I know it’s Monday and y’all are barely 3 sips into your morning coffee (unless you attended Yasi’s bday at Cha Cha last night, in which case you’re still deep in a whiskey and taco truck slumber), but it’s time to wake up and talk about Vagina.
It’s recently been brought to my attention that Apple is refusing to sell an app that teaches women how to masturbate. HappyPlayTime, designed by Tina Gong, is a crowd-funded app with an adorable, anthropomorphized vulva mascot that we want to make stickers out of and slap on our bedroom walls and trapper keepers right next to our Lisa Frank unicorns. The idea behind HappyPlayTime is to promote female pleasure and shatter the many stigmas and taboos that surround female masturbation. And in this tampon-hiding, feminine deodorizer-pushin’ culture, I think there should be an app for that.
Now, if you’re not a card-carrying feminist or blessed enough to be in possession of the pleasure volcano known as a vagina, the tech giant’s decision to shoot down HappyPlayTime may seem to you like a harmless, logical choice. If you think it’s an objective call that isn’t at all rooted in a cultural discomfort with accepting that women have a genuine appetite for sex and want to invest in positive experiences with their bodies, then maybe you’ll change your tune when I point out Apple’s reason for opting out.
In their rejection letter to Gong, Apple states:
“Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected. Additionally, Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as ‘explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs ora captivities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings,’ will be rejected.”
First, I’d just like to call bullshit on Apple’s assessment that this app is all erotic and no emotion. By supporting an app that supports a healthy attitude toward female sexuality, Apple would be supporting the emotional wellbeing of women. For young females coming of age and getting acquainted with their changing bodies and burgeoning sexual identities, it can be fucking scary and weird and embarrassing and confusing. I don’t see anything wrong with an app that makes that process a bit more navigable. In fact, I think its downright necessary.
And the benefits of a sex positive and body affirming app like this don’t just stop with inquisitive young girls. They extend to mature women in their sexual primes who are seeking to take control and gain more knowledge about what turns them on during intercourse, so that sex is no longer a robotic exercise entailing trying to figure out if you’re missing an “on switch” while you’re pinned beneath an awkwardly flailing dude with grand delusions of getting you off. It’s no surprise that many men, the gender that I’m assuming is behind Apple’s ruling, don’t advocate for women’s sexual enlightenment – perhaps they don’t want to be discovered for their shortcomings in the bedroom.
In 2014, and with button-pushing shows like HBO’s Girls and Broad City on TV, it’s surprising that I need to come to the defense of masturbation, but apparently I do. In my experience, not only does satisfying yourself feel good, help to relax muscles and cure menstrual cramps, and enhance my body confidence, it also functions to relieve stress so that I have more patience for my sexist co-workers who assume I’m on my period just because I don’t appreciate being spoken to in a condescending tone.
To further poke holes in their logic, a simple app store search of the word “sex” returns a plethora of overtly sexual applications, including, “400+ Sex Positions,” “Rack Stare,”Dirty Game – Hot Truth or Dare,” “3D Sex Positions,” so on and so forth. These are real titles, none of which seem to contain any emotional or educational value. If Apple really doesn’t want to associate with apps containing pornographic material, then how do they explain a handful of cheap and trashy applications promoting the hetero-normative definition of dick-in-vag sex. Smells eerily like sexism and Victorian era oppression. Where’s the deodorizer for that stench?
Grow up, Apple, and get comfortable enough with your sexuality that you’re not afraid of a little masturbation overturning the patriarchy. In the meantime, we’ll keep #PUSHINGTHEVAGENDA.