Big up the muff – the world’s first Vagina Museum
How good was your sex education at school?
Do you know your vaginas from your vulvas?
Did you know people used to use Coke as a contraceptive?
Maybe you’ve spent your weekend watching season two of Sex Education on Netflix and are feeling enlightened. Regardless, I bet Camden’s new Vagina Museum can teach you a few things.
The world’s first Vagina Museum has been gracing the cobbles of Camden Market now for a few months and it’s been causing a stir on social media. Whether you fancy picking up some vagina earrings (not kidding), some fab feminist lit from the bookshop, you’re in need of some education or you just want to pose beside their giant glittery tampon (still not kidding), it’s well worth a visit.
And entry is totally free!
The Vagina Museum is the brainchild of Florence Schechter who realised in 2017 that, while there’s a pretty impressive penis museum in Iceland, there is no gynaecological equivalent anywhere in the world. And, while conversations around sex and relationships are gradually becoming more enlightened and the feminist movement is dismantling some seriously archaic notions around bodies – the male, the female and everyone in between - there’s still a lot to be said about the complete inadequacy of the sex education system in the UK.
I admit it has been some time since anyone sat me down in a secondary school classroom and told me to put a condom on a banana, but I imagine there’s been little progress since the days of sex is between a man and a woman who love each other very much or here’s a picture of a seriously funky-looking infected phallus, wear a condom kids.
One particularly brilliant aspect of Camden’s new Vagina Museum is that it opens discussions around trans bodies, intersex bodies and relationships notoriously neglected by conventional sex education in schools. I never learnt anything about homosexual relationships in school and I honestly thought ‘gay’ was an acceptable adjective for a whole range of situations outside homosexual relationships well into my adolescence.
Whether your educational blackspots are anatomical or socially constructed like ideas about virginity (which doesn’t exist) or the supposed idea that periods are gross and dirty (why would an embryo implant in something dirty?), hopefully if we all start talking a little bit more freely, we can raise a generation after us of empowered individuals who are comfy in and educated about their own bodies. Would be nice.
So, while it’s a lot of fun to go and giggle at some amazing gynaecological puns on birthday cards in the giftshop, the museum is doing some very serious and empowering work.
Big fan. Enjoy Alice posing beside a giant glittery tampon.
Find The Vagina Museum at Unit 17&18 Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden or more info on their website.