Weekend Reading: 9 Great Articles About Vaginas

Photo: Judith Glick/iStockphoto

After a busy week of women losing objects in their vaginas (repeatedly) and Amanda  Bynes requesting vaginal murder, you may find yourself wondering where you’ll find the necessary vagina-themed articles to keep you occupied when the Cut is away this weekend. Lucky you: We’ve compiled a selection of our favorite long reads about vaginas. This weekend, lose yourself in these vagina-themed articles — just don’t lose them in yourself.

1. Honeypot, Flaps, Twat: Nicknaming a Vagina Is Tricky Business
Caitlin Moran, Jezebel/How To Be Woman, July 2012

I, personally, have a cunt. Sometimes it’s “flaps” or “twat,” but, most of the time, it’s my cunt. Cunt is a proper, old, historic, strong word. I like that my fire escape also doubles up as the most potent swear word in the English language. Yeah. That’s how powerful it is, guys. If I tell you what I’ve got down there, old ladies and clerics might faint. I like how shocked people are when you say “cunt.” It’s like I have a nuclear bomb in my underpants or a mad tiger, or a gun.

2. Ten Days in the Life of a Tampon
Moe Tkacik, Jezebel, May 2008

It was far. I had never reached that far. It was gross-far, nearing the anus zone far. The tampon was soaked. I dripped on the floor. It was thick and brown and foul. I wanted to say it smelled sort of like Vegemite tastes, but that’s too kind. I wanted to say it reaked of August at the Pearl River Harbor, where I’d lived as a kid and where my brother had sworn he’d seen a dead body floating. It was so much worse, though. The only odor I really felt was equivalent was a Cantonese street food called “stinky tofu,” a fermented tofu renowned for smelling like rotting fish meets sewage meets Black Death.

* This is the original “stuff stuck in my vagina” masterpiece. Click here for a review of the genre.

3. The New Full-Frontal: Has Pubic Hair in America Gone Extinct?
Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic, December 2011

Less than two decades ago, the idea of “taking it all off” seemed painful, unnecessary, and even vaguely fetishistic; As recently as 1996, one harrowing, particularly memorable vignette from Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking play The Vagina Monologues effectively turned the idea of removing pubic hair at the request of a sexual partner into something cringe-worthy and perverted. Trimming away a few strays during swimsuit season was one thing, but removing all the hair from one’s genitals, effectively turning back the clock on puberty? Traumatizing. Selfish. Inhumane, even.

4. A Brief History of Magical Vaginas
Ann Friedman, The Cut, Sept. 2012

Ascribing magic properties to the vagina (or fantasizing about them) is nothing new. In 1748, Denis Diderot’s first pseudonymously published novel was about a sultan with jewels that made vaginas talk to him. Fast-forward a few centuries to the 1977 movie Chatterbox. After a woman’s vagina becomes verbal and sentient, a male character informs our protagonist that her box “is simply that part of you that is speaking up to be heard.” 

5. Can a Better Vibrator Inspire an Age of Great American Sex?
Andy Isaacson, The Atlantic, May 2012

After the introduction of electric lights in 1876, home appliances were plugged in, one by one, beginning with the sewing machine and followed by the fan, the teakettle, the toaster and then, the vibrator. (The vacuum cleaner would come ten years later.) Ads for them appeared in Hearst’s, Popular Mechanics, Modern Women and Women’s Home Companion, among many others. 

6. Vagina, Once Unmentionable, Has Become a Fashionable Term
Rebecca Keegan, The Los Angeles Times, May 2012

According to the playwright Ensler, the contemporary, comedic uses of “vagina” can signal a society advancing — or devolving. “There’s always something interesting when liberation begins to happen,” Ensler said. “There’s a frivolity that gets associated with it. It can cheapen things. It depends who’s using it and why. We are making progress, but I think you don’t ever make progress without push back.”

7. What Do Women Want?
Daniel Bergner, The New York Times Magazine, Jan. 2009

“I feel like a pioneer at the edge of a giant forest,” Chivers said, describing her ambition to understand the workings of women’s arousal and desire. “There’s a path leading in, but it isn’t much.” She sees herself, she explained, as part of an emerging “critical mass” of female sexologists starting to make their way into those woods.

8. The Wandering Womb
Mary Lefkowitz, The New Yorker, Feb. 1996

At the beginning of this century, male educators argued that women would injure their wombs if they studied Greek or mathematics. Ancient doctors believed that the womb could move about in a woman’s body, putting pressure on other organs and so causing serious illness, and even death.

9. Pressing the Flesh
Dan Solomon, The Austin Chronicle, May 2012

If you’d told [Fleshlight inventor] Steve Shubin circa the late Seventies that at 59 years old, he would be running a company that manufactures discrete artificial vaginas, he’d have laughed. Back then, Shubin was a member of the Los Angeles Police Department – he spent six of his seven years in the force on the SWAT team – and he loved it.

“We used to sit around the dinner table cutting out orifices that we liked the best,” Brian Shubin recalls. “I was a 17-year-old sitting at the dinner table, and we had out Hustler magazines and everything, cutting out vaginas and butts and mouths that we liked. We had a collage of vaginas out of magazines, as a family.”

Which body part should we talk about next week? I’m thinking elbow.

Weekend Reading: 9 Great Articles About Vaginas