I'd heard about the new Vagina Museum in Camden over on the Naked Podcast before Christmas so knew I wanted to go check it out. Camden market is one of my favourite spots to lose a few hours alone in London but it is like a maze and I certainly raised a few eyebrows as I asked people if they knew where the museum was. So what is it about the word Vagina that still seems to cause some people embarrassment or fits of giggles?
The Vagina Museum is the world’s first bricks and mortar museum dedicated to vaginas, vulvas and the gynaecological anatomy. The project began in 2017 with pop ups across the county and opened its' doors in Camden in 2019.
I don't know about you but sex education classes in the late 70's and early 80's was pretty limited. For starters, girls and boys were separated so there was no chance for open discussions between both sexes which I always thought was bizarre. It's certainly refreshing to have a much more healthy and open conversation about our bodies. The small museum has informative straight talking facts about the vagina and helps dispel some of those myths women are often led to believe. It certainly left me thinking about a few things. Like why women are made to feel unkempt if we don't have tidy trimmed public hair all the time? By the way, did anyone watch CH4's Bring Back The Bush it's worth a watch and reminded me how much women's bodies have been policed over the years.
I would definitely recommend any parents to take their children to the museum, I wish this kind of information was made available to schools nationwide as I am sure it would really help young girls with their body confidence and mental well being as they navigate there way through puberty. It's actually surprising that it has taken so long for a museum like this to open when you consider the Phallological museum in Iceland has been open for years.
The museum will be holding two exhibitions a year and is currently running the "Muff busters: Vagina myths and how to fight them".with lots of other events throughout the year. My favourite display has to be the giant tampon all its' bloody, glittery glory.
Could you name all your body parts around the vagina?
Connecting with our bodies in midlife
Since I have been peri-menopausal and now entering the menopause, I have become more aware of what's going on with my body in this area and it has to be said it's not much fun! Why doesn't anyone warn you about vaginal dryness (or as I've now learnt is officially called Vaginal atrophy) and the consequential links to cystitis and thrush during hormonal changes. Why is it still so hard to talk about as if it's something we should hide and not make a fuss about even at the age of 50? Apparently research shows more than 50% will suffer with this, although it is likely to be much higher as only 7-10% visit the doctor.
I think this museum is a great idea. If it gets people talking more openly and sharing our experiences about our own bodies then perhaps we will all become a little less hard on ourselves.
Maybe we need a Menopause museum in the world too!
''We have a vision of a world where no one is ashamed of their bodies, everyone has bodily autonomy and all of humanity works together to build a society that is free and equal.''
The museum is free and can be found at Unit 17 & 18, The Stables, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AH.