“Pussy is porn or unseen,” Corinne Loperfido laments over the phone from Austin, Texas. “You don’t see it and you don’t talk about it … but in reality everyone wants to talk about it.”
The L.A.-based artist/creative director is known for starting as many parties as she does taboo conversations, and she dives into the funny business readily in our interview. We’re talking pussy in general, and, in particular, her latest brainchild, Va-Jay-Jay Day, during which Angelenas will have an opportunity to look deep inside themselves — literally.
On Nov. 6, the event will be an interactive and educational celebration of all things vagina. Ladies will spelunk their depths in a DIY cervix exam (speculums provided) and participants are encouraged to bring a headlamp to illuminate their mystery spots. Stunt artist Max Madame will demystify female ejaculation at the Squirtshop, complete with an explosive and informational live demonstration. Women can then take the Hitachi to themselves or get private tutorials.
Pussy portraiture will abound: Women can commission a live painting or a plaster cast or opt to decorate themselves (aka "vajazzle") for a photo opp. There will be an herbal yoni steam session and goodies for sale like herb blends, Kegel eggs, sex-positive affirmation jewelry and fertility charting tools.
Loperfido is no stranger to sex-positive revelry. She’s known for underground queer party hits such as EveryBODY (formerly Big Dicks House of Big Boobs), a DIY/performance-art strip club where anyone can get on the pole to make their wet dreams come true in a supportive, no-photo party zone. Earlier this year, she debuted a new concept, Pretty Witches, an alcohol-free, ladies-only dance party.
“I had never done a gender-specific event before, but as a person who is in a committed relationship and who doesn’t drink, I find it tiring and frustrating to go out to regular bars to go dancing,” she explains. “I don’t feel that I can dress the way I want or dance the way I want without being either stared at or approached or touched unwantedly.” The response to her first event was overwhelming, and she’s since successfully re-created it in multiple cities.
Loperfido says the energy of an all-female space was “life-altering,” and inspired her to take female-centric events a step further with Va-Jay-Jay Day. Since it has twice been received with open arms (err, legs?) in Austin, Loperfido is committed to spreading the experience to the West Coast, with events in L.A. and Portland, Oregon.
“The main goal is destigmatizing.” Loperfido says. “There are so many ways that women are made to feel shame about our existence, our feelings, our bodies, our fertility, blood. … I’m trying to create a space where we can talk about these things — to have a room for one day where people can talk about the loaded topic of being women.”
Loperfido recently had her hand slapped for creating vulva visibility when she broadcast her own cervical exam on Facebook Live. At the last Va-Jay-Jay Day, participants were timid about examining themselves, so she took the initiative to break the ice. The video captured the exam from Loperfido’s perspective, looking out from between her legs at a growing group of ladies oohing and aahing at her insides. “I handed the phone to my friend and I told her, ‘Show the internet what’s up in there!’” She says the video got about 1,200 likes in 12 hours before it was removed for violating the site’s community standards.
“It was a crazy moment. Everyone was screaming and cheering and taking their pants off to do it themselves,” she describes. “I interviewed the nurse about cervical fluid. Then I filmed women’s faces while they looked at themselves. I asked them, ‘What do you see? What do you feel?’ It was an educational video ... it turned into a fucking punk show.”
Feminist art aficionados might find this scenario familiar, recalling Annie Sprinkle’s Public Cervix Announcement, in which the porn star-turned-artist opened herself for audience examination. She toured the project internationally throughout the 1980s, showing her cervix to about 40,000 people altogether.
Before that, vaginal self-examination was popularized in the early ’70s by Carol Downer and Lorraine Rothman, co-founders of L.A.’s Feminist Women’s Health Center. At a time when abortion was still illegal and access to birth control and fertility awareness was scarce, Downer traveled across the United States demonstrating safe, self-administered suction abortions. At 83 years old, she still teaches DIY femme demystifying and will be at Va-Jay-Jay Day co-facilitating the cervical exam workshop.
The event borrows trappings of the feminist movement and blends them with the new age, but Loperfido doesn’t consider herself a feminist. Instead, she opts for the label “self-love revolutionary.”
Though she acknowledges that society has come a long way since women’s lib, she concedes, “There’s a negative association with feminism,” citing the notion that feminists are “man-hating and have aggressive tendencies.”
“That’s the opposite of the point,” she says emphatically. “Masculine energy is out of balance and what we need is love to bring it back into balance.”
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For her, an important first step is women knowing and loving themselves. Va-Jay-Jay
Day is about radically reclaiming and cultivating the feminine in order to steady the pendulum swing proliferated by the patriarchy. “[We are] living in a man’s world and we’re not men. We shouldn’t have to live this way,” she says.
“If women come back into their power, we can make space to observe the subtlety of life, and with that comes sensuality, emotion, spirituality, being connected to the planet.”
Indeed, we can save the world — one enlightening conversation, DIY health practice or irreverent squirt at a time.
Va-Jay-Jay Day is Sun., Nov. 6, 2-7 p.m., at SoulNest Studio, 2236 26th St., Santa Monica. facebook.com/events/197371984007784.