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. 😉
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.
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!
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!
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.