LONDON in now home to the world’s first ever vagina museum dedicated to gynaecological anatomy which opened this weekend in Camden after members of the public donated £50,000 towards the project.
In a move designed to boost Camden’s reputation as a major tourist magnet, the new landmark is located in a bright indoor space in Camden’s Stables Market, where a giant tampon is flanked by giant menstrual cups. Illustrations of female genitalia are dotted around the walls and some underwear is in a glass case.
This museum exists thanks to a public fundraising drive, under which more than 1,000 people collectively donated almost £50,000. Florence Schechter, the director of the museum, said her motivation behind setting up the space was simple.
She added: “I discovered there was a penis museum in Iceland but no vagina equivalent anywhere else so I decided to make one. “I just love the vag as I am a bisexual woman.”
The first exhibition, which will run until the end of February, is called Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How To Fight Them. It looks at misconceptions that surround gynaecological anatomy, including cleanliness, appearance, periods, sex and contraception.
One poster at the exhibition read: “Just under 50% of the world’s population has one. Most of us came into the world through one, the vaginas and the rest of the gynaecological anatomy are still a taboo subject.”
In addition, the show also quotes a YouGov survey in March, which found that more than half of the British public surveyed could not describe the function or visibly identify the vagina (52%), the labia (47%) or the urethra (58%). Sarah Creed, who curated the exhibition, said these facts surprised her.
Ms Creed added: “The facts for me were astounding, half of people surveyed did not know where the vagina was, I thought that was one thing people did know. Also for me, it was a statistic that one in five adult women think they have to remove a tampon to urinate, that blew my mind.
“Your vagina does not smell like a bouquet of flowers, nor should it. That is not a thing; none of your body organically smells like that but people liken the vagina to the armpit and say Oh, I have a smelly armpits. I’ll just put deodorant on it. No aerosols, please, around that part of the body.
“Also people don’t realise we have a very delicate bacteria microflora ecology down there. You cannot have a product for all vaginas because everyone is different.”
Talking about vaginal discharge, she revealed that her own underwear appears in the exhibition. When this show is finished, Ms Creed says, they want to focus on the history of menstruation and also current social and political issues.