Jun 222011
 

I'll show you mineBook: “I’ll Show You Mine
Publisher: Show Off Books, February 2001
Editor: Wrenna Robertson
Photographer:  Katie Huisman
Cost: $30

This book is fucking amazing. I love it. It consists solely of vulva photos and women talking about how they feel about their genitals. There are two photos for each woman and they are all shot exactly the same way – one straight on while the woman is standing and one with her legs spread so the labia are exposed. My favorite pages are at the beginning and the end and line up all 60 pictures. I like being able to make a fast comparison with all of these very different looking vulvas. I had no idea how diverse woman’s genitals are!

Which is why this is such an important book. I have had more opportunity  than most people to see what vulvas look like. I was a doula for years and have attended many births. I look at porn. I’m pansexual. But I realize now how little I’ve been able to really examine vulvas. I had no idea what “normal” looks like. I now know that there is no normal, or at least, normal is so broad that it covers everyone. This is deeply moving for me.

Cynthia pageThe whole book moved me. I adore the smooth, subtle pink cover. The shape of the book itself reminds me of a wedding guest book. I’m tickled by the thought. When I started reading it I fell in love with each woman. They are so diverse, and yet the same. I’m thrilled that queer and trans are represented. I like seeing young and old pussies – not that you can always tell the difference. I’m so happy to see the differences in skin tone. Truthfully, all of these pictures are beautiful.

I have to admit though, I reacted badly at first. I read around a dozen profiles before I realized that I was feeling queasy. I put the book down and thought about it for a while. Why did seeing naked women make me feel sick? For me it came down to my sexual abuse history. I had feelings of disgust and shame toward my own body and I projected it onto the pictures in the book. I’m not normally aware of these feelings, but the book put them into focus in a way that made it easier to look at.

open vulva collageIt has something to do with pubic hair. I have an uneasy relationship with my pubic hair. I don’t want to be shaved because I look like a little girl, but I’ve had this perception that it was wrong to be hairy. I’ve continued to get bikini waxes even when I stopped shaving my armpits and legs. What I’ve learned from “I’ll Show You Mine” is that I am nowhere near the hairiest woman in the world. I like my pubic hair. I like grooming my pubic hair, but I no longer feel compelled to have it any specific way.

I was able to read the rest of the book without difficulty. I really enjoyed it. I plan on using it to teach other women about their bodies. I’ll leave it where my kids can look at it if they have questions. I’m hoping that continues to grow as a movement. I’d love to see a website where women can share their stories and pictures of their vulvas. It’s a powerful thing.

Along those lines, I have chosen to share my photos, shot as close to the book as possible, and my story about my vulva:

Evoë outer view

Evoë, inner view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evoë

This is my cunt. I like the word cunt because it feels right to me, kind of cozy and mysterious. The biggest mystery of my cunt is that all five of my children came into the world via this passageway. It is also deeply amazing to me the pleasure that I feel both with partners and alone. I feel blessed by a beautiful body. But I haven’t always felt so good about myself.

Years of childhood sexual abuse left me feeling dirty and ashamed of my body that would respond even when I didn’t want to. I felt separated from my private parts. If people wanted them but not the rest of me, then I would just seal my mind away from the rest of my body. I didn’t feel ownership of my vulva until my mid-twenties.

Then a few years ago I started worrying about my labia being too small. My outer lips are usually quite closed. I became paranoid about looking like a little girl. I wondered if the abuse that I survived had maimed me somehow. I didn’t have anything to compare myself to, but it seemed like the images I saw showed women with larger labia. I heard about women who wanted smaller labia and felt confused. My partner found some photos of other women for me that made me feel more comfortable with myself. He also took close up pictures of my cunt so I could really see what I looked like.

I fell in love with my body. I could still see everything that I thought of as imperfections – places I tore giving birth, a mole, my pubic hair going grey – but I could also see the beauty of my vulva. I still sometimes feel self-conscious. I am hesitant to let someone go down on me if I’m on my period or think I’m smelly, but I now publish pictures of my vulva on the internet. I hope that it helps other women to love their cunts!

  • http://www.facebook.com/livingloverevolution Teri Ciacchi

    Dear Evoe,
    Thanks so much for posting about this book as I am certain to use in in my Clitoral Revelations class and the CLITeracy salons as well as Vulvic Explorations. It so great to have such a powerful new resource. More importantly though, I want to express my gratitude for your authentic and vulnerable sharing. I also know what it is like ( as I think most people do) to have ambiguity and confusion around my body. There have been many ties when I wondered if my Clitoral COmplex was “normal” and amny times when I was upset by my bodies response to stimulation that was at odd with my consent or other conceptual concerns surrounding desire. At the SLutwalk on Sunday tara Hardy read a brilliant poem about sex and desire that called on us to “Forgive the body” when it is sexually responsive and we find that response inconvenient or undesireable. Such great work we are all doing getting in touch with our own truths and expressing them. Gives us each a little more breathing room and a tad more liberation. SO thank you for sharing and doing your own internal work. I applaud it and, I feel a sense of solidarity with you that affirms my own willingess to continue being honest with myself and asking others to look into themselves as well.

  • http://twitter.com/ShowOffBooks Wrenna Robertson

    Thank you so much for sharing your powerful story and photos! We’ve featured it as our Story of the Month on Show Off Books homepage! http://www.showoffbooks.com All women are encouraged to share their story – if it is selected as Story of the Month, we’ll send you a free copy of the book!

  • Guest

    Your vulva is beautiful!

  • Anomyous

    I really like your cunt,  Don’t worry about it being “smelly.”  Believe me for most guys the smellier
    the better,  When Napoleon was returninig home from a battle, he would send a note to Josephine
    saying don’t bathe I’m coming home!

  • Jonathan

    Don’t ever worry about how your cunt looks. You have a very beautiful cunt. I enjoyed reading this.