In early 2016, there was so much hype around periods that it begged the question: Why Is Everyone So Obsessed with Periods Right Now? Almost two years later, and the surge around periods—and, actually, vaginas in general—is only getting stronger.
For the most part, taboo-crushing, women’s-health-advancing, yay-vagina stuff is a win-win for all the ladies. But for every great vagina thing that happened this year, there were some total facepalm moments that, frankly, made us scared for the future of our lady parts.
So, to celebrate the New Year, we bring you the ultimate ranking of 2017’s vagina moments—from worst to best.
10. Some dudes invented the Jiptip.
This may be a bigger offense to penises everywhere, but we’re marking this one down as an epic vag fail as well. ICYMI, some dudes decided that condoms were the worst thing to ever happen to them—and somehow landed on a urethra sticker as a better alternative, giving a whole new (horrible) meaning to “just the tip”: Guys Are Putting Stickers on Their Urethras to Avoid Condoms and It’s Not OK. Spoiler alert: It is not a better alternative.
9. Vaginal glitter bombs exist.
Normally, I’m a big supporter of all-glitter-everything. The one exception? When it comes to glitter bombing your vagina. A company called Pretty Woman Inc. decided to take the internet-breaking ~unicorn~ trend to the next level by offering “sparkalized capsules” full of flavored “passion dust” that you insert into your vagina. Even more offensive than the possible health repercussions of shoving thousands of teeny tiny sharp pieces of edible glitter into your reproductive canal is the idea that women need to add glitter and flavoring to their vaginas to make them (and their orgasms) more magical. In case you haven’t noticed, vaginas are the most freaking magical thing on earth.
8. Goop told people to put jade eggs in their vagina.
The purported health benefits of popping a jade egg up there vary from “cultivating sexual energy” and “increasing orgasm” to “developing and clearing chi pathways in the body” and “intensifying feminine energy.” As crazy as it may sound, there actually is a tiny bit of truth to this; you probably already know about the benefits of kegels, and having an object to “push” against can make it easier to work the correct muscles. But that’s where the benefits end, and the risk of infection and other issues begins. Long story, short: just do your kegels, and save the $50+ you’d spend on a fancy jade egg. (Here’s the full scoop on what doctor’s think about jade eggs and whether they’re good for you.)
7. Trojan made condoms for women.
This might seem like a good thing, but it’s a toss-up. We’re not talking about female condoms. These are regular ol’ latex condoms for men to wear—but wrapped up in pretty purple packaging. The hope is that these new, female-marketed condoms will “inspire women to trust their inner confidence and own their sexual health through buying, carrying, talking about, and using condoms.” FYI, world, many women are happy owning their sexual health with condoms in a perfectly gender-neutral box. (Or they can order some condoms for delivery. BOOM.) But for the many women who do still feel ashamed of carrying condoms, it’s true that these might help them make the leap from going sans condoms to picking up a box at the drugstore. Ideally, a product that’s used equally by both sexes during intercourse will feel equally accessible for purchase—without implementing a “ladylike” design. But until then, baby steps.
6. You can now get your vagina high.
In 2016, we saw an uptick in treating PMS and period side effects with marijuana-based products (like this collection by Whoopi Goldberg and these THC suppositories). 2017 brought a more ~fun~ approach to mixing the two: “weed lube” made with THC and CBD dedicated to addressing the “gender pleasure gap” that exists in beds around the world.
5. Vaginas got their own fitness trackers.
America’s obsession with data doesn’t stop at Apple Watches and FitBits; the latest sexual health tools take tracking to a whole new (lower) level. There was the pelvic floor tracker in the 2017 Oscars gift bag and the sex toy fitness tracker that could give you all the dirty details of your latest hookup. And don’t forget the smart condom that can tell you the “maximum thrust velocity” of your romp. (It’s worth asking, though: should we really be tracking everything?)
4. People are finally *not* cleaning their vaginas.
While there are still plenty of down-there cleansing products rolling out (eye roll), it seems like women are starting to wise-up about what it means to have a healthy vulva and vagina—including the fact that doesn’t need to smell like roses or be steamed, a lá Gwenyth Paltrow.
For example, model Tess Holiday took a stand on Instagram, reminding women that vaginas smell just fine exactly how they are and that no freshening products are needed despite how much companies market them. It’s all right here: Stop Telling Me to Buy Things for My Vagina.
3. Female inmates are getting free period products.
Well, almost. In August, the Federal Bureau of Prisons issued a memo mandating that a variety of feminine hygiene products be available to all female inmates in federal institutions at no additional cost. The bad news is that this doesn’t include all state and local facilities. Here’s hoping 2018 will bring that vag victory. (And some good news for non-inmates: period care subscription boxes now exist.)
2. People are fighting the birth control fight.
While the free birth control days of the Obamacare era might be over, there are plenty of women, companies, and non-profits taking a stand to make sure birth control remains accessible no matter what. Case in point: Lena Dunham’s passionate op-ed about why BC isn’t only about preventing pregnancy, this company aims to provide $20 birth control to women everywhere without insurance, and other companies are cooking up prescription and delivery services for BC that don’t require going to a doctor’s office (which is great, considering many women live in ob-gyn desserts).
1. Women have banded together to stand up for reproductive rights—and the rights of all womankind.
This is way bigger than anatomy. It started in January 2017 with the record-breaking Women’s March (largely in protest of our nation’s new president and his “grab ’em by the pussy” remarks). Whether you were a marcher, a supporter, or otherwise, there was something incredibly powerful about one of the largest demonstrations in U.S. history being organized by and focused on women and women’s rights. (These signs from the march will give you the #girlpower feels.)
It all came full circle by the end of the year with the rise of the #MeToo movement and the outpouring of sexual assault cases. While sexual assault is never good news, the creation of this online community and atmosphere of support gave women the courage and resources necessary to speak out about their experiences. Here’s hoping more women get the justice they deserve in 2018.