Let's Talk About Queefs

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The first time I recall queefing was around age eight, while climbing a tree. I recall thinking “wtf just happened to my vagina, I’m going to die.”

Obviously I didn’t die and lived to queef some more, including during the ol’ penis-in-vagina, much to the chagrin of my lesser sexual partners and the humor of the superior ones. One man thought the queef was going to harm his penis and another thought it was a fart gone awry.

Both were wrong, though the former was clearly more catastrophically failed by our educational system than the latter. Queefing, the fart-like sound made via the expulsion of trapped air from the folds and flappy bits of the vagina, is common yet misunderstood and deeply derided as inappropriate in a way that other bodily functions are not.

Every vagina has queefed at least once in its life, yet it remains the final frontier of body humor.

How is it that we have long accepted fart, feces, and phallic humor to the point that they appear easily in children’s movies and comedies, and yet queefs are a step too far?

The all-female “Ghostbusters” features some opening queef wit that got beta males on the internet all kinds of riled up. Say what you want about the movie and its merits as a remake, but that queef joke blew the minds of people who forgot that vaginas exist.

“IM NOT EVEN FUCKING KIDDING THEY JUST MADE A QUEEF JOKE IN GHOSTBUSTERS FUCK THIS” responded one duly traumatized Twitter user.

Katie Dippold, the writer behind the crass body humor of Ghostbusters, wasn’t trying to make a big political statement with her queef joke. She expressed her surprise in “W Magazine” at the pushback that her queef joke received in the screenwriting process. “It’s not like I thought that one day I would be fighting for a queef joke, but it was a big debate. Fart jokes have been in movies for years. If the only thing offensive about this is that it comes from the vagina, I’m like ‘that’s on you!’”

She hit on the key point in the big queef debate: The problem with queefs is that they come from vaginas.

Queefs are utterly benign. They are symptomatic of absolutely nothing significant. Maybe you were having particularly vigorous and sloppy sex or maybe you were moving from downward dog to child’s pose. Maybe your pee stream was too ambitiously forceful.

Farts, on the other hand, are a sign of some kind of bacterial activity in your bowls that may or may not be a result of poor diet, lifestyle habits, or some other digestive weirdness. Farts are minute fecal particles shooting out of an anus, yet they are less disgusting than air popping out of a healthy vagina.

Vagina-phobia is a common symptom of misogyny in general. Back in March of this year I wrote about the importance of taking a holistic approach to sex education that includes both sexual pleasure and accurate medical information about our bodies.

Dr. Logan Levkoff, a renowned sexologist, told BTRtoday that “the fact that we call the vulva the vagina is really problematic and indicative of how little we know or, maybe even worse, how little we care about women’s sexual organs and function.”

Levkoff accurately and succinctly hit on the problem: We teach women from a young age that their genitalia is, at best, something to be ignored and at worst, to be ashamed of. We learn the names of our body parts but girls are generally not taught that they have a vulva which includes the clitoris, labia, and vagina.

It goes beyond using “vagina” to refer to any part of the vulva, because even “vagina” is too inappropriate to speak of. Our genitalia becomes a foggy mystery below our navels that we’re taught to never speak of.

Earlier this year, a Michigan middle school art history teacher was fired for callously traumatizing her eighth graders by uttering the word “vagina”–in the context of the vaginal artistic motifs of Georgia O’Keefe paintings–without getting prior administrative approval.

Back in 2012, Michigan State House Rep Lisa Brown was barred from speaking on the floor after saying vagina in a debate on an ultra-restrictive abortion bill: “and finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m so flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means no.’”

Not only were her male colleagues deeply and personally affronted, they were also charmingly concerned for the trauma that Brown’s language might have induced in their female counterparts. Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, told “The Detroit News” that “[what she said] was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.’

It’s hard to get past the hilarity of this statement. “Mixed company” is something that necessarily includes at least one woman being present yet apparently, hearing the utterance of the proper term for one of our body parts is enough to send us into swooning fits of female hysteria.

It’s no wonder this cultural mentality has manifested a movie about a vagina that bites off dicks.

Getting back to queefs. There is a line, however circuitous it may appear, between these two stories and the outrage and horror at queefing in comedies like “Ghostbusters.” So long as we cower in fear at the sound of the word “vagina,” we will always react with a ridiculously overzealous degree of nausea at the idea of queefing.

To be clear, this wasn’t the first appearance of a queef joke cinematic history, but it’s definitely in a very small club. Furthermore, most queef jokes manifest at the expense of the woman queefing. In one of his many artistic gems, Ben Stiller’s “The Heartbreak Kid” features Malin Maria Åkerman queefing post-coitus with Stiller. Spoiler: she’s not the woman he ends up with and the queef was one of several devices meant to comically display her obvious unsuitability as a serious love interest. She is also a cocaine addict and has sex with a donkey in a post-credits scene.

What made the queef joke in “Ghostbusters” different was that it wasn’t a device meant to portray a woman as dirty troll with five heads and a penchant for bestiality. It was a small, rather innocuous joke made by a main character to another main character, neither of whom we are supposed to dislike and both of whom we are supposed to support.

Feminist queef humor means finally making queef humor as utterly mundane as fart jokes are. They’re kind of dumb but also harmless, just like any other bodily humor wisecrack. Let’s all learn from the “South Park” brand of wisdom and just let the queefs fly as they may.

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