Graduate students from Newcastle University have developed a phone app which will allow women to see and know all there is to know about their genital area.
The app called "Labella" combines a piece of underwear and a mobile phone to allow users to explore their own anatomy through a smartphone.
To make use of the app, you have to wear underwear which comes with a small camera that is stitched inside. The small camera captures images of the external genitalia.
The female genitalia is called so many names and some are ridiculous but all in an attempt to avoid calling it exactly what it is - a vagina (see it’s not that difficult!).
Something that has added fuel to the already existing social taboo surrounding the vagina which has led to many women feeling uncomfortable when it comes to caring for and being aware of their lady parts.
Teresa Almeida, one of Labella's developers said: "Because realistically how can women understand these parts of their bodies when we don’t even know how to name them properly?"
"Given this attitude towards female genitalia, it’s unsurprising then that we know so little about the clitoris given it’s not in textbooks or even covered in sex education. And with labia surgery now the latest trend among teenage girls, it’s clear the worlds of porn and advertising have collided, leaving women with yet more insecurities about their bodies – this time focused on the vagina."
Their research has found that women tend to avoid "contact" with their genitalia unless they are experiencing pain and that women still avoid talking about their "private parts" even among other women.
Many women still skip clinical tests such as cervical screenings and pap smears which are quick and easy tests to do.
Even with the youth clinics here in South Africa, young women also skip these tests because of the fear of embarrassment.
This discomfort contributes to the estrangement between women and their genitalia.
"Having the knowledge and ability to make bodily and verbal distinctions is critical to women’s reproductive health and sexual well-being."
The app presents users with a series of 3D models of the vulva, vagina, anus and perineum, prompting them to identify each body part before getting acquainted with their own genitals.
According to MIC, developers suggest that naming is a key first step to teaching users to take better care of their sexual organs.
"Labella was first designed after a series of workshops I'd had with different communities of women on concepts around pelvic fitness," Almeida said.
"Basically these workshops pointed out that women in general know little about their bodies, and most importantly they'd like to know more."
The study which details 14 women's experiences testing Labella, found the ”weird, funny” nature of the app more memorable than other, more uncomfortable interactions they've had with their genitals.
The developers of the app hope that it will help to break some of the societal shame that surrounds the female anatomy.
Future developments will be aimed at young women, providing them with an educational tool which will enable them to get to know their bodies in a way that feels comfortable and knowledge driven.
The app is not live yet.