Monday, May 23, 2011

L'Origine du monde

In the famous Parisian Musee d'Orsay there lies this painting by Gustave Courbet entitled "L'Origine du monde." It is quite possibly the most vibrant and true picture of the female genitalia that I have ever seen. Although, I can't really say that I spend a lot of my time examining the female anatomy, so my perspective might be skewed by my lack of experience in this area. But my lack of experience says something about the importance of this art work. I mean in my twenty-two years of living I have seen very few "real" vaginas for a extended period of time. I don't know. Maybe I am sheltered? I know it is out there. And I could very easily access dozens of images of vaginas if I were so inclined. But before I saw this painting (over a year ago) I had never really thought about really looking at vaginas. And I mean truly looking and examining them.

So I sat there and looked at this painting for a long long time. It was long enough that it warranted looks from some of the other patrons. But luckily being in an art museum, people are not really inclined to outwardly judge you for your presence at a particular painting, even if said painting is a giant vagina. I love this painting. Completely and wholeheartedly love it. And one day I will have a giant replica in my house of this piece of work. Probably in my bed room or bathroom but still it will be there in all of its glory. Now, do not assume that I am a crazed feminist. Actually, quite the contrary. In the token John Lennon sort of way I kind of love everyone. Women. Men. Both. Neither. Whatever.

Anyway, back to the painting. I have to tell you why I love it and why I have decided to include it in my future home. I love it because it took a body part (one of my very own) which I always found kind of ugly looking and weird and made it into something beautiful for everyone to have the freedom to look at. Of course, facebook censored it, so I guess we do not really have the freedom to look at it in some cases. I am sorry, but I would much rather my little girl or boy see a real depiction of a woman's body rather than the airbrushed images of celebrities who pay to have plastic surgery, tons of make up, expensive food and fitness routines, and a whole team dedicated to their outward appearance. Come on if you are going to glorify a vagina, this would be the one. This does not depict a perfect woman with a perfect body. I mean come on, is your vagina perfect? No. And it is not supposed to be.

Now, I think it is a little presumptuous to call this "The Origin of the World." I would not go that far. Plus, I do not think Courbet could have predicted the whole technological boom that has allowed other forms of procreation. But it is kind of funny nonetheless. And I guess it is true that the first children on Earth did come out of a vagina the "natural" way. But still in that case it does take two to tango. I say all of this because I am not so much interested in the viewing of the vagina as a sort of "temple" to be worshiped aspect of this painting.

I am more interested in the exposed beauty of a unique vagina. So aside for my gripe with the title (sorry Mr. Courbet), I think this piece is flawless. To me, it is about being confident with your most private parts (quite literally). It is about being honest and true and exposing yourself without shame. So yeah, I think my vagina is sexy.

I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way
-Lady Gaga

Note: I am not advocating walking around with your vagina out as an act of exposing oneself honestly. Although, if you choose to do so under your own discretion (i.e. do not blame me) please make sure you share your story with me. Thanks.


  1. You never cease to amaze me.I now look at the piece of art with a whole new perspective. Your brilliant outlook on this,has made me look outside the box. I admire the way you can express yourself,and put a whole different spin on something such is the vagina.
    You are not afraid to be you ,and keep expressing yourself.Live and be free !!!! My dear girl.

  2. Great work of art and you do it justice with your wonderful essay. However, what you see in the painting is a vulva, not a vagina.