Written by Tina Seiferling @tinascarfacerling
I’ve always identified as a feminist; pro choice, equal rights, women in the workforce, destroy the patriarchy style feminist. I was raised by a single mother who ensured that I grow up to be a strong, confident woman and to never have to rely on anyone else. It was recently when a friend mentioned that statistically more of our friends have suffered sexual abuse than not, a statistic which was shockingly real for myself and those around me, that I realised I still had much to learn.
I wanted to create art that empowered women, that showed the female form in different ways. The vulva, such a complex body part, shunned and mutilated in some cultures; blessed and treated as Royal in others is something I was drawn to. A thing of beauty and strength, power and love and yet some women still have no control over what is done to them, despite it being such a wonderful body part which can help bring life and joy. A part of the female figure which, to some, is disgusting, vile, evil. Something to be treated with disdain, something that lures faithful men like a bewitching temptress, even if its wearer is a child.
There are women who still suffer from the cultural “Rite of passage” known as female circumcision, where their clitoris is removed and their vulvas sewn together as to symbolise purity. Some of these practices take place when the girl is 10 days old. Those who live through the gruelling healing period suffer a lifetime of complications.
During WW2, Nazi Germany developed the Lebensborn program where German women were Made to have sex with soldiers and help create the ‘Master Race’ demanded by Adolph Hitler. Some women found this empowering, others felt like baby making machines, their bodies used like a tool in a factory to create a child they will never get to care for.
Some cultures have viewed female genitalia as symbols of wisdom and fertility, ancient statues showing vulvas opened up to demand attention and power where these images of womanhood represent growth, nurture and strength.
My art pieces are inspired by all of these different relationships with the female form. Portraits of vulvas which show that every woman is different yet every one of us is beautiful, that our bodies are to be celebrated, not shunned or hidden away. That we are beings of great power and that we should be in control of our bodies as that is our right and we should not feel ashamed.
Women have fought for so long, some still have to continue to fight every day, I wanted to show that our bodies deserve respect, that they are ours. That what our sisters of the past had to endure and suffer through throughout time was not in vain, that one day we will be able to look upon society and see all people as truly equal.
Do you have a story you want to share? Are you creative trying to smash taboos with your artwork/design/writing? We'd love to share your work! Email email@example.com