The truth is, your vagina is beautiful. It helps bring babies into the world! It turns on men and women alike! It's the source of our powers! So why do we still hesitate to namecheck them, using slang like "hoo-hah," "lady parts," or, as one old friend called hers, "Topanga"? The only way to normalize a word is to use it, and too many of us fail to do so.
Thankfully, a handful of Hollywood luminaries have demonstrated an impressive boldness in using the V-word in mixed company—or in some cases, in front of millions of TV viewers.
Read these. Breathe them in. Stitch them on a pillow. And remember: Just as men love talking about their supposedly larger-than-life penises, you, too, should feel empowered to bring up your magical vagina whenever you see fit.
It can be argued that no one has had to justify what she does—or doesn't—do with her vagina more than the Friends star. For as long as any culturally aware person can remember, Aniston has had to defend whether or not she's pregnant, why she's not pregnant, if she plans on ever being pregnant, and if never having been pregnant makes her sad.
In a December 2014 Allure interview, Aniston brought her vagina into the conversation. "I don't like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women—that you've failed yourself as a female because you haven't procreated. I don't think it's fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn't mean you aren't mothering—dogs, friends, friends' children."
While we all know where babies come from, public figures don't often name it explicitly. For Aniston, using the word makes the conversation more personal—and highlights just how invasive the gossip around her reproductive health is.
Saldana is a superstar. She's a lead in both the new Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy franchises. But despite her celebrity status, she knows that women aren't getting our fair share. And she isn't afraid to talk about how having a vagina gets in the way of equal pay.
"When you're born, and if you have a vagina, your life is limited," she said at a Los Angeles press conference for Star Trek Beyond in June. "As women, we have to support each other. If Meryl Streep does a movie, if Jessica Chastain does a movie, if Gugu [Mbatha-Raw] does a movie—especially if she's the lead and we see the story through her eyes—we have to be the ones to make those stories a blockbuster hit. If a movie is over-saturated with masculinity, and being gratuitous with the female characters in it, we have to not go see that movie."
Sure, there's a more nuanced argument to be had about what precisely keeps down women in various industries. But something as simple as having a vagina could be the reason a woman doesn't land the role or the best salary.
At 94-years-old, White is still killin' it. With her continued work in TV and film, she's the type of woman that we can all look up to. In her 2011 book If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t), she sums up just why vaginas are so powerful.
“Why do people say ‘grow some balls’?" White writes. "Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”
In the 2002 film The Sweetest Thing, Diaz, along with Christina Applegate and Selma Blair, literally sing a song about sex and their vaginas—so we know she's not exactly shy when it comes to talking about her nether region. Even so, when she appeared on Chelsea Lately in 2014 to promote her book (appropriately titled The Body Book), she shared some excellent vaginal insights.
"There's a diagram of your labia [in the book], and for me, the vagina is such an integral part of the body," Diaz told Chelsea Handler. "We think the vagina is on the outside. I say grab a mirror and play along. Get in there. Learn about it. You're supposed to treat it like the beautiful flower that is, the delicate flower that it is. And you're supposed to nurture it in all the ways that it needs nurturing."
Vaginas are just as unique as our personalities, and it's important for women to understand that there is no one way for them to look. In a 2013 interview with Glamour UK, Keeping Up With the Kardashians sister Khloe made an arguably very important point about how our vaginas are perceived.
“I never take myself seriously,” she said. “When I joke about my camel toe or my big vagina on TV, I don’t realize how many people are watching! I’m with my sisters and we’re the same off camera—that’s how sisters are.”
She added: “Then I go out and someone will say, ‘Oh, my god I have a big vagina too!’ I’m like, ‘WHAT?’ That’s when I can’t believe I said that out loud. But I love to be silly and make people laugh. It’s a compliment, and liberating to think my sisters and I might make other women feel OK about talking about this stuff too.”
In a 2013 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rodriguez made it clear how important it is to talk about our vaginas—but it's really no one else's business what we do with them. The Fast and the Furious franchise star is often questioned about her sexuality, and she wants none if it.
"I don’t talk about what I do with my vagina, and they’re all intrigued,” she said of the media. “I’ve never walked the carpet with anyone, so they wonder: What does she do with her vagina? Plus, I play a butchy girl all the time, so they assume I’m a lesbo.” And apparently when the interviewer pointed out that was an unfair assumption, she candidly replied, “Eh, they’re not too far off. I’ve gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f—ing curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks.”
Use of the term "lesbo" aside, Rodriguez did important work here—like Aniston, her casual mention of her vagina personalized the public speculation around her private life.
At a 2012 Glamour event called "These Girls"—an evening of deep emotions, during which Gloria Steinem, Amy Poehler, and others read aloud monologues about life and love—Wilde spoke candidly about the end of her marriage to her first husband and how hard it was for her…and her vagina.
“I felt like my vagina died,” Wild told the audience, including boyfriend Jason Sudeikis. “Turned off. Lights out … And you can lie to your relatives at Christmas dinner and tell them everything on the home front is just peachy. But you cannot lie to your vagina.”
You certainly cannot.
Marisa Kabas is a Sex + Life reporter based in New York City. She loves baseball, bunnies and bagels.