For centuries society has perpetuated a distorted portrayal of women’s bodies to serve the needs of those in power – usually men.
And there is no greater example of this than the representation of the vagina.
Lying at the core of sexuality, birth and life, the vagina has been the subject of systemic misrepresentation in western culture, most recently through the air-brushing of labia in film, television, online and print media.
The result is what some have referred to as ‘vagina shame’ – a phenomenon that is expressed in numerous ways, from insecurity about being naked to seeking invasive, expensive labiaplasty surgery in a bid to ‘conform’.
But there are those who are seeking to break down the shame and misrepresentations of the vagina and to help women embrace their sexuality.
One of them is local woman Georgie Moon.
Ms Moon is running a series of free workshops in Pottsville that will provide women with a safe space to explore issues around anatomy and sexuality.
The workshops are a gentle introduction to these topics and do not involve women exposing their bodies.
‘I think that as a society we’ve lost the idea that there’s a diversity of body types and shapes and that vaginas are part of that,’ Ms Moon says.
‘Women also don’t feel safe to talk about them, what we do with them, or how they work.
‘But there is an alternative to that. When women feel good about their bodies and their sexuality they are empowered. There is a real sacred strength in embracing that part of ourselves.’
Some of Ms Moon’s work is based on the Chuluaqui Quodoushka – a collection of theories developed and promoted by the Deer Tribe Medicine Society, a shamanic movement with a lineage that dates back to 1250BC .
‘It breaks down this very homogenised view of what vaginas are supposed to look like – this idea that there are no external labia, nothing protruding, and that they are all the same,’ Ms Moon says.
‘In the workshop we look at the nine different vagina types and the different characteristics that they have – from shape and size to different types of stimulation involved.’
The language used is an important part of this, with Ms Moon actively breaking away from the classic scientific language used to describe anatomy.
‘I feel so divorced from scientific language and definitions,’ she says.
‘Not only were some of the parts of female anatomy named by men, but they are defined purely in terms of reproductive function completely divorced from women’s sexuality.’
In addition to exploring the vagina, the workshops will look at menstruation, rites of passage, and nurturing and self care.
So passionate is Ms Moon about the cause of helping women to explore and understand their sexual selves that she has committed to running as many free workshops as local women want up until the end of the year, as long as each workshop has at least eight participants.
‘I feel very strongly that this needs to get out there and I’m committed to being part of that,’ she says.
‘It upsets me that sometimes people miss out on education because they can’t afford the price of a workshop or an offering.’
Ms Moon with be running workshops on Tuesday 18th and Sunday 23rd September from 8.45am – 5pm at her home in Pottsville.
For more info or to book a place or talk about being part of another workshop before the end of the year, contact Ms Moon at [email protected] or on 0421 425 022.