Media Release: 5 October 2012
101 Vagina Pozible crowdfunding campaign launched to tackle body image taboo.
Melbourne photographer, Philip Werner, has launched a crowd-funding campaign (http://pozible.com/101vagina) to support the publication of a taboo smashing coffee table photo book.
Alarmed by the huge increase in labiaplasty which he sees as a manifestation of the taboo around women’s sexuality, Philip has produced the coffee-table photo book, simply called 101 Vagina, which presents 101 black and white photos of vaginas in all their various forms, each with a story by the woman concerned. The stories are candid and span the emotional gamut from raw to funny, from joyful to sad.
The book aims to help break down body image taboos, raise money for women’s charities and celebrate women’s bodies in all their diversity.
Philip was initially inspired by Eve Ensler’s book The Vagina Monologues and wanted to contribute to the causes she highlighted , for example the V-Day foundation and OneBillionRising campaign which are working to end violence against women and girls and has contacted V-Day to request permission to host a V-Day or V-Men event.
He decided to utilise his photographic skills to help people talk about body image issues, heal old wounds and prevent new ones. Thus 101 Vagina was born.
Over a period of two years he took photos of 101 volunteer subjects and collected their stories. The project has already sparked debate and helped its subjects and now Philip wants to publish it in coffee-table book format so it can have a wider effect.
“As a society we have such an unhealthy relationship with our bodies. Our sexuality is repressed and so many people carry deep shame about their body.
“I believe that sexual repression contributes to acts of rape, abuse and harassment. It also makes us easily manipulated into buying things we don’t need, the alarming increase in labiaplasty being the most glaring example.
“By tackling these taboos, the project allows a more open dialogue and helps us feel better about ourselves. Let’s not forget that sex should be about pleasure and joy.”
Five dollars from the sale of every book will also go to various women’s charities.
“Because I was first inspired by Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues so I wanted to give back to the causes she has highlighted.”
This Pozible crowd-funding campaign runs for about three months and needs to raise $20,000 for the first large print run to keep the cost per book down. People can pledge any amount from $1 upwards, and those pledging $50 (plus postage) or more will receive a copy of the book once it’s printed. Effectively it becomes a pre-order or the book, rather than a donation.
“The great thing with this Pozible campaign is that everybody wins. The project wins because it will enable the book to be printed, the supporters win because they will get the book as a reward, and various charities will win from the funds raised. Besides, once it hit’s retail stores it will more likely sell for around $70, so Pozible supporters will be getting a bargain”.
The Pozible campaign page includes a video where Philip and several participants talk about the project.
Visit the websites to see what it is all about and make your pledge to support the project!
For the Pozible campaign please visit:
And the main page is at:
Philip is available for interview or questions through:
“My Viking Vagina
It’s such a pity this book is in black and white. I am a redhead and my pubic hair is a rich, red gold, thick and curly and abundant, unique.
Back in high school the boys would ask if I had ‘red pubes’. Protecting myself from the taunting that arises from any kind of difference, I would lie and respond, “Of course not, it’s black, just like yours”. They seemed satisfied with my answer and the questions stopped.
Then, in art class there was a girl who’d moved to our country town from Canada. She was mature, street wise, creative and brilliant. For her painting project she decided to paint three naked women.
Of the three huge canvases, the first displayed a woman who was skinny and black, with tribal adornments about her hips and pert breasts. The second was a Mediterranean woman, with voluptuous curves and long black hair.
The third painting was my undoing. She was round and pink-skinned like a piglet, with a nest of tight fire-truck red curls embellishing her head, and her pubic mound. I was devastated in being outed in this way. I can’t remember the taunts afterward, but god I hated her for her thoughtless act of exposure.
Now, far beyond the pain of adolescence, I can celebrate my uniqueness. I just wish that I could now display it in this book in all its glory… just one page in colour??”
Help end violence against women and girls. http://onebillionrising.org/
I just signed up to this campaign, no hesitation.
It was The Vagina Monologues after all that first inspired me to do this project. The author, Eve Ensler, founded the V-Day foundation, who are running this campaign.
I have contacted them to see if I can host a V-Day event in conjunction with the book launch and exhibition, will see if they are up for that.
Check it out and sign up.
“8th of May, 2011
This piece is dedicated to – the beauty of my vagina. :)
The potential violence/ power/ debilitation of self-consciousness:
I didn’t start becoming self-conscious of my vagina until I had wanted to be sexually intimate with boys. Suddenly I had a whole new perspective of my vagina – the critical eye had awoken. It looked uglier and darker, and the labia minoras were larger than I had remembered. I agonised over this for weeks, not allowing my boyfriend to touch me or see my vagina as I tried to sort out what to do – the situation needed to be “fixed”, clearly not accepted.
Because I was fairly ashamed, I didn’t feel I could talk to anyone else; I was debilitated, stuck in my own despair and unease.
One desperate night I had the urge to pick up the scissors, head to the bathroom and try to chop my labia minoras back, to trim them short and neat, like my labia majoras. I sat there agonizing over the procedure, balancing the possibilities of: how easy it would be, how much it would hurt and how desperate I was.
…I spent several hours there, for several nights over the space of several months.
Each time, I would begin to cut into the skin, feeling the cold metal against my soft flesh and realising the pain I was going to inflict on myself – there had to be another way! I wasn’t aware of labial reconstruction, even if I was, I probably would have been too embarrassed to admit the supposed imperfection.
Thus, as our relationship continued, I continued to hide my vagina, not allowing him to touch or see it, even the first time we made love. This ashamedness continued on less severely through a relationship with another boy who openly and lovingly praised my vagina and its beauty, however, I had not found it in myself to love and cherish it.
However, with time, I have come to appreciate, and open to the wonders of my vagina because of the beauty, pleasure, sacredness and transcendental experiences she embodied and can offer me at any time. The external expectations and images in my mind of what a vagina should be like have faded away. I have moved away from the dis-ease and towards beginning to realise the vastness of feminine beauty.
I now look at my vagina with awe, gratitude and reverence – she is truly amazing.
However, I still have so far to go on the path of honouring, revering and listening to her. Viva la vagina!”
101 Vagina made it into The Australian today, a glorious 19 whole words worth!
And I was interviewed by MX Brisbane, who will pass the story to Sydney and Melbourne MX also, for a possible article in the next few days. The woman I spoke to there said that MX have a bit more freedom to cover quirky stories than the main stream news papers, so it seems this is right up their ally :)
The Australian mention reads:
PRESS release heading of the day: “101 Vagina – Taboo smashing coffee table book – Seeking participants.” Don’t panic, It’s art.”
Here is a scan below, ignore the other articles.