That could be about to change.
UK-based Science YouTuber Florence Schechter has launched a campaign to set up the world’s first vagina museum.
“There is a penis museum in Iceland. Which is pretty cool. But there is no vagina museum. Anywhere. In the world,” says Schechter. She says she was “pretty miffed” to discover this, so she decided there’s only one way to rectify the absence of vagina museums: “Make one”.
“There is no physical space wholly dedicated to vaginas and the people who have them.”
In fact, the only thing close to a vagina museum is Austria’s “virtual museum” for vaginas which is, by any other name, just an educational website about female sexuality. There are also a handful of pieces of art and small exhibits installed in wider museums. But, as Schechter points out, “there is no physical space wholly dedicated to vaginas and the people who have them”.
Schechter says that vaginas “are not talked about enough” and that’s contributing to an overall lack of understanding about women’s anatomy. Indeed, a 2014 study by Eve Appeal revealed that only half of UK women aged between 26 and 35 were able to accurately label a vagina on a diagram. 65 percent of young women admitted to having a problem using the words “vagina” and “vulva”. And 40 percent of 16 to 25 year olds use code names like “lady parts” to discuss their gynaecological health.
“People don’t want to talk about vaginas and many don’t want others to,” says Schechter. “No wonder there’s never been a vagina museum before. We’re constantly getting shut down when we try to talk about these things.” Schechter says she’s never seen any backlash when people talk about penises. “We must turn the tide,” she adds.
She says the stigma attached to talking about vaginas has far-reaching consequences when it comes to women’s health and safety. “This has major implications such as people not going to their doctors about their health as they aren’t comfortable talking about it, not seeking help when the victims of abuse, and issues like consent and contraception,” says Schechter.
Schechter is hosting events in an effort to raise funds as part of the initial stage of the museum’s development. The museum’s first event the Vagina Museum’s feminist comedy night will take place on 19 May and will feature comedy about vaginas, “the people who have them [and] “the things put in them and push out of them”.
Schechter is raising money for the museum on Patreon.