It’s a pretty gloomy time right now and with reason.
But a nurse is trying to help bring a smile to people’s face by wearing a mask that’s unlike others.
Social worker Lulu Geraghty, 42, crocheted a vulva by hand and attached it to her protective equipment.
Lulu, who lives in Brisbane, Australia, makes vulva tea cosies and hats in her spare time and decided to make the quirky addition for a laugh.
She was quick to say that it was more a fashion item since it doesn’t meet medical standards – but added ‘it will certainly help with social distancing’.
‘I had a spare vulva just lying around so I whacked it on, for a bit of fun,’ explained Lulu.
‘It just seemed to lighten the mood a bit. I don’t want to minimise the seriousness of coronavirus but I think we do need to be lighthearted as well.’
Lulu started making the designs in 2017 to start a conversation about female positivity and stigma.
She said: ‘I like to be a little bit confrontational and I like to have the competing ideas of something really uncomfortable with something pretty and domestic.
‘What I really wanted to do was break down the taboo – this anxiety that many women feel about the appearance of their vulvas.
‘It’s amazing how many women don’t even know the basic words for their anatomy.
‘I deliberately make them a little bit frilly, asymmetrical and hairy. Every one is different.’
Lulu makes the tea cosies on commission and gives them as gifts to her friends, but it takes her a long time to craft each one.
She doesn’t follow a pattern and instead makes the designs freestyle.
Sadly though, not everyone is always a fan.
She added: ‘They’re pretty divisive. People have strong reactions – they either love them and think they’re great, or they’re just repulsed.’
Lulu has also made a YouTube video showing others how they can make their very own crocheted vulvas.
The step-by-step guide now has almost 100,000 views with users trying their hand at the skill.
‘I would say, go for it. There’s nothing to lose,’ urged Lulu. ‘The thing about crochet is if you make a mistake you can just undo it a little bit and redo it.
‘The thing about vulvas is there are no rules. You can just make it wobbly and however you like. I guess that’s part of why I like doing it.’
She also laments the pressure to have an ‘ideal’ vagina.
‘Sadly the idea there is an ideal vulva is very censored and unrealistic.
‘Young women especially feel under pressure when actually they’re totally normal.
‘Even now more than ever. Procedures like labiaplasty, or vulval surgery, are on the increase, even for teenage girls. I find that really worrying.
‘I thought we had come a long way in terms of body positivity and understanding inner beauty and being able to express yourself. I feel that there’s still a lot of pressure.’
Lulu was hoping to display her creations at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival but it has been postponed due to coronavirus.
Like many people across the world, Lulu is working from home in her job as a social worker for victims of domestic violence.
She crafts the vulvas during her downtime to help her unwind.