Bleached knickers to irregular periods: people share what they’ve learned from the Vagina Museum

From a clitoral-themed book club to exhibits demystifying the vagina, people have shared how the Vagina Museum has informed, changed and inspired them following its closure.  

There are not many places you can physically go to learn about vaginas. While the virtual world is awash with information, from essays to deep-dive YouTube videos and everything in between, actual spaces where we can look, see, feel and be physically present to learn about one of the most misunderstood parts of our bodies is a rarity.

The Vagina Museum, located in the heart of Camden, became just that when it opened in November 2019 as the world’s first brick-and-mortar museum dedicated to vaginas and provided a space to educate and explore them in a world that seems determined not to.

But in less than two years, this vital London space has been evicted from its Camden home, leaving many shocked and disappointed at the closure.

In a tweet on Friday, the Vagina Museum wrote: “Today, we handed back the keys to our first premises in Camden Market and officially moved out. This isn’t the end of the Vagina Museum – this is just the end of this chapter in our story.”

The closure of the museum followed a campaign to keep their doors open, which saw many discuss why the physical space has been so important and how its presence changed their view of their own vaginas – from periods, cramps, infertility, ovarian cysts to vulva diversity.

One woman revealed how she knew little about the “ins and outs of having a vagina” and how her visit to the museum resulted in a major revelation.

“There is little to no education in the school systems about all the ins and outs of having a vagina. I was an adult before I found out that bleached knickers were normal,” she tweeted.

Another agreed, writing: “YES. THIS. I finally told my doctor, who said don’t worry about it, so I didn’t, but It wasn’t until I saw the tweet with the underwear pic at the @vagina_museum that I realized that I was normal, not just particularly acidic. TWENTY YEARS LATER.”

“I was 30 when I learned that most teens have irregular periods and shouldn’t be shamed for spills,” another user added.

A 2019 study by YouGov found half of Brits didn’t know where the vagina is – 59% were men and 45% were women.

This statistic was reflected in the comments from those who said they learnt much about their gynaecological anatomy through the museum and further highlighted just how important it is.

“The fact that I learnt so much about my own anatomy while I was there seriously shocked me,” one tweeted.

“Not only that, but the visibility and attention VM pays to interdisciplinary history is absolutely vital.”

One user emphasised how the museum’s inclusivity of trans and non-binary people had a significant impact on them during their visit.

“Because I’ve never seen my anatomy depicted in a way which doesn’t directly conflict with my gender identity before, and at a time when the world is becoming more hostile to trans (including non-binary) people, this is vital and important.”

Another described how visiting the museum empowered her to speak up against the shocking treatment she faced by a gynaecologist.

“My last gyno pinched my inner thigh & patted my bottom. The one before that said “all women are filthy down there, it’s in their nature.” 

[email protected]_museum has made me much better equipped to raise holy f****** hell if anyone does that again.”

While the doors may be closed on the museum for now, virtual events will remain and the museum is actively looking for a new home.

To make a donation, visit the Vagina Museum website 

Image: Vagina Museum

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