly reinforced ignorance surrounding the female body and the vagina, women are not encouraged to be completely comfortable with certain parts of our bodies. Looking at this sculpture, I still have a little tinge of discomfort or the urge to turn away. I hope that can change, not because I want to be staring at vaginas all day, but because I don't want to have negative ideologies surrounding female anatomy affecting how I perceive my own body or those of other women. I think it would be interesting to find out how other people react to this sculpture and if they feel that our class readings help to understand some of what that reaction is about.

Another interesting aspect of this sculpture is that its sculptor is male. Jamie McCartney does all kinds of sculpture work, mainly body molds. I can't quite decide if I feel this work is problematic because of the specific ignorances surrounding vaginas that work to the detriment of women. Does anyone think that this could be an appropriation of an already tenuous subject matter that is more easily accessible to the sculptor because of his gender?

2 Comments

Wow! This is certainly a compelling blog entry! What's so striking to me about this piece of art--in addition to the story behind it (i.e. the artist's intentions, the intentions of the people who contributed to his sculpture, etc.)--is that it's an amazing display of variation and difference. I hope that students will keep this example in mind when we discuss Anne Fausto-Sterling's "Five Sexes," and even our week on Queer Natures. ...Be sure to bring it up if I forget to! Thanks for posting!

This piece is great! It allows men and women alike to appreciate the uniqueness of a woman's nether regions without feeling uncomfortable for looking. Fantastic!

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This page contains a single entry by Rachel published on September 26, 2010 8:12 PM.

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