It's funny really; for humans who are obsessed with our genitals, we don't really know much about them, especially female ones.
When we're not busy using the wrong labels for the globe's lady gardens, we're teaching our friends and colleagues that women don't piss out of the "sex hole" and professing that discharge is not really a gross thing. Studies say some women don't even know where their vaginas are.
Some say we know less about female genitalia because everything's kinda hidden, tucked away and forgotten, but that doesn't make the lack of knowledge acceptable.
Aware that something's gotta give when it comes to the female anatomy, there's a new app paving the way for a world of cliterate beings. Meet Labella, a handy tech package which hopes to fix the lack of education surrounding our downstairs and lessen the stigma of getting up close and personal with yourself.
Knowing that not every girl will understand just what she's looking at on those mirror-between-legs puberty days, a group of graduates from Newcastle University designed the kit initially to support and teach young women about pelvic fitness, which in turn educates them about their nether region all-round.
A revolutionary answer to sex education (it'll teach you more than those sex ed classes did), Labella is the combination of a smartphone app and underwear fitted with a camera. Sounds creepy, but hear it out.
The subtle knickers that come with the Labella kit have a tiny camera stitched into the crotch which connects to the app when a girl places her smartphone facing it. This then triggers the app to activate an experience where the user has to engage with her body, discovering the different bits and bobs.
"Labella doesn't store vagina selfies," one of the head scientists involved Teresa Almeida reassures us. "Labella prompts bodily awareness and is used to promote a personal, intimate experience only."
She also tells Konbini: "The underwear is a middle ground, an everyday accessory, that we use as a way to 'make strange less strange'; some women never look at or thought of looking at themselves that way, so what Labella does is bring it up as possibility for doing and discussion."
You might find the thought of filming your vajayjay a bit weird, considering you do have a few handheld mirrors that can do the job, but through interactive animations and tutorials, Labella is a fully immersive, educational experience. The app encourages users "it's okay" to touch while showing them what's what with illustrations. Then if the user is keen, she can try out pelvic floor exercises with handy tutorials
I ask Almeida, who's pretty much an expert in all things vulva now, why we know so little about our own bodies. "It might be the fact that talking, touching and looking at our sexual organs remain a topic of taboo. And even though we should know the 'basics', as the research points out some of us still don't. Research also shows that due to taboo we also tend to neglect the body unless [it's in] pain."
During early stages of the toolkit, Almeida discovered, as expected, women laughed off the awkwardness of talking about their fannies together. Because of this, Labella takes a humorous approach to cliteracy classes so having a crotch-cam live-feed doesn't feel too strange and might actually be an entertaining jaunt.
Through laughter, education and just a bit of fun Labella could contribute to a much more self-aware population of women and get young ladies talking about their junk in a comfortable healthy way. As Almeida says: "An app alone can't eradicate the stigma". Whether we need vaginal surveillance to do that is up for debate, but we're all for breaking down taboos one barrier at a time.
Almeida tells us Labella will be available in app stores as a free download and the underwear collection (which will have some sort of cost) will both be available soon, if all goes to plan.
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