The world’s first vagina museum opened in London this weekend, in an effort to dispel supposed myths about the female genitalia.
The vagina museum, known as “Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How To Fight Them,” was the brainchild of Florence Schechter, the director of the project. It started life as a pop-up museum in 2017, after Schechter discovered that Iceland had a penis museum but that there was no such vagina equivalent.
“This is a part of the body that should be celebrated,” she said. “The museum is a fantastic way to spread the message that there is nothing shameful or offensive about vaginas and vulvas… I just love the vag.”
The curator of the museum, Sarah Creed, took The Guardian on a preview tour of the exhibition, explaining some of the pieces along the way. Creed stopped at and discussed one section that talked about the hygiene of pubic hair:
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. 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.
Creed said those who worked at the vagina museum were allies to “LGBTQ… and intersex” people:
Intersex and trans individuals are not represented at all in this narrative. We are looking at how we can engage all people. I want cis heterosexual men to come here and feel it is a space for them to come and learn. In this post-Weinstein era, there’s more fear than there is inquiry because people do not want to be seen as inappropriate, but they are part of the conversation. People have wives or daughters and friends – people with gynaecological anatomy – and in order to interact with loved ones in an effective way, they should know more about them.
Creed’s own underwear are on show, in an exhibit on vaginal discharge. The fact your vagina is acidic during reproductive years … that can lead to bleached underwear. This is my underwear in this box. That is how much I advocate for this,” she said.
The vagina museum was crowdfunded, with over 1,000 people donating nearly £50,000 to its creation. Visitors can help fund it by getting something from the gift shop, such as a vagina guitar plectrum or a mug.
The exhibition will also play to host to various events, including feminist “comedy” sessions and book clubs before it closes at the end of February next year.