What Do You Think About My Flying Vulvas?

botanical

Maria, since your Vulva Potholders I have been seeing them (vulva, not potholders] everywhere! This is an antique botanical painting of Indigofera Tinctoria.” 

This was the message I got, with the photo of the antique botanical painting,  from Karen.

Vulva’s do seem to be in so many places in nature, beside women’s bodies.
When I looked at this botanical, I thought of some of the women and men who saw my potholders and decals as disgusting.   I wondered if they would think this flower disgusting or shameful.
And then I wondered what the difference is.
All I could come up with is our history of seeing women’s bodies as something to be admired and ashamed of, at the same time.
Last night on the way home from Bellydancing I heard an interview on the radio with golfer and writer,  Anya  Alvarez.  She wrote an article about how women professional athletes have a different dress code and standards then men.
She said:
“… we also see this happening in society where women are told to be feminine but don’t be too provocative because you don’t want to sexualize yourself too much. But then they’re also being put in positions where they feel like they do have to sexualize themselves. So they’re constantly walking this tightrope and being criticized from all different directions no matter what they do.”
It didn’t occur to me when I made my Flying Vulva Decals that some women wouldn’t want to put them on their cars or in other public places.  But I’m seeing that many people don’t feel comfortable with this statement of women’s freedom and power.
I think some of the confusion comes from just what Alvarez is talking about.  Walking that tightrope of wanting to be who we are, and express ourselves freely,  but feeling like we don’t want to “over do it”.  We don’t want to be “one of those women.”
Joan told me that  as much as she likes what my Flying Vulva stands for,  she sees  it as divisive.   Putting it on her car could be polarizing from her neighbors who may feel differently.
I think this speaks directly to the climate of our country, and our increasing inability to have open and civil discussions about the things we disagree about.
My Flying Vuvla also  makes some people uncomfortable because it’s a representation of a woman’s sex organ.
But really, it’s far from an anatomically correct image of a vulva.  For one thing, it has wings!
To me it’s a  beautiful and powerful symbol.  In the same vein as the ancient goddess art found on pottery and in statue form all over the world.  Except that my Flying Vulva is of our time, incorporating the feminist movements of the past hundred and fifty years or so.
In her message to me on Etsy after buying a Flying Vulva Decal and Potholder ,  Anne wrote….”Finally I’m getting the flying vulva decal and potholder. Maybe I needed courage to do it? I am just drawn to the power in this.”
Yes, it takes courage to stand up for what you believe in.  It takes courage to tell our truth and put it out into the world.
My Flying Vuvla is not an attack on anyone.  It’s a statement of women’s freedom,strength and power, in a world where women have  been seen and treated as less then men instead of as equal human beings.
I’m curious to know how you feel?  Would you put a Flying Vulva Decal on your car or somewhere else in your home?  (Lori is putting it in her kitchen window).  Do you see it as an empowering symbol or something else?
I’ve already had some very civil and interesting conversations with people I agree and disagree with,  I’d love to have more…..
You can see and buy my Flying Vulva Decals here in my Etsy Shop .
A Flying Vulva Decal (and Army of Good bumpersticker) on Becca’s car.

20 thoughts on “What Do You Think About My Flying Vulvas?

  1. Advocating for “women’s freedom, strength, and power” has my full support of course! The flying vulva decals are well designed and beautiful. However, at 68, I’m much older than you and must admit that I’m uncomfortable with the vulva as a representative image of feminine power. Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings were sexually evocative and beautiful. I suppose it depends if this is about sexual freedom or the strength and power of the female gender. I’m obviously confused about the precise point of the vulva decals. I am always in awe of your creative imagination though!

    I liked the strong image of “Rosie the Riveter” posters, the cultural icon of WWII, and had one up in “our” workshop in our last house.

    1. Hazel, thanks for your thoughts. I wonder how Rosie the Riveter was accepted when she first appeared,if a lot of men and women were uncomfortable with the image. I know Okeeffe constantly denied that her flowers were in any way sexual or relating to the female body. (not to say it isn’t true, just that she denied it) My flying vulva’s look back to ancient goddess representions of the vulva. A time when women had power. But it’s a conglomeration of many different things, some of the historic and political and some personal. For me they are a symbol of women’s freedom strength and power in what ever part of their life they feel it is needed. It might be sexual, or in their relationships or in their work.

  2. Hi Maria,

    Thanks for asking. My view on post modern feminism is that it is polarizing, so I don’t relate to the flying vulva. I do relate to freedom and unfortunately, when I think of a stylized vulva on my car, I feel uncomfortable because I don’t feel free enough to display that symbol. Why? Programming from the nuns and my mother. When I was a kid Gloria must have told me ten times a day, “Act like a lady.” My guess is that the people who find the flying vulva disgusting have body shame issues from deep and damaging things that happened to them as children.

    Janet

    1. Janet, I know body shame is a big part of it for me. So much so that I know it’s one of the factors that went into me making the flying vulvas and decals. For me a part of overcoming that. I know I wouldn’t have been able to make flying vulvas or put them on my car a few years ago.

  3. This is very interesting. I am 81 years old and have been an active fighter for women’s causes for most of my life.
    These drawings and needle works make me squirm. I don’t care for them but I don’t know why? Now, my 73 year old husband entirely approves of them. I continue to think about this: most of your work makes me thoughtful and a very good thing too!

    Meanwhile I love, love the pillow and pot holders I have bought from you in the past.

    1. I appreciate your writing Erika. And I find too find your reaction and your husbands interesting. I do like that it’s got both you and me thinking. That’s always a good thing. Most of my art so public or as direct as the Flying Vulva, so it’s understandable on that level that it may not be what people are used to me doing. to me it seems a natural progression, but it may be jolting in some ways. Not that I think that’s a bad thing, but it’s just the truth of it. Thanks for getting me thinking….

  4. I wish I had the courage to put a flying vulva on our car, but as much as I support what it stands for, I don’t. It would be seen where I live as improper and in bad taste, but so would something that looked like a penis with wings. (I live in a small town in the South where people are very conservative, religious, and provincial.). I applaud you for creating them and those who have bought them and do display them; I just couldn’t do it myself.

  5. I…I..I still am not quite sure what to make of all of those vulvas. Lol. I am an old woman of 67 and so I suppose it might be my age that makes me hesitate on this. I still think you are quite brave about all of these.

    1. Hazel, I approve the comments on my blog before they’re published. So it make a take a day of them to go up. I usually check them once or twice a day, and not on Saturday. It’s my on-line day off. Thanks for asking about it.

  6. Maria,

    I love it. I laud your courage in doing this.

    It’s about time. As a man I feel like it also liberates me.

    Thank you for doing this.

    1. Oh it so good to hear from a man about this Tony. Thanks so much for commenting. It’s interesting how you find it liberating. I think so many men are threatened or embarrassed just talking about, not only women’s power, but vulvas too.

  7. Hey, my first comment on your site! Your question intrigued me, so I thought I’d respond.

    For me, I always appreciate what I see as “activism” because I think it is a necessary part of moving society forward. So I admire people who go public with whatever cause they feel strongly about. It might be racial equality or gender equality or economic equality. But there is also a part of me that feels uncomfortable about what I see as excessive “in your face”-ness. So, I have both appreciation and discomfort. I’m always a bit more comfortable once the activism has achieved its goal and we can back off again. Of course this usually takes years and years, even decades.

    Personally I am not one who wants to take such visible positions on things, so I would not put a flying vulva on my vehicle. My own passion has more to do with economic equality, but even in that area I don’t put visible “statements” on my car, such as a bumper sticker to “buy Fairtrade”. I think this is because my feeling is that when you make such a public statement, you invite argument from strangers, and personally I don’t want to do that. I’d rather talk about my views in conversation with people with whom I already have relationships.

    So my feeling about your flying vulvas is this: I appreciate your message and it is a very necessary message. I like the simple but powerful image you have created to communicate the message. I like that it stimulates conversation about gender equality. At the same time, I would not personally display it myself. ☺️

    By the way, I don’t live in your country

  8. Wow! A second entry from me. My Chain of Hearts plant has just begun to flower again and I find it so lovable that the blooms look exactly like male sexual organs. I love watching friends notice this and gulp. Why doesn’t this give me pause I wonder?

    1. It the word lovable that strikes me Erika. Some things are easier to love than others. I’m smiling imagining you watching your friends when they see your Chain of Hearts.

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