THE ADULT FILM MINUTE: Once per month, except for occasionally when it’s more frequent than that, Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals will be telling us a little bit about what’s going on in adult entertainment and why it should matter to you.
A little over a month ago, we were teased with talk of a vagina beauty contest. In case you’ve forgotten, the competition – sponsored by Very Intelligent Ecommerce Inc. (VIECI, the makers of the Autoblow, we kid you not, a crowdfunded blowjob machine) – asked women to submit photos of their vulva. The public was then asked to vote on the submissions they considered most attractive.
Press material repeatedly used iterations of the word “vagina” when what clearly was of interest were images of external female genitalia, or vulva. This made me very concerned about the mechanics of the contest overall. Plus – yay for an understanding of basic human anatomy!
Regardless though, I’m here today to present you – not with the winners of the contest, which you can see on the contest website – but with data gathered as outlined by “The Vulva [!!] Paper.” Here’s the abstract, written by Unnamed:
In this work, we examine data collected during the Autoblow Vaginal Beauty Contest. The original intent of the contest was solely to discover which vulva styles men wanted us to 3-D scan and reproduce onto our product. But as the contest became popular online, we realized we had collected a vast quantity of data on a topic that warranted further research.
We used the contest data to assess the diversity in vulval morphology and voters’ preference for different morphologies. Labia length, protuberance, and rugosity data coded on images submitted to the contest allowed us to classify vulvas into six styles based on an increasing degree of protrusion and complexity. Roughly 51 percent of voters preferred the first two classes of non-protruding, simple labia. The other 49 percent favored the four more complex vulva classes.
Here are some key points:
1. 182 images of vulva were submitted to the contest between June 8 and July 6, 2015.
2. The images/submissions were standardized (read: resized to be consistent) and quantified (read: anatomy measured).
3. Standardization and quantification yielded six distinct “classes” of vulva, ranging from “simple” to “complex,” with each category ranging in frequency from 30 percent to 7 percent within the pool of submissions.
4. 2,766,671 vulva-preference ratings from 134,707 distinct voters were collected.
5a. Class 1 vulva, which are relatively “simple” (their word), are preferred over the other classes of vulva – 39 percent of voters liked these best.
5b. The combined percentages of voters who preferred more “complex” (also, their word) classes of vulva, however, outweighed those who preferred the simplest Class 1 configuration.
Aside from the fact that neither population considered here (read: all the pictures submitted and all the people voting) is representative, this analysis of a pretty serendipitous data set is actually really interesting. We often hear lip service regarding what types of aesthetic configurations on women’s bodies are privileged or preferred. This includes vulva. But based on these submitted images and respondents’ self-reported preferences, people like all kinds of “vaginas” (read: vulva).
As was stated by the unnamed author(s): “[This] study provides extra evidence and confirms [vulva diversity] is broad regarding labia size, protuberance, and rugosity [Today I learned a new word. ‘Rugosity’ means having wrinkles. Not to be confused with Bela Lugosity. -Ed]. It also provides evidence that both simple and more complex vulvas have a nearly equal percentage of admirers.”
You should read the paper for yourself right here. I don’t want to say the link is NSFW because it’s science and all, but you know how we all get when body parts are involved.
Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals is a sociologist specializing in gender, sexualities, work, and media. Read her book Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment, and learn about sex doll dominoes.