The Magic Vagina — and Other Myths
You’ve probably heard it.
Everyone has at least once, but for the sake of being thorough, I’ll retell it:
Once upon a time there was a vagina. This was no ordinary vagina. This vagina was magical. So powerful and enticing was this vagina, that it rendered men helpless at its gates. All who entered bent in deference to its will. It was mind controlling. It radically changed lives. It ruined friendships, changed political views, and made its inhabitants dress differently. It even sometimes turned them into vegetarians. All of the descendants of the original magic vagina possessed the same magic, and whatever their will might be, it was done.
Captivating stuff, right? It’s been told for centuries. But it’s bullshit. And every time I hear a person call another person pussy-whipped, I kind of want to fight them. Do people really think that a woman’s vagina is responsible for the actions of her sex partners? That a vagina is capable of mind control? Somehow this notion is easier to subscribe to than the one that men are accountable for the things that they do.
The latter is the truth, so I’m going to repeat it:
Men are accountable for the things that they do.
And we need to hold them to that. Otherwise, Spike Lee’s Chiraq happens. Vaginas don’t kill people, Spike Lee. Most often, men do. Vaginas don’t control that. I can’t count how many times I’ve witnessed men blaming vaginas for the things their male friends do.
You don’t want to hang out with me, you’d rather spend time with your partner? Pussy-whipped. You don’t want to do the things we did when you were single? Pussy-whipped. You’ve grown as a person? Pussy-whipped.
This myth is dangerous.
Not only does it misdirect responsibility from men to women, but it reduces a woman’s influence solely to sex. I believe in sexual empowerment, and there is no doubt in me that women can find agency in sex appeal, but women are also people with ideas and interests and opinions. Generally, when people come together, they influence one another. And more often than not, vaginas aren’t a part of that equation.
I love reality TV. My husband used to scoff at it. Now, he watches it with me. He knows the characters’ names. I didn’t brainwash him with my vagina, I promise. Turns out, often, when you care about someone, their interests begin to interest you. When we met I listened almost exclusively to Leadbelly era blues. Now, I love it when he plays hardcore music. Did he dickstract me from who I really am?
No. That’s ridiculous.
Almost as ridiculous as insinuating that women can only impact men by hypnotizing them via sex. Still, there are memes circulated about how Erykah Badu altered her rapper ex-boyfriends’ fashion sense with her bewitching body.
The myth of the magic vagina is in the same vein as other myths, like the one that what a woman wears can somehow prevent a man from assaulting her, or the one that a woman who gets too drunk is asking for it.
It places the burden of men’s actions on women, as if women don’t have their own burdens to bear. So I want to dispel it, though it feels silly as hell to have to.
But, here goes: