Aug 09 2005

Vagina: Birth Canal or Cussword?

Bertie attempts to disarm the paparazzi

Nary a day goes by in the life of a professional patriarchy-blamer but what she is called upon to belch forth her views on sleaze. Mine, congealed here in an easy-to-swallow gelcap, are these: porn is the direct result of misogyny, and also begets misogyny, which makes it a D-FOP ( Double-Fucktarded Ouroboros of Patriarchy), but I do not advocate making it illegal because (a) it’s free speech and (b) too much stuff–pot, flag-burning, sexy cheerleading, taking matches on planes–is illegal as it is.

All of which is by way of introducing the topic of the new Vaginas R Us strip club sign in L.A. Repellent it is, but only in the way that all strip clubs are generally repellent. So why has the sanctimonious local populus gone haywire over it? Why? Apparently because it’s vaginas, not strippers, that people find “offensive.” The townsfolk did not, for example, come down with a fit of prudité when the sign said merely “Live Nude Nude Nudes.”

But shouldn’t the sign really read “Vulvas R Us”?

Addendum: my copy editor neglected to include that I first heard about this at BlondeSense yesterday.


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  1. AndiF

    You are undercutting all your excellent blaming — I cannot work up righteous indignation about signs at stripper clubs while staring into soft, sad puppy eyes (and I’ve seen the message those eyes are sending often enough — “You may think you just fed me but I swear on RinTinTin’s honor, I’ve never been fed in my entire life”).

  2. WookieMonster

    Those/That is the coolest shorts/skirt ever! Then again I’m a huge sucker for paisley.

    Bertie looks so much like a muppet, a small bear muppet. Like if Fozzy had a kid. Absolutely adorable.

    Now to be on topic, I don’t think that any part of anatomy can inherently be offensive. Body parts can be used in offensive ways, and I can totally see strip clubs being an offensive use of body parts, they’re offensive to me, but more in a “I’d never go to one” kind of way. These folks strike me as more “Ick! Girl parts!!! They’re yuckie!” kind of crowd.

  3. LeisureGuy

    “Pudenda ‘R Us” would carry the (desired?) notion of shame.

  4. Knotted Knickers

    But shouldn’t the sign really read “Vulvas R Us”?

    Yes! This has LOONG been one of my pet peeves. Don’t even get me started on The Vagina Monologues, where there is a lengthy rant about shaving one’s vagina (ouch! if it’s even possible), and another one about Bob, a man who likes to look at vaginas, apparently with neither a speculum nor X-ray vision.

  5. Kyria

    Vulvas are at best irrelevant from the patriarchal perspective, hence the pressure to have them surgically reduced.

  6. jennifer

    What about something like “tits & labia major”. Maybe they’re supposed to be OB/GYN’s, too. Otherwise, lap dances are much more than I’ve been lead to believe.

  7. Christine

    I have a confession. I have been to a strip club. And it was the dumbest thing I have ever seen!

    Let me set the scene. My brother-in-law tries to convince my sister-in-law(my husband’s sister and wife of said B-I-L) that strip clubs are harmless and misunderstood. S-I-L agrees to go if another woman will come along, thinking B-I-L will never find someone to agree. B-I-L corners my hubby who thinks this is funny so he works on me. I agree because I never dream that this will ever go down. Almost a year passes and we two couples go out one night and damn don’t the boys remember. No getting out of it. So we go in and the “nice” man at the door does not charge us ladies, but we can’t sit up front at the stage. The rest is even more stupid. Men of various ages tossing money to women who are comfortable taking their clothes off for strangers.

    I don’t agree with the creation of strip clubs, but if men are dumb enough to throw cash at a naked stranger for 3 minutes worth of work then oh well. They were dumb enough to come up with the idea. One of the funniest parts for me is that the last memory my hubby has of a strip club is that he was there with his sister and pregnant wife. (p.s.: I wasn’t showing yet or that would have been really icky. Also, I was surprise at how not icky that club was inside. It was clean and really sort of bland).

    Oh yeah, and Vaginas R Us is the worst name I have ever heard. It would be better suited to an OB/GYN office, but not a very sucessful one at that!

  8. Rene

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! He looks like Paddington, minus the rain hat and toggle-coat. The only way he could possibly get any cuter is if you implanted him with kittens.

  9. Kate

    Bert rocks! I love Bert. I am not, however, Bert’s creepy cyber-stalker. (I am looking forward to reading any Twisty dog-training tips, if you ever choose to dispense any.)

    Anyway, not only does this strip show sound like a no-frills gynecologists it also makes me wonder at the mental capacities of the people objecting to the sign.

  10. nancy m

    Refuse to get sentimental over the pup.
    He’s not being anything more or less than a Canis familiaris when those liquid pools oops, observant eyes direct their attention to every nuance of movement in the adored oops, alpha person. In short, his ears are back to show submission and his eyes are watching where he’s learning from Twisty’s every little movement.
    Those intense gazes are just the start of a lifetime of watching you. My theory is that Homo sapiens is Canis f’s lifetime experiment.
    And I love being so closely observed.

    Porn’s the patriarchy’s friend. It controls its consumers and the patriarchy loves control. It controls how consumers see women and so gets a snaffle bridle to use at the same time.
    The vagina sign, using a non-patriarchy-condoned description, is verging on women taking some of that control away from the patriarchy.
    Big worry indeed for those who have invested in the patriarchy!
    You may like to try consuming a little more of this kind of display if you want to disturb the patriarchal equanimity a bit further:

    muffs for all seasons

    It’s a bit too warm for ear-muffs here in Australia, but I’ve got to have a pair anyway – if only for those blowing days.

  11. Steph

    Yup, it’s supposed to be vulvas. That’s what I’m teaching my six-year old. We’ll leave the vagina out of it until the “where do babies come from?” questions get more persistent.

    And strip clubs=direct marketing of patriarchy.

  12. pyramus

    The whole “vagina/vulva” thing has pissed me off for a long time, too, and in fact I blogged about it yesterday in reference to that strip-club sign, too. I thought the sign was sort of funny; truth in advertising and all. But then, I’m a guy. But then, I’m a gay guy, so maybe it’s a wash.

  13. StealthBadger

    Yaay, go Bertie!!!



    If you’re talking about the kind of pornography where the audience is heterosexual males, well, yes, you’re prolly 99% correct. Much the same way that the Least Common Denominator for beer is Budweiser (bleh), the LCD for porn in this country is Debbie does Dallas – not about sex at all, or even about men and women, but about a very specific power fantasy, accented with the requisite living Barbie doll(s) and such. But the same way that most beer in the U.S. is made on the same sex-in-a-canoe formula as Budweiser, this implies that there is a small amount that is not made with that in mind, or geared toward heterosexual males at all. The big flaw I see in the debate in pornography is that it centers around patriarchal porn, by implication
    stating that other forms of porn (and therefore, other ways of vicariously or privately enjoying your sexuality) aren’t worth mentioning.

    To me, Hustler and the like are the least pornographic things in the whole wide category, and should properly be placed with BDSM porn, which is what their spirit and intent best conforms to (in almost every case, especially in the details of their manufacture). An alternative question might be “So what is your opinion on pictures of two exhibitionists enjoying themselves?”

  14. Chris Clarke

    What about something like “tits & labia major”.

    Lenny Bruce had his moments, didn’t he?

    “Pectoralis majors and gluteus maximus.” “But then you’re offending the Latins!”

  15. Sam

    71% of pornography is used by men when they are alone. 19% of pornography is used by heterosexual couples. Less than 1% is used by lesbian couples.

    Men don’t watch the maybe 1% of porn that isn’t overtly anti-woman progaganda and most porn using women, who are not mostly feminists, don’t watch it either. When speaking of how media affects gender stereotypes and influences the rape culture at large, focusing on 99% of the content used by a majority of men is the only reasonable way to appraoch the subject. Men are 97% of sexual assaulters in the USA and while it may be interesting to muse over the 3% of women sex offenders, it’s not going to be an effective way to answer questions about rape in society and come up with solutions for lessening its widespread negative impact.

    Have you ever asked yourself why mainstream pornography has gotten so much more violent and cruel in the past fifteen years when women are using mainstream pornography like Vivid (world’s largest porn producer) more than ever before? I’ve been hearing for years that as pornography becomes more accepted and used by women that its content will soften up on the misogyny to reflect the changing market, but the opposite has been happening. Defenders of pornography have yet to provide an explanation for why their long-held assumptions about the mainstreaming of pornography have turned out alarmingly wrong, why the market has marched steadily towards the most grotesque, humiliating, and violent scenes despite predictions of positive change.

  16. Sam

    that should be propaganda

  17. Tom

    Um, first of all, flag burning isn’t illegal.

    Second of all…boy, am I in the wrong place. I’ll just be going now.

  18. larkspur

    Tom, Tom, Tom, don’t be frightened. Bertie won’t bite you. And vaginas don’t actually have teeth.* So Bertie’s all you really have to worry about. **

    *Some have lasers, though.

    ** And the lasers, of course.

  19. Nancy M

    The other day a writer for the Australian public broadcaster (ABC) suggested that a more truth-in-advertising name for this lapdancing show would be Clit R Us… but then she said probably not a good name – too hard for that kind of patron to find.

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