Starring… The Vagina

Over the last few months, women’s bodies have come under the spotlight not only on the political stage. Popular culture and popular media have, too, have thrust women’s privates into public light.

The vagina, as a subject in itself, made its theatrical debut in 1996 through “The Vagina Monologues,” a play of monologues about women’s biological and emotional life experiences. Eve Ensler, the writer and activist behind the show, recently noted that attention to this topic has amplified tremendously in pop culture. In a CNN article from March 28, Ensler said: “The vagina has become so real, so present, so powerful that people are going after it directly.”[1]

When we think to popular culture events of the last few months, we have a lot of evidence to back up Ensler’s claim. With women’s bodies being so freely and analytically discussed in politics and on the news, multiple cultural outlets have followed suit. By mocking and satirizing the government’s conversations on women’s bodies, the American public has broken down the political monopoly on the subject.

Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report have all featured noteworthy sketches within the last few weeks regarding the ridiculousness of the women’s health conversations in all levels of government. In SNL’s quickly famous “Really!?!” skit from February 19, Amy Poehler mocked the Virginia legislature’s intense discussion on transvaginal ultrasounds by joking, “I love Transvaginal, it’s my favorite airline.”[2] After Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut,” a slew of satirical YouTube videos called attention to words used to describe women’s bodies, such as the well-known “Reformed Whores Response Video.”[3] Popular culture has even adopted some new vocabulary around the topic, referring to the most ardently anti-women’s rights legislators as “Gyno-governors” in news stories and blog posts.

As unfunny as the political conversations on women’s bodies certainly are, the humor that pop culture has brought to the topic has helped to impress the absurdity of these discussions on the minds of the American public. And, of course, these pop culture commentaries have given us some great material to laugh about.

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