Did you know that there are more than 8,000 nerve endings in the tip of the clitoris alone? Understudied and underappreciated, a group of novelty jewellerly makers are here to close the knowledge gap. E&M’s author Friederike sat down with the crew behind the Instagram account clitsclub who are here to educate us all on the beauty of the clit – breaking taboos and shattering the glass ceiling one pendant at a time.
Hiiiii! First things first: What is the clitsclub?
We are five young women and good friends who study in Germany, in a town called Münster. For us, @clitsclub is a platform where we share posts surrounding topics such as feminism, female empowerment and sexual education relating to female sexuality and pleasure. Additionally it’s a way for us to express ourselves in a creative way – we’re drawing vulvas, creating tattoos and handmade jewellery.
Our clitsclub has become a little movement for female empowerment and body (clits-) positivity. Of course we have a political interest in mind as well, but most of all we’re having fun conveying our themes in a arty and aesthetic fashion. We want everyone to wear our jewellery with pride and to normalise talking about vulvas, vaginas, pussies and the clitoris without feeling ashamed.
Why did you start? What gave you the idea? Tell us your story!
A few months ago we watched a documentary on 3sat (a German TV channel) called “Vulva und Vagina – Neue Einblicke in die weibliche Lust” (translation: “Vulva and vagina – new insights into female pleasure”), which we highly recommend (Link for the German speakers!). Watching it we actually learned a lot and heard about some things for the very first time. We asked ourselves: how can this be? How do we know so little about our own bodies? Why do we so seldom talk about the female sexual organ, whilst penises are often talked about with ease. Everyone knows how penis is built, penis sizes are being compared and masturbation for men is seen as the most normal thing in the world.
With this in mind we started to do abstract paintings of vulva motifs with henna on each other, for example a vulva camouflaged as a grapefruit or sea shell. We started talking amongst each other about female sexuality, the societal image of vulvas and how they are being portrayed. We decided to share our vulva art on instagram. Shortly after we began to create jewellery out of wires (in the form of vulvas.) When we noticed that our ideas were well received, we chose to sell these on a donation basis and send them out to the people interested in them. Along with the vulva jewellery we sent out little handmade cards and a message containing a fun fact about the vulva or the clitoris.
Our newest project is a t-shirt line with our own clit-motifs, which we’re printing with a screen printing machine. We have already started with some trial prints and soon the t-shirts will be ready to be sold as well!
Is the clitsclub a full-time thing? Or more of a hobby?
Clitsclub is definitely a hobby for us, at least for now. We will see what the future holds, but our main aim is to get a message across that empowers women of every age. There’s nothing more beautiful for us than people writing us a text or telling us personally how much they value what we do.
We are in this with a lot of passion. And through that we realise how we’re growing ourselves, personally, as well. We love developing new ideas together, to live our best creative lives and just doing things we want to do. We can promise already that we have a lot more ideas for future projects!
I was hoping, actually, that your answers would tell this story. For me, also, what you do is not only pretty and something I want to have in my jewellery collection (I am a big fan, full disclaimer!), it is art. With an educational twist.
That’s exactly what we have in mind when we work for the clitsclub! Of course we want to create jewellery that looks pretty and that people like wearing. But each vulva or breast pendant we create is unique. There are many different vulvas and no one is like the other, they are all different. Just like in real life. Every woman’s vulva is unique.
What are your favourite fun facts about the clitoris and/or vulva?
The vagina has the same pH-value like a glass of wine. For most wines it’s between 3,0 and 4,0 and the normal pH-value of the vagina is between 3,8 and 4,5.
One story, that’s unfortunately more scary than funny, happened in 1972. The NSA sent space probe called “Pioneer”, a kind of message in a bottle, for extraterrestrial life. For that reason a little aluminium plate with an image of ‘terrestrials’ was engraved. The genital organ of a man was displayed, but not that of a woman. In the original version of the drawing there was a small line, which was supposed to suggest the woman’s vulva. However, this line was removed as the general thinking at NASA at that time was, apparently, that even extraterrestrials would find the image of a vulva offensive.
Do you cringe and flinch when you hear someone say vagina and they actually mean the vulva?
No, not at all. We don’t judge anyone for their lack of knowledge, we just try to raise awareness. Of course you’re gradually becoming more and more sensitive the more you’re reading up on the female sexual organ and you notice the mislabelling a lot more often. But it hasn’t been that long ago that we ourselves made mistakes like that, without knowing that we were ignorant.
It is however important to us to direct awareness towards the right use of terminology. All people should know that there’s a difference between the vulva and the vagina. To be exact, it’s a societal problem. In school there is not enough talk and education about the female genital organ and also in daily life and conversation it’s often tabooed. Men as well as women know too little about the female genital organ and it’s interesting to see, how hard it is for a lot of people to even just say the words “vulva” or “vagina”.
Do you also think that female pleasure is underreported and understudied and constantly misjudged and wrongly portrayed? (Tricky question, it clearly is – but we’d like your point of view!)
Oh yes, most definitely! I mean just think about it, in the biology books for schools from 2002 for the sexual education class there are images of the female sexual organ that don’t even show the clitoris! Science devoted to the female sexual organ only found out in 1998 that the outer part of the clitoris, the one that’s visible from the outside, is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, and that the clitoris is a 7-10 cm long organ. There’s no other organ in the human body we still know so little about. (See: Fruit of knowledge, Liv Strömquists)
Three quarters of women can only orgasm with additional stimulation of the glans clitoridis, the clitoral glans – and still sex is often limited to penetration, when it’s being described. It is still expected of women that they can orgasm from penetration alone. Even though today’s current state of research tells a different story.
It is necessary that we talk more about female pleasure and a better education in schools is vital for female well-being. For most of us, sexual enlightenment starts in school.
If you can shout one advice from the rooftops for everyone to understand and from then on forever know: what do you want to tell the world?
Stay Clit! Life is Clit – Clit is Life – Clit is Love!
Love it!! Do you have a vision for the clitsclub?
Yeah, as we said before, we constantly come up with new ideas and what else we could do. We are non-stop developing more motifs we like. Sometimes we fantasize and joke about becoming a big hit, but in the end we’re focussing on the fun that the @clitsclub brings us, our friendship, and to reach as many people as possible with our message. We hope that the topic is not just a short-lived trend, but that vulvas will be free from taboos in the long run. We have started our journey without any planning and vision. It just evolved from there and we’re so excited to see where we will go with the clitsclub. We are still so thankful for every encouraging message, order of jewellery, praise and empowerment!
Dooo you ship worldwide?
Yes, we do! The jewellery and (soon also) t-shirts are easily ordered – just send us a message on Instagram! We’re also open to personalised jewellery or individual wishes. Make us better with your help and ideas!
What else do you want to tell us, that we didn’t ask you about?
Scrutinise and question more! Sexism is discrimination. When we’re fighting against racism, homophobia and all other arts of discrimination, then intersectional feminism needs to be a part of the discourse. This also goes for the other way round – the fight for more equality can’t stop when it comes to the female body. Vulvas and vaginas should be more socially acceptable and language is a big part of that. Language is power and should change with the feminist movement.
Instead of saying “you’re breaking my balls!” – why not say “don’t break my vulva!”. Or “don’t be a pussy” – it implies that females are weak, compared to males. To achieve equality also means to be more sensitive when using language like that.
What are your favourite accounts and must-follows for you on social media?
@The.vulva.gallery – this account makes you realise the diversity and beauty of vulvas all around the world. It shows that an ideal imagine of a vulva should not exist and the account encourages women to abandon their insecurities about their own vulva. Along the lines of: All clits are beautiful.
@Feminist – for general facts and themes surrounding feminism and politics. The account serves as an inspiration and education. Also they feature a lot of other feminist accounts and you can easily broaden your feminist bubble! We really recommend following them!
Thank you so much for your time! Stay clit, I definitely will!!
The answers have been translated from German into English and adapted for clarity.
Cover Photo by @clitsclub.