When I was first approached to review this book, my initial reaction was, "No!" But I calmed down and had a look at the material Philip Werner sent me. The more I saw and read, the more I was determined that I had to feature this book. Philip kindly sent me a hardback copy of the book for review. It is exquisite. A pristine white cover with only the words "101 Vagina". The pages are thick, smooth, and glossy. Simply turning the pages is an experience in itself. Even the dedication is beautiful: "Dedicated to our bodies and our sexuality, our deepest desires and most delicate vulnerability."
Toni Childs certainly gets it right in her foreword. This book is definitely "in-your-face". Like her, I applaud the courage of the women who have taken part in this project. And I applaud Philip Werner for producing this "daring, provocative and controversial book".
The book itself features anonymous pictures of 101 vaginas accompanied by intimate revelations in poetry or prose. We are offered personal insights into their vaginas from women with issues about the way it looks, a woman proud of her hairiness, a pregnant woman about to give birth, a girl about to insert her first tampon, a woman having her period, a woman who compares her sexual encounters with meals, a proud woman's poetic homage to her vagina, and many more.
The passages are well-written, honest, heart-felt, touching, and uplifting. Some are even humorous. This book does contain some confronting issues including masturbation, menstruation, sexual encounters, and alternative words for "vagina" which some may consider offensive. However, there is nothing overtly sexual about the text or the photos, which are taken front-on from a standing position in black and white. As one of the contributors states, "Nothing to be shy or ashamed about, rather something to celebrate and enjoy."
Through "101 Vagina", Werner invites viewers to discuss the vagina more comfortably. Werner hopes this will encourage women to feel more comfortable with their bodies, doing away with the need to alter appearances through cosmetic labiaplasty. Well, you have certainly made me more comfortable, Philip. Thank you.
I received this book in return for an honest review.