I’ll clear this up right away – it’s a vagina museum. I know. I had no idea the world was in need of such a place, but obviously I’m out of touch, or something. The new Vagina Museum in Camden market, north London opens this weekend.
Your first question is probably the same as mine – Why? As it turns out, there is a penis museum in Reykjavik, Iceland. Its official name is Iceland’s Phallological Museum. Florence Schechter, upon discovering the existence of that museum, decided the ladies needed one, too. Schechter is a biochemistry graduate who presents science-based documentaries, podcasts and comedy shows to the public. Curator Sarah Creed, with ten years of experience of museum work in the U.K., was surprised to learn from a March 2019 survey that half of Britons cannot identify female genitalia or the functions of these parts of the female anatomy. In particular, the fact that “half of Britons could not identify or describe the function of the urethra (58%), the labia (47%) or vagina (52%)” was worrisome to her.
For curator Creed, who has 10 years of experience in museums in the U.K., those numbers were far higher than she ever thought they would be, particularly from respondents of the survey who identified as female. “That’s what really spurred me on to think about how we can take it forward and do more activities and workshops.” Initially conceived of as a pop-up, the Vagina Museum ended up getting its first long-term home after a successful crowdfunding appeal. It has a rich events program planned, ranging from plays about enjoying sex while living with the medical condition of vaginismus, to a dinner in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, an internationally-observed day each year in memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. “We’ve also got a Christmas crafting workshop where you can make baubles, or make a clitoris star for your tree,” Schechter adds.
Now we’re getting to a little more clarification, right? This isn’t really about educating the general public on female anatomy, it is about promoting the LGBTQ agenda, isn’t it? This is 2019 and everything must include a social agenda. The intention of the museum is to “destigmatize” the female body and educate about female health. They do rightfully point out that some women avoid medical treatment due to various reasons, including embarrassment. And they are using humor in their displays. I won’t describe the exhibits – it’s a bit much for my taste – but the word “quirky” can be used. Your imagination can take it from there.
Clearly, the subject of abortion weighs in with these women, too. They would like to bring their museum to the U.S. but fret about our “backward” abortion laws. The same holds for Northern Ireland. In Great Britain, abortion is usually allowed up to 24 weeks.
While the lease at the Vagina Museum’s current location is for two years, the eventual goal is to create a permanent museum space with a permanent collection, although Schechter says that will take several years and significant funding. She’s also looking to other parts of the world where the Vagina Museum might make an impact. “I would obviously love to do a pop-up in the U.S. for many reasons, especially considering that it’s a very developed country and yet its abortion laws are very backward. I’d love to do one in Northern Ireland too.” Schechter also says that the museum has had several enquiries from Indian journalists asking whether the country, which has experienced its own #MeToo reckoning, would be ready for a museum centered around a historically taboo subject. Indeed one of the museum’s exhibits is a medical pathology textbook from India used to teach forensic science students, with a table showing the apparent characteristics of a “true virgin” and a “false virgin.”
Just to drive home the social agenda, the curator makes a point of speaking to the commitment to the LGBTQ community.
Creed said: “We are an LGBTQ+ ally and an intersex ally … Intersex and trans individuals are not represented at all in this narrative. We are looking at how we can engage all people. I want cis heterosexual men to come here and feel it is a space for them to come and learn.
Traditional museums aren’t enough anymore, it seems. The museum’s founder, Ms. Schechter, says that social justice issues must be discussed in connection to education. You will be made to conform.
The museum also makes a point of challenging gender norms and cisnormative ideas, displaying the words “if you have a vagina, then you are a woman” as one of the myths in the current exhibition.
“Museums are used to symbolize community values,” says Schechter. “What’s interesting about these museums is that we’re responding to a social change that is happening, where we are caring more about ethics, values and principles, and throwing off the shackles of previous hierarchies of classism, misogyny and homophobia. We’re trying to live these values and say we should have a society based on them.”
This museum is the product of modern feminism and its greatest mistake – reducing women to the sum total of their reproductive organs. Women are pawns in the political agenda of abortion and that of sexuality. The woke world insists that gender and sexuality are fluid, though real science shows us that we are all born with certain chromosomes that determine our gender at birth. A man who is surgically altered is still not a woman. A woman surgically altered is still not a man. No amount of museum exhibits will change that basic scientific fact. Feelings do not override facts in the scientific world.