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Jada Pinkett Smith Is Over The Stigma Of Vaginas
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Jada Pinkett Smith Is Over The Stigma Of Vaginas

"We have to take the word back."

Culture & Entertainment

Jada Pinkett Smith is not afraid to tell it like it is. For much of the last year and beyond, the inquisitive supermom has used her popular platform to bring the tough conversations to the forefront and speak openly about a wide range of topics that others may find uncomfortable--whether on her Instagram page, which has over 10 million followers, or her Red Table Talk series. Subjects such as open relationships, infidelity, racism, and even her own family problems are quite literally on the table, no pun intended.


But a recent episode featuring Jada, and her co-hosts, daughter Willow and mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, may have been one of the most pearl-clutching yet: an episode of them getting their vaginas cleansed.

Red Table Talk/Facebook Watch

She says:

"We are going to steam our vaginas. Yes, we're gonna steam our vaginas on camera. I ordered some kits from a really beautiful young Black woman who owns her own business. So we're gonna head on up and we're gonna get started. Let's go get steamed, ladies!"

Additionally, the women openly discuss the benefits of the age-old practice, and how it is important for women to celebrate their anatomy despite it being considered "taboo."

She continues:

"I'm sure boys sit around all day talking about their penises. I mean, that's why I'm telling you right now I don't want to hear nothing about this show. It being TMI and all that, 'cause if you can listen to all these little rap artists talk and abuse the vagina, you sure as hell can watch women give it honor and praise. And spend quality time, so I don't want to hear it. They'll be like, 'It's TMI. Oh, my God.' And I don't really care because we have to change the narrative around the vagina, and women have to take it back."

Well said, sis. Well said.

The word 'vagina' is a Latin word that translates to 'sheath' or 'scabbard', and it was used to describe these items until it began to be applied to describe the female anatomy. For hundreds and hundreds of years, it was thought that men and women had the same sexual organs, but that a woman's was simply facing inward instead of outward. That was until some Greek physician came along and explained the difference...kinda.

"Think first, please, of the man's turned in and extending inward...If this should happen, the scrotum would necessarily take the place of the uteri."

Basically, he's stating that if a man's penis and testicles were turned upwards inside a woman, the scrotum would be the uterus and the penis would be the vagina. This theory continued to be popular until around the 1500s, when anatomists were able to get a better look at the female body and produce drawings of the reproductive system. But listen, by that time, the damage was done, and people were hella confused, likely causing the initial shame and secretive nature surrounding the vag that exists today.

But Jada isn't trying to hear all that, she wants women to take the word 'vagina' back.

Not va-jay-jay, not hoo-ha, not the yoni. The vagina.

And this isn't the first time Jada has made the vagina the star of the Red Table Talk. Back in 2018, she revealed she had undergone three non-surgical procedures of vaginal rejuvenation that took years off her vagina.

"When I tell you my yoni is like a 16-year-old, I'm not kidding. I'm talking about the outside. It looks like a little beautiful peach."

She then took her mom to meet with owner Kelly Rainey, who performed the procedure.

Rainey went on to explain that she recommends vaginal rejuvenation to fix issues with dryness, incontinence and pain during sex, along with altering the outside appearance.

The process, which uses a wand that moves in and out of the vagina, "introduces heat which stimulates cellular turnover, which makes you feel younger again and it gets tighter and nicer and functions like it did when we were back in our 20s."

Well, alright then.

So, in 2021, here's to taking back our vaginas, and saying so. Unapologetically.

Watch the full episode, also starring Queen Afua, below:

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Featured image via Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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Featured image: Getty Images

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