Wri­ting a master’s the­sis about vulva diver­sity? That’s exactly what Fine and Iris did! Howe­ver, their joint master’s the­sis in the field of design and com­mu­ni­ca­tion stra­tegy did not turn into a boring sci­en­ti­fic paper in the clas­si­cal sense. The result of their mon­ths-long rese­arch and work is the won­der­ful, modern edu­ca­tio­nal book ‘V’ about vulva diver­sity and ever­ything that comes with it. With this book they want to inform, break taboos, cele­brate the diver­sity of all bodies and encou­rage con­ver­sa­tion around it. Because they both think that the vulva recei­ves far too little atten­tion. The 260-page book the­re­fore deals with a wide range of pre­ju­di­ces and chal­len­ges rela­ting to the vulva in an illus­tra­tive and tex­tual, humo­rous and infor­ma­tive way. In our inter­view, Fine and Iris will give you a look behind the sce­nes. They talk about their idea, the pro­cess and what comes next for their book. 

Who’s behind the book?

Hello, we’re Fine and Iris. We both stu­died Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Design in our Bachelor’s degree and Design and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Stra­tegy in our Master’s degree. We got to know each other in Augs­burg, Ger­many during our master’s pro­gramme. Iris has found her pas­sion in illus­tra­tion, Fine in text and lay­out design. For crea­ting a book tog­e­ther, this com­bi­na­tion is of course ideal. 😉

Viva la Vulva, Aufklärungsbuch, Vulva Diversität, Buch über die Periode, weibliche Geschlecht, weibliche Geschlechtsorgan, Vulva, Vagina, Masterarbeit, Josefine Britz, Iris Schmitt, Vulvani

Photo Credits: Fine + Iris

What inspired you for your book idea? 

At the begin­ning we both had no idea what we could do for our final the­sis. At that time, doing our the­sis tog­e­ther was not even an option. We sat down tog­e­ther with a beer and sear­ched for exci­ting ideas. One thing we knew was that we both wan­ted to create a master’s the­sis that would have a real added value for us and others and that wouldn’t disap­pear into some dra­wer after gra­dua­tion. We also dis­co­ve­red that we both have the talent to shamel­essly talk about things that make many others blush. And what makes other people blush more than tal­king openly and bluntly about topics like mens­trua­tion or sexua­lity? During our rese­arch we found that there is still no book that pres­ents the female* sex in all its facets and dis­cus­ses it in a cross-disci­pli­nary way. That was our motivation.

What was your journey like from the idea to the finished book?

Infi­nite mee­tings, dis­cus­sions, sur­veys, inter­views and nume­rous rese­arch rea­dings have accom­pa­nied us through the crea­tive phase. And ulti­mately made the book what it is. We recei­ved a lot of encou­ra­ge­ment from others during every phase of our pro­ject, we met great people and of course lear­ned a lot about the female* sex.

Viva la Vulva, Aufklärungsbuch, Vielfalt der Vulva, Vulva Diversität, Buch über die Periode, weibliche Geschlecht, weibliche Geschlechtsorgan, Vulva, Vagina, Masterarbeit, Josefine Britz, Iris Schmitt, Vulvani

Photo Credits: Fine + Iris

What was your favorite moment in the process of turning the idea into a reality?

We have two moments that stayed with us as really great memo­ries:
When the many respon­ses from our first sur­vey came back, they showed us how right we were in assuming that there was still a long way to go before enough edu­ca­tio­nal work has been done. We recei­ved so much encou­ra­ge­ment and moti­va­tion from the nume­rous respon­ses and felt more than encou­ra­ged to give it our all for our pro­ject.
The second defi­ning moment was when we spoke on the phone with our cur­rent edi­tor. And he expres­sed his serious inte­rest in our book. A great moment! 

What are your hopes for the book? 

We hope that as many people as pos­si­ble will read our book. As young women, we both would have wis­hed for such a book for our­sel­ves. That is why it is a mat­ter of the heart for us that as many (young) people as pos­si­ble get access to this book. And thus in the future it will be a little easier for them to talk more openly about all the sup­po­sedly taboo topics and to handle them with confidence.

What are the responses when you talk about your book?

Always inte­res­ted, posi­tive and encouraging!

Viva la Vulva, Aufklärungsbuch, Vielfalt der Vulva, Vulva Diversität, Buch über die Periode, weibliche Geschlecht, weibliche Geschlechtsorgan, Vulva, Vagina, Masterarbeit, Josefine Britz, Iris Schmitt, Vulvani

Photo Credits: Fine + Iris

What do you find particularly exciting in engaging with vulva diversity?

What we found most exci­ting was the fact that we got to know the visual diver­sity of the vulva in an ent­i­rely new waay. In the school bio­logy book you only see the ver­sion of the clo­sed vulva that resem­bles a shell – for us it was exci­ting to break through these visual habits.
Every vulva is unique!

What is your favourite illustration or text passage in the book?

 Our favou­rite illus­tra­tion is the pic­ture with the many dif­fe­rent women*. There are so many details and dif­fe­ren­ces that it’s easy to find yourself in them – and every woman* looks happy and satis­fied with herself.
The best pas­sa­ges in the book are the ones where Fine wri­tes herself into a rage. 😉

What is the next step for your book?

We have found a publis­her! In the spring of 2021 our book will be publis­hed by Süd­west and will be avail­able in stores. At the moment we are dealing with all kinds of exci­ting tasks like cover text and author’s pho­tos. And we are working on the last details of the content.

Anything else you want to say?

More vulva dood­les in public toi­lets! Vulva la Revolution!

Viva la Vulva, Aufklärungsbuch, Vulva Diversität, Buch über die Periode, weibliche Geschlecht, weibliche Geschlechtsorgan, Vulva, Vagina, Masterarbeit, Josefine Britz, Iris Schmitt, Vulvani

Photo Credits: Fine + Iris

Thank you for making vulva diversity visible

Thank you dear Fine and Iris for taking the time to ans­wer my ques­ti­ons. But I am even more exci­ted that you have crea­ted such an important edu­ca­tio­nal book and that you are actively working against the shame and pre­ju­di­ces sur­roun­ding the vulva. Thank you so much for your won­der­ful work! Even though the book will not be publis­hed until the begin­ning of 2021, I am for­tu­n­ate to have this ama­zing book already in my small but fine mens­trua­tion library at home. I can only whole-hear­tedly recom­mend the book! If you would like to fol­low the book on its exci­ting jour­ney to being publis­hed, you should fol­low their Insta­gram account v_wie___ – maybe you might even learn a thing or two about the vulva diversity.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Foun­der Vulvani | britta@vulvani.com | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-foun­der of Vul­vani. She loves rese­ar­ching, wri­ting and designing new arti­cles or inno­va­tive edu­ca­tio­nal con­cepts about mens­trua­tion all day long. When she is not tra­vel­ling the world, she enjoys spen­ding time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.