By Stephanie Rosenbloom
THIS is the story of how a silly-sounding word reached the ear of a powerful television producer, and in only seconds of air time, expanded the vocabularies — for better or worse — of legions of women.
It began on Feb. 12, 2006, when viewers of the ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy” heard the character Miranda Bailey, a pregnant doctor who had gone into labor, admonish a male intern, “Stop looking at my vajayjay.”
The line sprang from an executive producer’s need to mollify standards and practices executives who wanted the script to include fewer mentions of the word vagina.
We wonder if Oprah is going to get credit for coining this term like Regis Philbin got credit for the matching tie-shirt trend. It is a useful word. The word ‘vagina’ often sounds a little harsh. Vajayjay is more fun to say and the most of the other euphemisms for the female reproductive apparatus are hardly printable. It seems like primetime TV, thanks to the squeamishness of Scrubs’ Dr. Reed, has done a good job of skirting (buh dum pah!) the term vagina. Such stand-ins as hoohoo, hoohah, and chacha make sure the audience knows what the reference is but doesn’t make them uncomfortable.
Gloria Steinem sounds off on the subject, pointing out that vajayjay can encompass the whole of a woman’s parts and not just the pathway to the uterus (like vagina does). But is her use of ‘vulva’ really a better option?
They mention a reference to 30 Rock dropping the V-bomb. Tracy Morgan’s character, Tracy Jordan, tells a page that the key to marital bliss is being a good listener, buying plenty of presents, and know how to ‘work that vajayjay.’ Sage words.
In The Big Lebowski, Julianne Moore’s character, Maude Lebowski, says that her art has been referred to as ‘vaginal.’ And that the word makes men uncomfortable while all day long he will refer to his ‘rod or his johnson.’ We’re glad that have options now, Maude, but in the mean time, we’ll keep using the term ‘lady business’ to reference the female genitalia.