Why Whitney Cummings Wants You to Ditch the ‘V-Word’

Whitney Cummings

The comedian explains the importance of combating the stigma around talking about vaginas

Comedian Whitney Cummings has made a name for herself through her various side-splitting comedy specials, films and TV shows — not to mention her podcast, Good For You. Now, she has a mission to help change the way women talk about their bodies.

Through her “Just Say Vagina” campaign, the comedian hopes to normalize the language around women’s reproductive health. While getting her start as a comedian, she found herself — much to her own surprise — being labeled as “dirty” or “edgy.”

“This is the least, to me, taboo thing on the planet,” Cummings told KCM. “And it’s the reason our species has proliferated. So what are we doing?”  

The comedian bemoaned the stigma around women’s reproductive health. As a co-creator behind the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, she recalled how getting Kat Dennings’ character, Max Black, to say “vagina” on the pilot was a “huge fight.” 

But the show was hailed as a success, running six seasons and making many more vagina references (Dennings once joked that her character made “a million and a half”). 

“Leave it to the comedians to have to normalize the word,” Cummings said. “But it made me realize how powerful we must be, that people are so scared to say that.”

Cummings spoke with KCM as part of National Vagina Appreciation Day on April 23, an unofficial holiday that’s being touted by the birth control brand, Annovera.

As the new face of Annovera, Cummings is leading their “Just Say Vagina” initiative which looks to ditch antiquated euphemisms like “the v-word” and encourage women to say “vagina” loud and proud. In doing so, the campaign aims to empower women to be unapologetic about their health care needs, starting with birth control. 

Before making the switch to Annovera, Cummings struggled with finding birth control that worked with her body. Developed by a team of mostly women at The Population Council, Annovera is marketed in the U.S. by Therapeutics MD as the first annual, comfortable and procedure-free birth control vaginal ring. 

Cummings likes its simplicity — and how it isn’t patronizing like some birth control pills. 

“I did the pills for the longest time,” she said. 

“If you want me to remember to take my birth control, you don’t need a calendar, just put the pills in the shape of like tiny crying babies,” she added. 

Even if birth control isn’t right for you, Cummings said demanding these types of candid conversations is the first step toward helping women better advocate for themselves.  

“You need to be able to talk about your own body without shame so that you can advocate for yourself,” Cummings said. 

Written and reported by Tess Bonn.