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The Vagina’s Media Moment

The Los Angeles Times has a great article examining the media’s new willingness to use the correct name for female genitalia. The conservative advocacy group Parents Television Council went so far as to count vaginas, and found that the V-word is used in TV shows eight times more often than it was a decade ago.

While the PTC isn’t happy about the trend towards frank discussion of female anatomy, it’s arguably a direct result of women having more influence in the media, both as viewers and producers of content. From the LAT:

“Fifty percent of the people in this country have vaginas,” said “Grey’s Anatomy” executive producer Shonda Rhimes, 42, whose medical drama is widely credited with popularizing one of the decade’s most fashionable euphemisms for vagina, “vajayjay,” to work around nervous ABC executives. “The idea that we’re afraid to talk about them or call them by their proper name feels really silly to me…. It’s great that some progress is being made and it’s not such an issue anymore.”

Using the word vagina instead of slang is a sign of empowerment, according to Laura Berman, a professor of gynecology at Northwestern University and a regular on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She tells the LAT:

I did a mini-intervention with Oprah to get her to stop calling it a ‘vajayjay. She saw it as an affectionate term. It still implies to women listening to you that it is something embarrassing to say.

Indeed, it’s hard to have a productive discussion about female health and sexuality if you’re afraid to name the anatomy involved. Even a vagina joke on TV demystifies the word and increases its social acceptability. Vagina jokes for female empowerment! We’ll endeavor to do our part here at FishbowlLA

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