I’ve been asked that many times since I started and it’s a valid question. To be honest I find it both important and empowering to give female genitalia more visibility. At the same time, I also believe a crocheted vulva can’t (or shouldn’t) come across as threatening to anyone, who might otherwise be uncomfortable by the mention of vulvas or vaginas (though strangely, many people are).
I was initially inspired by a large Christmas decoration my cousin had made out of coloured paper and glitter. It filled her entire window and represented… a vulva. Her creation impressed me and I found myself wanting a vulva Christmas decoration too, but one I could hang on a tree. So instead of crocheting yet another scarf, I made my first vulva and went on to crochet many more. I’m glad to say that, even though I have been met with a great deal of scepticism and incomprehension, there are people who like them, buy them and flaunt them.
We live in a world where female genitalia is still widely mislabelled, ignored and silenced. In 2019, a French TV advertisement for a brand of menstrual pads provoked outrage, petitions and calls for ban after showing ‘symbolic vulvas’ in the form of cupcakes, purses, shells, fruits, origami, etc. The ‘Viva la Vulva’ advertisement was described as being shocking and degrading to women. Interestingly enough the ad campaign mentioned “62% of women do not know how to correctly define a vulva and almost half of them think of theirs as being ‘not perfect’”. Not surprising considering how a simple vulva-shaped cupcake can come across as offensive, but it’s also not acceptable in this day and age.
The vulvas I crochet are symbolic. They are not anatomically correct, they are not ‘perfect’ and the colours are unlikely. The clitoris is represented by a little bell. Vulvas need a voice as well as visibility. That’s why I crochet vulvas.