“Cherry Bowl” by Jenny Eggleston

The Calla Campaign is a global campaign that empowers women to explore their bodies through technology, storytelling, and art. Born out of a medical device that makes cervical cancer screenings more comfortable and globally accessible, the Calla Campaign bolsters the voices of women in re-imagining societal perceptions of female reproductive anatomy and healthcare.

“When I think of female reproductive anatomy, I think that it is enigmatic, hidden from us physically…this was an eye-opening experience to be able to visualize something that is so intrinsically a part of me that I have never seen in this way before.”

Calla Study Participant, 2017

Though movements like #MeToo have begun unveiling the truth behind women’s sexual and reproductive rights, modern gynecological practices still utilize medical technologies that were in use well before the 1st suffragettes even began to protest for their right to vote.  This paradox – encouraged by an atmosphere of shame and invisibility of female sexuality and reproductive health – is the curtain we are trying to pull back. Just as outdated tools like the speculum are still the status quo, outdated perceptions of the reproductive parts of a woman’s body somehow paints it as a site of shame and vulnerability.

The cervix is an organ that marks us. It’s appearance changes geographically, just as it changes based on the context, resources or access a woman has to healthcare. It changes when a woman has been raped, it changes when a happy mother gives birth to her newborn for the first time, and yes, it changes every day of your 28-day cycle. It can bring us so much joy, for others of us so much pain. Yet, when do we ever sit down and talk about it? Do we even know what it looks like? We need a mechanism to allow us to us unveil our real truths, associations, and perceptions. We are now in the 4th wave of feminism, we are not afraid, it is time that our medical tools move along with our strength so that we can take control of our own bodies, be free to self-explore and self-visualize.

by Claire Alexandre

An initiative led by the Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies at Duke University, the Calla Campaign comprises of a multi-media art exhibition, educational arts workshops, and a documentary film inspired by the potential that new visualizations of the cervix brings to women’s well-being. Check out the Callascope Study page for more information about the medical device itself.