Dear Slate: Why Wouldn’t You Be Able To Say “Vagina” On TV?

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Over at Slate’s Browbeat blog, this season’s crop of Whitney Cummings-penned pilots and their attendant vagina jokes have raised the question “since when can you say vagina on TV?” Wait a second. Why would you not be able to say vagina?

Of course you can say vagina on TV. It’s an anatomical term. You can say stomach. You can say spleen. Therefore, you can say vagina. It’s not a dirty word. Cunt is a dirty word. Pussy is a dirty word. Twat is a dirty word. Vagina is just a fact. Ladies have vaginas. It’s how it is.

Turns out the FCC agrees with us: as long as you’re not referring to genitalia in a titillating or sexually explicit manner, you can say penis or vagina all you want. Which, again, duh. The idea that vagina (or, for that matter, penis) is a word you can’t say on television has some real gross implications as far as putting out the message that sex is dirty and impolite and something you don’t talk about — an attitude that makes people scared to talk about what’s going on with their sex life and reproductive health and, down the road, leads to STDs, unwanted pregnancy, and underreporting of sexual assault.

So don’t pussyfoot (pun 100% intentional) around. Own your vagina. Banish va-jay-jay from your vocabulary. Chuck hooha while you're at it. Even the FCC agrees with us on this one.