This time Laura Dodsworth’s project-Womanhood is to help women and transwomen to not feel ashamed of other people’s idea of how a perfect vulva looks like.
Previously, in Bare Reality and Manhood, Dodsworth photographed and interacted with various people and discussed about their breasts and their penises, respectively (both stories featured in Weekend magazine).
The photographer has labelled the series as an “unexpected triptych”; she had no clue that the project would take this direction at the start.
But the more Dodsworth thought about capturing women’s vulvas, the more necessary she felt it was.
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One was about female genital mutilation.
When she read about women around the world having FGM, she felt sick. She read a news story about girls as young as nine asking UK doctors for labiaplasty.
Then there was a description in a health leaflet of the vagina as a “front hole” – she was taken aback by the inaccurate and harmful language.
Finally, after being hailed as a champion for men, Dodsworth wanted to move on.
Keeping up with her feminist nature by not being ignorant towards women and vulvas.
Cocks are right there at the front. They are visible, whereas vulvas aren’t. If you’re a straight woman, you don’t see many.Laura Dodsworth
It is undeniably a part of the body that we know relatively little about.
Dodsworth’s vulva shoots were a very different experience from Manhood.
For majority of women, being photographed was the first time they had looked at this part of their body in close detail.
I feel like men were revealing themselves to a woman, in a sympathetic space. This time, women were revealing themselves to themselves. Some women were shaking, asking me if they were normal.Laura Dodsworth
‘The doctor said labiaplasty would definitely help me’: 30, one child
When I masturbated when I was younger I used to loathe it when my clitoris got greater – I thought it resembled a penis. I felt extremely reluctant. I thought my labia were too large also. I even wondered I had half male and half female parts.
I didn’t converse with anybody about these feelings of trepidation. I must be flushed to have intercourse; I was tanked my first time. I didn’t realize that I’d done it until the following morning, when he said I needed to get a next day contraceptive.
From that time on, I gave the partner the authority to do what they needed, however I never let anyone give me pleasure.
I figured the zone of the vagina should resemble the ones that I’d found in pornography on the web, and they looked the definite perfect inverse to mine. Pornography made me feel awful in a wide range of ways: my weight, my boobs, my vagina.
I viewed a narrative that discussed pornography stars who were having activities to make their labia smaller. I understood it was something you could have done and I went to my gynae and had somewhat of a breakdown.
I think it was a truly low day. The expert I saw said that labiaplasty would support me, however it wouldn’t be done on the NHS.
He alluded me to a private specialist. That persuaded me that I required it. Prior to the system, they gave me some desensitizing cream.
I was alert all through. He infused soporific into the labia and up into my base and afterward simply cut away. I lay there speculation how much better my life would be thereafter.
As a general rule, my labia were presumably very little bits of skin, however to me they felt like huge elephant’s ears.
My recuperation was horrendous. I thought I’d have seven days off work and I wound up requiring two.
It was so swollen, I couldn’t walk. Presently, I feel significantly progressively comfortable everyday, taking a seat, folding my legs in pants, the sort of clothing that I can wear.
My labia used to be droopy, wrinkly, dark colored, balancing bits of skin. Presently there’s nothing there and I feel more clean. I feel more joyful.
Regardless I wish I could be progressively certain and amazing. I’m endeavoring to quit stressing over what other individuals consider me. I need to discover who the genuine me is because I still don’t know at 30.
The stories told in Womanhood are vast (irrespective of the fact that there are few women of colour, which Dodsworth puts down, in part, to cultural taboos, as participants self-selected).
The vulva is often seen just as a site of sexual activity. But we talked about so many areas that aren’t ‘sexy’ – periods, menopause, infertility, miscarriage, abortion, pregnancy, birth, cancer.”Laura Dodswroth
Follow Laura Dodsworth on Twitter @BareReality to learn more about her up coming ventures and Womanhood.