Hilde Atalanta illustrates vulvas in all shapes and colors to encourage people to accept diversity and promote sexual education.
The Dutch illustrator and painter started The Vulva Gallery, a site and Instagram where she posts one illustrated vulva each day to celebrate all the shapes, sizes, and differences in women’s anatomy.
Atalanta says the idea came to her after she learned about a nearly 40% rise in labiaplasty, a vaginal surgery to reduce the size of a woman’s labia.
“I noticed that representations of vulvas in the mainstream media often lack in diversity, and that there aren’t many people who speak openly about genital diversity,” she stated.
Her goal is to educate people about women’s anatomy and body diversity, which she says aren’t included in typical sex ed. She says the feedback from women has been “incredible” and has even prevented women from getting labiaplasty.
Many women have also been sharing their vulva stories to be featured on The Vulva Gallery and spreading messages of self-love.
“With all of these individuals, body diversity wasn’t part of their sexual health education, and an open conversation about the appearance of their vulva (either with a friend or close person) wasn’t possible,” said Atalanta. “I feel that with improving sexual health education, we’re able to change this. Body diversity should be a basic ingredient of sexual health education.”