Viva la Vulva vivifies reproductive health

By Staff Writer Kira Bruce

Last Thursday night at the University Club, the Center of Women, Gender, and Sexuality held ‘Viva La Vulva’ – a paint night to celebrate the diversity of the vulva. The Torch attended this event to learn, and also to paint!

Andria DePillow lead the painting demonstration and Juli Parker provided information about vulva health. DePillow, a former student of UMass Dartmouth, graduated in the class of 2018 as an Illustration major. Parker is the assistant dean of students; she is celebrating her 25th year at the school.

As the room was focused on painting Parker spoke to the room about what is normally a sensitive subject on college campuses: STIs. These infections, as Parker went on to say, are notorious on college campuses. She also talked more in detail about which STIs are curable. Everyone was given handouts showing detailed diagrams of the vulva, health information and where one can go for an STI test.

One may think that there would be mostly women in attendance however students of all genders were in attendance, engaging with one another, and it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves. I had a great time; I haven’t painted for a while and it reminded me of how much I like it.

One thing that stood out was the sheer variety of vulvas being painted by those in attendance. Bright colors and many different shapes were on everyone’s canvases. Almost no vulva was alike, I felt very inspired by everyone’s painting abilities and the event attested to the variety and complexity of genitalia.

The painting used by DePillow to demonstrate techniques to the room utilized bright appealing colors, reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s pop art in the latter half of the 20th century. It was pink, blue and purple. Others painted vulvas with flames in the backgrounds or geometric shapes to break up traditional form. I choose to go for a more realistic look, but my painting skills betrayed me, and it looked more like a cartoon vulva than anything else.

This year, the 125th anniversary of UMass Dartmouth, also marks the 50th anniversary of the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality here at the university. UMass Dartmouth’s CWGS is one of the oldest collegiate women’s centers in the United States of America. It is second only to the Women’s Center at the University of Minnesota, which holds the title.

CWGS has provided information regarding reproductive rights and abortion advocacy before Roe v. Wade in 1973. Since then they have continued to offer support for women and the LGBT community, leading to a more inclusive environment on campus.

Their goals are to continue to provide a place for people to share their opinions and concerns on current social issues. As well as to provide referrals, resources and continue to educate the student population on women’s and LGBT history.

CWGS will be celebrating their 50th anniversary throughout the entire year with events designed to be both entertaining and informative. If this event seems interesting to you, stay on the look-out for flyers around the school, CWGS shows no signs of slowing down!

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