The Webby Awards, founded in 1997, honor the best of the internet; the New York Times calls it “the Internet’s highest honor.” Presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), Webby has honored celebrities like Kristen Bell and Miley Cyrus. In winning, Pussypedia co-founders Zoe Mendelson and María Conejo beat out big-name organizations like NASA, TED, Masterclass, and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
“I’m excited about the award because since this was an independent project, there’s not as much automatic legitimacy,” Mendelson told Ms. “We had extremely intense research and fact-checking processes. The information is airtight. But it’s one thing for us to say that that’s true and another to have it externally validated—especially for a project made by a large group of volunteers.”
Pussypedia launched in July after a successful $18,000 Kickstarter campaign, and 200 volunteers across four continents worked to make the site a reality.
Pussypedia focuses on empowering individuals with quality information about vaginas. Mendelson ideated the site because she felt there was a severe lack of information about vaginas that wasn’t insufficient, hard-to-understand or shameful towards women’s health.
“I wanted to make this project because I realized after googling ‘whether or not all women could squirt,’ that the quality of information about our bodies on the internet is generally terrible,” said Mendelson. “I ended up reading medical studies that were very hard to understand, looking up almost every word and then the words in those definition. It’s not okay that it’s that hard to access reliable information.”
The site’s name stands as a rebellious reclamation of a word typically considered shameful, offensive, dirty or misogynistic.
*We propose a new gender-and-organ-inclusive use of the word which means “some combination of vagina, vulva, clitoris, uterus, bladder, rectum, anus, and who knows maybe some testes.”
We’re taking “pussy” back cuz we like it!
“Shame causes us to cede our power and robs us of joy,” said Mendelson. “Enough of that. Literally this might be the apocalypse, the last few years of having a habitable planet. Let’s at least not be worried that our pussies are gross.”
Conejo agreed; she sees the project as a form of righteous rebellion.
“For several years now, my artistic practice has focused on proposing joyful and poetic representations of the female human body in response to the culture I live in, which stigmatizes and perpetuates shame on our corporalities and sexualities as a form of oppression.”
The site includes a 3D interactive model of a whole-pussy biodigital, along with other resources about sexual and reproductive health. Pussypedia’s articles are “rigorously fact-checked and written for you to understand,” according to their website.
“If the Internet exists, then knowledge should be available to everyone. Having high-quality information about our bodies is a human right, and helping others to get to know, observe and feel their bodies with love instead of the horrifying and oppressive glasses of shame will be a revolution”.