Pamela Madsen

Shameless Woman

What Is Behind the Candid Conversations in the Media About Women's "Private Parts?"

It's the ultimate source of power, the place that has sparked wars...

Posted Aug 15, 2011

The vagina's hit the big time. The Detroit Free Press just ran an article announcing that we as a nation have "stopped whispering about the vagina." In fact, according to the reporter Georgea Kovanis we are in high vagina season! Suddenly everyone feels liberated enough to say the word at least once in almost every sit-com, late night or daytime talk show or reality series.

What sparked Kovanis's call to me for comment was the latest Summer's Eve TV ad, "Hail to the V" that boldly proclaimed the vagina is the ultimate source of power, the one that has sparked wars and driven men to commit murder. There was Cleopatra, the very embodiment of hot sexuality, in front of a throng of V-crazed male worshipers while a few frames later a Renaissance princess watched knights joust to the death for her "hand." What Kovanis wanted to know, catapulted the word vagina from taboo to marketing mainstream.

I told her it's been a long time coming and way overdue. Ever since Hugh Hefner made the vagina a public event with Playboy Centerfolds and Eve Ensler made the it politically correct with "the Vagina Monologues," there's been a slow build toward acceptability in this country. There have been plenty of roadblocks but women would not be stopped from reclaiming what is theirs--their body, their pride and their power.

As a sex and fertility educator, I can tell you it's been a constant struggle to help women help get comfortable naming their genitals. For so many the word vagina still is alien and ugly. But more and more women are determined to take ownership of their bodies and say it like it is.

It's not "down there" as my 85-year-old mother corrected her doctor. "It's a vagina. Got it?"

He may never get it but lots of people do and more of us will as the discussion about vaginas, women's sexuality, desire and power continues to burn up blogs, Tweets (with the hashtag #Vagina, by the way) and FaceBook.

There's a force of female social media activists who are not waiting for the "morality gatekeepers" to allow us to talk about these feminist issues. I'm convinced that the unimpeded flow of female positive information on these channels is accelerating the process of vagina acceptance and all that it implies. Marketers and traditional media, the most avid social media watchers, are taking note. #vagina has arrived.

So my hat's off to Summer's Eve and God help me even the Kardashian sisters for helping to bust up the taboo, even if they don't know that's what they're doing. Personal preferences aside, the one clear message is that the vagina is nothing to be ashamed of. It's is the seat of sex and power. The invitation is for women to own that power and ultimately to own all of themselves--their desires, their fertility, their sexuality and their pleasure.

Remember, throughout history, one of the surest ways to "claim a woman" has been through her vagina. If we can own our vaginas then we can stake claim to the rest of us. This is all about women owning their own bodies. And from where I sit, that's truly what's behind all the vagina talk.

More Posts