On looking at the vagina through labella
Teresa Almeida, Rob Comber, Gavin Wood, Dean Saraf, Madeline Balaam
Women’s understandings of their own intimate anatomy has been identified as critical to women’s reproductive health and sexual wellbeing. However, talking about it, seeking medical help when necessary as well as examining oneself in order to ‘know’ oneself is complicated by social-cultural constructions of the vagina, i.e. it is something private, shameful and not to be talked about. In response to this, we designed Labella, an augmented system that supports intimate bodily knowledge and pelvic fitness in women. It combines a pair of underwear and a mobile phone as a tool for embodied intimate self-discovery. In this paper, we describe Labella, and its evaluation with fourteen women, aged 25-63. We show how through situated embodied perception Labella empowers ‘looking’. We highlight how the simple act of augmented looking enables the construction of knowledge which ranges from establishing the ‘very basics’ through to a nuanced understanding of pelvic muscle structure. Finally, we highlight the role of awkwardness and humour in the design of interactions to overcome taboo.
Author: Open Lab
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