This Instagram Of Things That Look Like Vaginas (But Aren't) Celebrates How Awesome Our Ladyparts Are
Instagram is filled with selfies, food pictures, and now... vaginas? It will be, if the founders of the Instagram account Look at This Pussy have their way. Look at This Pussy features pictures of objects that look like vaginas — but the key thing is that they're not vaginas. Instead, they're everything from cowboy hats to ocean caves, and they do something absolutely amazing: They bring vaginas to the forefront of the Internet in an incredibly creative way, highlighting not only how awesome vaginas are, but also how so many things resemble our anatomy in ways we never would have thought (paging Georgia O'Keeffe).
The Instagram account was created by Eva Sealove and Chelsea Jones, two friends based in Los Angeles who wanted to normalize the vagina on social media. “I wanted to create a space where people can feel like ‘it’s normal to feel like this’ or ‘it’s normal that I look like this.’ Everything is a pussy and everything about a pussy is beautiful," Jones told Bullet Magazine.
Sealove and Jones are making such a bold statement in an altogether unapologetic way — so is Look at This Pussy a form of activism? "I'm not sure either of us feel comfortable identifying as 'activists,'" Sealove told Bustle in an email; however, she also noted that "it's disruptive, certainly, aggressive at moments, but the humor is there for balance." Jones added to this, acknowledging that their social media platform has become a sort of "megaphone" — although she also said that the inspiration behind their project hit a lot closet to home. "What inspired us to start this account was our friendship, really, as a thing to bring us joy and make us laugh. It's a deeply personal project, so it touches on some heavier things and addresses cultural inequalities," said Jones.
The obvious question that comes up when thinking about Look at This Pussy is whether the project is intentionally feminist, especially given some of the captions pegged to the images — like the one above, which I would argue gets right to the heart of vagina love. According to Sealove, the project is "feminist insofar as we are females speaking from the female experience and looking critically at the 'givens' and the 'shoulds' to which females are subject"; but at the same time, we should be careful about drawing conclusions that are too far-reaching from it. Said Sealove to Bustle, "This feminism doesn't have a wave — it's about the collective experience but doesn't claim to speak for anybody but ourselves." Jones also emphasized how feminism is more nuanced than in the past and that they probably fit into this mold, but that they didn't necessarily intend to. "You can certainly call LATP feminist, and we're okay with that, but haven't set out to really brand it as so... it's more just females coming from a female experience."
I also wondered if they considered their work to be sex positive; in addition to the fact that they clearly want to get vaginas out from the shame and the hiding that they're so often forced into, many of the captions also talk about sex and pleasure. As it turns out, Sealove and Jones both feel strongly about Look at This Pussy being a sex positive project. "An intention of LATP is to establish a more concrete awareness of the basic functions and needs of a vagina, especially with regard to sex, in a concise way that's funny," Jones told Bustle.
Sealove also explained how they're taking away the stigma around these body parts, while still acknowledging the sexual pleasure they can bring. In a way, it does the work of de-sensitizing people to the female anatomy...but that doesn't deny the inherently sexual aspect of the anatomy. LATP addresses sexuality on the same plane as identity and subjectivity rather than separating the two."
I can clearly see why this work matters, and so do the almost 10,000 others who are following their account; however, it's possible that critics might point to the project as frivolous or a distraction from more "important" issues. But Jones beautifully illustrated how LATP creates human connection, which is where its significance lies: "We're pushing a message that we're all humans with similar ingrained needs, and the main goal is respect. If we're the impetus for any one person feeling nice about themselves, or feeling less alone, then I think it's incredibly important," she said to Bustle.
Sealove and Jones' profile on Bullet Magazine discussed their pushback against censorship, and I wondered how Look at This Pussy fell into the issue of censorship on social media as a whole: Was it created as a protest? We certainly know that female anatomy is constantly being censored on social media, with nipples, breastfeeding, and pubic hair all having been grounds for account termination on a huge variety of platforms. Sealove says it's not the actual acts being censored that's the problem — it's the social principles behind it: "The censorship problem isn't that we can't post upskirt selfies on Instagram. The problem with censorship is the climate of shame, the unquestioned adherence to an old model that tells you your body is disgusting, shameful, or dangerous," she said.
Jones agreed. "I think the problem with censorship is perpetuating that the female body is an object, fetishized, and shamed," she said. "We're both very pro-selfie and self-representation, and I think part of LATP seizes representation while engaging with some of the language that breaks it down to begin with."
I'm really impressed by these eloquent women and the creative way they're talking back to culture. If you want to see even more of their work and even follow their account, you can find Look at This Pussy on Instagram.
Images: LookatThisPussy/Instagram (5)