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Vulva artwork takes over women’s public toilets for this reason

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Hollie Richardson
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Vulva feminist art in London

Illustrator Oliwia Bober has been busy painting beautiful vulvas on public toilet doors…

Nearly half of all male toilet cubicles in the UK have at least one penis doodle etched or drawn on them. (Sorry if that brought your breakfast back up.)

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to write quotes in their cubicles. In fact, a recent study showed that – out of 100 surveyed toilets - 74 pieces of advice or uplifting quotes were found in the women’s loos.

This begs the question: where are the vagina doodles?

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Research shows that 42% of women have felt embarrassed about their vulva, and 61% have felt pressurised for it to look a certain way. Given that exposure to pictures of a large variety of natural vulvas has been shown to positively affect genital self-image – a new project is using toilet art to celebrate the vulva.

The Viva La Vulva Bathroom Takeover will see beautiful vulva art come alive in popular London based locations who have granted permissions to replace the usual penis doodles we have become accustomed to.

For too long we have lived in a society that has projected a myth of the perfect vulva and fuelled insecurities that get in the way of women having a positive relationship with their bodies. The Takeover aims to celebrate the many different shapes and sizes of the vulva and help break down the taboos that hold women back.

vulva art
Feminist vulva art in the Queen of Hoxton, London

Running until 1 June at the Tara Theatre, Earlsfield, the Viva La Vula Bathroom Takeover comes as an extension of the “I’ll Say it Again” festival – a celebration of women’s voices through theatre, art and music. In place of the usual phallic doodles, the Bathroom Takeover will see renowned illustrator Oliwia Bober, known for her depictions of the female form, installing beautiful vulva art in all shapes and sizes across toilet walls and doors, representing that there is no such thing as a “normal vulva”. The artwork can now also be seen in the Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch.

Traci Baxter, marketing manager for Bodyform, commented: “It is our mission to break down the taboos that hold women back, so naturally we want to help women celebrate and own their bodies. With our Bathroom Takeover, taking place at select venues where permissions have been granted, we want to celebrate the female form to ensure every woman feels pride in her body. Without a positive relationship with the most intimate part of our body, we can’t have a positive relationship with ourselves.”

vagina art
Feminist art in public toilet cubicles

Illustrator Oliwia Bober added: “I’m so proud to be involved with the Viva La Vulva campaign with Bodyform and leading the charge for the Bathroom Takeover. Art is one of the most powerful tools for self-expression and the more we can raise awareness of the beautiful female form, the more women will feel empowered to celebrate their vulva and combat feelings of shame and embarrassment. This campaign is a fantastic example of Bodyform’s mission to help break down the taboos that hold women back.”

Images: Jack Lawson

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Hollie Richardson

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