Idea, Conception, Organisation: © Kerstin Rajnar

The discussion of visualizing feminism reaches back a couple of years and allowed /still allows numerous interesting approaches which offer some solutions. However, although a lot has been done already, concepts regarding female sex and a resulting, positive self-understanding for the own female sexuality still could not be anchored. Fear, shyness, shame and amusement often are recognisable features connected to the female gender. In an indirect way it is obvious that this behaviour has an impact on the personality of women.

„Somehow each humilitation of a female is ultimately symbolized within a kind of sexuality for which a woman is made responsible for and burdened with shame. And the word is not fuck, rather cunt. This is the source of female self-contempt: the knowledge that we are "pussies" [1]
(translated by Daniela Lesner)

According to Naomi Wolf, these negatively occupied terms trigger pressure in a woman's brain. This stress does not only inhibit the excitability and lubrication of a woman but also to give birth to a child and breastfeed it. Being stressed sexually over an on-holding period means that other areas of a woman's life successively can turn bad as well. This pressure inhibits the release of dopamine which consequently inhibits the further release of substances in the brain which are important for self-confidence, creativity, faith ... and particularly are of weight in the case a woman has to compete with the polluter on an academic or professional level. This found approval in the outcome of a study published in 2005: Effects of Stress on Female Rat Sexual Functions.

"It seems as if our female sex was separated from us, is something cut out of our own control. It is negatively occupied, porno-graphed or seen as dirty. But the truth is that it belongs to us such as our hands, our lips or our mind" [2]
(translated by Daniela Lesner)

This separation already took place a long time ago. As Naomi Wolf described in her book "Vagina: A New Biography" the pelvic nerves of women are not protected the same way as those of a man and that's why she physically is much more vulnerable.The Frank Netter images show how highly complex thick nerve cords reach from the pelvis up to the brain. Neurotransmitters send signals from the clitoris, vagina, cervix ... up the spinal cord and finally reach the hypothalamus and the brain stem. This internal electrical nervous network is that strong and powerful that it inevitably sends impulses: bottom up and top down. A traumatization of the vagina leaves deep traces in the female brain and conditions and shapes the body and mind of a woman. And so - I assert - it also works the other way round.

"Another problem is shame. Shame has a direct effect on the lower female energy centers and on internal organs, including the uterus and ovaries. Shame often is the result of a social programming that declares women to be inferior, but can also be the result of family relations, such as unhealthy relationships with the children or a social status of the partner that is too low in their eyes. Shame due to a physical, emotional or psychological rape affects the area of the vagina. Research gives evidence of these energy problems."[2]
(translated by Daniela Lesner)

My approach to eliminate those injuries is to positively visualize the female sex. It will take another time, but as the pornographic image disappears, a woman is allowed to shine in her splendour magnificence and power.

"Because that word is either so tabooed or surrounded with negative connotations or draped in shame or medicalised, it's really important to take it back." [3]
(Naomi Wolf *1962, US-American author and political activist / Vagina: A New Biography, 2012)

The first contently elaborated focus of the virtual VAGINAMUSEUM.at is devoted to the representation of the female sex organs within ART and CULTURE.

The opening exhibition VAGINA 2.0 in the virtual gallery of VAGINAMUSEUM.at deals with the confrontation of current terms and subjective meanings of the female sex organs. A commonly used term for the physical female gender in its' entirety seems not to exist. More often only individual parts, the vagina or the vulva, are mentioned. These generalizing terms correspond to the title of the virtual opening exhibition.
VAGINA 2.0 - The Virtual Opening Exhibition >>

The first contribution ART HISTORY in the virtual ARCHIVE of VAGINAMUSEUM.at presents an art-historical overview of the of the representation of the female sex, starting with the European Paleolithic age up to present art, using exemplary samples. Epoch-textes serve as an introduction. With different weighting they offer information about political and cultural events as well, regarding the role of women and stylistic features related to art as well. The pieces of art of the epochs were chosen exemplarily and do not claim to be complete. They illustrate the style of time and serve as a document of the individual development steps.
ART HISTORY - An art historical overview of the representation of the female sex >>

(Translation: D. Lesner)