Innana […] leaned against the apple tree.
When she leaned against the apple tree, her vulva was wondrous to behold.
Rejoicing at her wondrous vulva, the young woman Inanna applauded herself.
She said, 'I, the Queen of Heaven, shall visit the God of Wisdom [...]'
–Sumerian Mythology, "Inanna and the God of Wisdom"
Golden lotus, virtue, gates of heaven, precious pearl, celestial gate, hidden place, mysterious valley, treasure, the gate of wisdom, the fountain of life, among others are the terms that many cultures use to refer to the vagina.
When human beings began to create art, the vagina was represented as something sacred. The vulva –besides inspiring art– is a symbol of sexuality, fertility, and feminine identity. In fact, it's a motive of veneration, since it represents the origin of life.
According to Naomi Wolf in Vagina: A New Biography, some Asian traditions conceived the vagina as a living being that expresses through its actions, influence and free will. As the author states, it was considered "the most sacred spot in the most sacred temple in a sacred universe."
Many historians and writers, like Rosalind Miles, agree that the creation of humankind was an action only a feminine deity could conceive; "God was a woman," they assure.
In 1866, the french painter Gustave Coubert created The Origin of the World, in which he shows the vagina of a woman with her legs spread; it's a woman's vulva covered with dark pubic hair, while her breasts are slightly shown through a white garment. Coubert makes us reflect about the vagina, a part that besides being sacred, is the spot where we all come from: men, women, professionals, artists, scientists, wise people, leaders.... The vagina is the origin of the world, of art pieces, knowledge, evolution, and life itself; it's inspiration, beauty, and creation. It's God.
Despite all this, society has segregated the female gender. Women are undermined and attacked because of their bodies. Beliefs of male superiority have created a misogynistic culture that we still live in, which diminishes the place we all come from: the vagina.
The truth is that society will never function without a balance between men and women, both essential elements. Women cannot only be involved in passive, emotional issues and men cannot be caged and forced to be invulnerable. Gender shouldn't be a cause for discrimination and even if we sound like a broken record repeating this time and time again, we will do so until balance is found.
We recall when former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan recognized, within the framework of the commemoration of Women's Day, that in societies destroyed by war, women are the ones who have maintained –within the chaos– a social order.
Peasants, students, professionals, housekeepers, artisans, and intellectuals have broken the barriers built by a male-dominated society. María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, a Spanish judge and politician, mentioned in a speech in front of the Spanish government representatives that "every time a woman gives a step, we all move forward." History is filled with cases of women who have dared to take that first step. Their example has made others follow them and work together to break the imposed schemes, generation by generation.
Some of these photos belong to the artist Sara Lorusso. Read more about amazing women who have broken paradigms:
Photographs Of Women That Won't Let Anyone Judge Them By Their Bodies
5 Women Who Broke Gender Stereotypes To Pursue Their Dreams
 Inanna. Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer. Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards