Whilst in Berlin I had the chance to finally meet face to face Grit Scholz, the photographer and publisher of the Book “Das Tor ins Leben” (The Gate to Life). Grit has photographed 65 Vaginas of all shapes and sizes for her ground-breaking book and I interviewed her for my Forum article on vaginas. She was motivated to publish her book because:
“There is a lack of knowledge what vaginas really look like. Women feel often uneasy about their vaginas because there are insecurities, shame and fear related to our sex.”
Grit believes that cultural conditioning from Christianity to porn has influenced our relationship to the vagina in a negative way:
“The vagina became taboo in Christianity when we were told that a virgin conceived and gave birth to Christ. This myth reflects the believe that sex is dirty. This is an ancient view about the female sex and sexuality but most of us are subconsciously still influenced by it. The topic “vagina” is still taboo these days – nobody wants to touch it. Pornography is in stark contrast to our religious conditioning a pressure valve that many people use to let off steam and satisfy their physical needs. To me most pornography is disconnected from our souls as it does not show true intimacy with other human beings. And this is why pornography is acceptable to most people – it is far removed from our souls and therefore also social conditioning. Pornography also tends to feature on kind of vagina: hairless and small almost girl-like, rather than the vagina of a grown woman. What I would like to achieve with my work is to reunite body, mind and soul when we approach our sexuality and genitals.”
I met Grit at a networking event where 45 women from all over Germany came together. We met in an upmarket sauna/wellness palace in Berlin. I was hoping we would all casually hang out in bathrobes or even share the odd relaxing sauna session as an ice breaker. But it did not happen. Most women were power-dressed and nervous jokes were cracked about enforced nudity etc. So when Grit explained what she was doing and passed her eye opening book around there were shocked gasps to be heard all around.
Even or especially in this day and age where sexual image are all around us and we are supposed to be so liberated key taboos remain. Grit wants to liberate and empower women:
“There have been attempts to bring light into taboo areas, especially during the 68 revolution when women gathered in group meetings to look at each other’s vaginas and explore their own with a mirror. Liberation takes time but now the time has come as more and more women are ready to have a good look at their sex and improve their view on their vagina. If the context of a topic is improved we are able to change our emotions and point of view rather than repeating outdated patterns for further generations.”
More info on Grit and the book here: www.lebensgut-verlag.de