Petal is a photographic series by Bex Day, created in celebration of the uniqueness of the vulva. Each vulva pictured in the collection is covered by either a single petal or flower to simultaneously reflect their shared qualities and individuality in an effort to dismantle the taboos that envelop female genitalia.
Colloquial terms for the vagina, including “pussy”, “cunt” and “gash”, have all been adopted as negatives in the English language; being used as insults, curses or as an insinuation of weakness or passivity. In society as we know it, the vagina has for too long been perceived as the lesser sexual organ, conceptualised not on its qualities but what it lacks in comparison to the penis. Even the word vagina itself evokes a squeamishness among many, highlighting the urgent need for a change of perspective.
Young children, especially people who are socialised and raised as female, are brought up to name their private parts “flower” and “foo-foo” among other diminutive names. This foundation has created a public misconception of what is considered a “normal” vagina, partially due to typecasting in porn and portrayals in mainstream media, but also the result of cultural censorship.
The shape, colour and size of each petal has been chosen by each individual featured to represent how they see their own vagina. The series aims to unify female, non-binary and female-identifying individuals by showing the similarities of their vaginas rather than focusing on what is considered different.
Spanning varying ages, races, genders, hair types, sizes and shapes, the series is a captivating and colourful compilation, with each image being accompanied by a message written by the subject about their own feelings about and experiences of their bodies.