Three years ago, Shannon O'Malley found herself at dinner asking her friend Keith Wilson, a gay man, to draw a vagina on the wax paper tablecloth. The results were laughable at best.
Little did Shannon and Keith know, having gay men draw vaginas would ultimately become a much larger project.
After a few unenlightened comments came out of the mouths of the gay men, Shannon asked me to draw a vagina on the table with a crayon. After I did, everyone at our table gawked at it, critiqued it. It started a totally vaginal conversation in a restaurant full of children and families -- fun stuff. Shannon asked my boyfriend, who was also at the table, to draw one. When he did, everyone wanted to scrutinize it and compare it to the other shitty vagina I'd made. It was a night of vag chat.
More drawings from friends and colleagues would soon give life to the Tumblr Gay Men Draw Vaginas.
"So we started collecting more drawings and had this idea for public vag art booths where people on the street could draw and sign away their vaginas to us," Keith told BuzzFeed.
Gay men from all over the globe answered the call for illustrated lady bits. Some drawings were surprisingly accurate...
... while other artists took the more whimsical and abstract approach.
Minimalism is always a trusty standby:
Shannon and Keith found that some men reacted with hesitation when asked to participate. "Ooh, honey, I haven't touched one in years, you don't want this vag," they would say.
But, more often than not? They found that the participants got really into the idea.
"Like, they sense that the premise [...] is some sort of 'set up' where the joke is on them, and they want to surprise you with the way they react," says Keith.
"The artists who try to communicate ideas, even if they don't have any illustration talent, produce the best vaginas – as opposed to people who try to draw anatomically correct vaginas."
The pair hope to turn all these drawings into a 220-page book. Until then, they will continue to bravely collect and share their "portable vag museum."
Besides a good laugh and maybe a little blushing, the authors hope that their book will get people talking about a variety of topics.
We hope it brings up questions like "how do people respond to discomfort or ambiguous expectations through art?" "What are the preconceptions we may have about what a 'gay' man is or thinks?" "What are prevailing ideas or archetypes we layer on body parts -- women's bodies, in particular?" [...] One of the great things about Gay Men Draw Vaginas is that you can appreciate it as just a "fun" idea that makes for clever party conversation, or you can think more about the deep vag stuff.