From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Nominee: Dorrie Lane, Vulvalutionary
Seventeen years ago, in the foggy, summer light of San Francisco, the very first Wondrous Vulva Puppet was handmade, by me. I was a 40-year-old woman. At that time, there was NO representation of our vulvas in an honorable, beautiful and embraceable way that satisfied me. I began with drawings and playing with different materials; finally, I chose velvet and satin.
The simple message I attached to the puppet, “Share A Story”®, inspired the Vulva-lution! Most notably, Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. By making the Vulva Puppet available, I want to change the way women feel about their own bodies. I want them to know the vulva is the source of life. I want them to know how exquisitely beautiful and unique our vulvas are; I want to remind the world the vulva is the source of life. Most of all, I want the puppet to challenge the stigma of shame, disrespect and invisibility.
I have handmade over 4,000 puppets. They are all over the world, stories are being shared, women are healing, waking up, becoming friends and supporters of our common threads and our unique lives. We are letting go of the negative messages we have of our bodies.
The puppets are named after ancient goddesses to inspire us and because it’s a puppet, she speaks all languages, in YOUR words.
The Puppets are still handmade, now in a women-owned Fair Trade co-op in Peru.
The co-op is paid fair wages, not minimum living wages. The workers do beautiful handwork. I could never have the Puppets made by underpaid/slave wages. In most textile factories in the world, the workers are women, and I couldn’t live with myself focusing on my own profit margins. So I created a co-op in Lima, Peru with the help of Liz Cabrel, my dear friend, vulvalutionary, and manager in Lima.
The co-op in Peru, well, it has changed the lives of the members making the Vulva Puppet, they’ve embraced the ideas behind the puppet, which has empowered and healed them on many levels.
They’ve been able to feed and educate their children and start other businesses, and they are beginning to climb out of extreme poverty. I did not apply for or receive any kind of grant money to do this. I’ve done this through my own need to change women’s lives.