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101 Vagina Hardcover – 2013
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See the 101 Vagina project website here: http://101vagina.com
(Canadian orders, use: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/098740900X)
101 Vagina is about breaking down the taboo around vaginas and body image shame generally. It confronts the lies we are told about what’s normal and celebrates our uniqueness and diversity. 101 Vagina is also about the sharing of story, of experience; the passing down of knowledge and wisdom.
This book contains 101 beautiful black and white photos of 101 women, along with a message, story or poem written by each woman to accompany their photo. The messages are candid and span the spectrum of emotions. They are raw and honest and form a small compendium of women’s experiences with their bodies and womanhood in general, with a focus on the vagina.
101 Vagina is light and profound, cheeky and deep.
This book is particularly relevant given the startling increase in labiaplasty, cosmetic surgery of the vagina. The photos and messages confront the lies we are told about what's normal and where beauty lies.
Emmy award winner, Toni Childs, has written a poignant foreword for this book, encouraging us to take an unflinching look at ourselves to help ease this taboo.
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Toni Childs certainly gets it right in her foreword. This book is definitely "in-your-face". Like her, I applaud the courage of the women who have taken part in this project. And I applaud Philip Werner for producing this "daring, provocative and controversial book".
The book itself features anonymous pictures of 101 vaginas accompanied by intimate revelations in poetry or prose. We are offered personal insights into their vaginas from women with issues about the way it looks, a woman proud of her hairiness, a pregnant woman about to give birth, a girl about to insert her first tampon, a woman having her period, a woman who compares her sexual encounters with meals, a proud woman's poetic homage to her vagina, and many more.
The passages are well-written, honest, heart-felt, touching, and uplifting. Some are even humorous. This book does contain some confronting issues including masturbation, menstruation, sexual encounters, and alternative words for "vagina" which some may consider offensive. However, there is nothing overtly sexual about the text or the photos, which are taken front-on from a standing position in black and white. As one of the contributors states, "Nothing to be shy or ashamed about, rather something to celebrate and enjoy."
Through "101 Vagina", Werner invites viewers to discuss the vagina more comfortably. Werner hopes this will encourage women to feel more comfortable with their bodies, doing away with the need to alter appearances through cosmetic labiaplasty. Well, you have certainly made me more comfortable, Philip. Thank you.
I received this book in return for an honest review.
The 101 photographs are of unclothed mid-drifts. One simply sees frontal views of non-pornographic pubic areas including clitorises, abdomens, and thighs. Each photographed woman wrote her own thoughts and experiences with her sexuality ranging from shame, joy, celebration, and even forgiveness.
In a world where women's bodies are depicted in perfectly Photoshopped glossy magazines, 101 Vagina empowers women to realize their normalcy and accept the true human condition with love and compassion.
I am only disappointed that this book's exposure is limited by the financial resources necessary to publicize it internationally.