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Vaginas, Vibrators, and Valentine’s Day

Culture

love thyself

This is the best. I’m in love.

I sent that text to Caitlin and Alex the night of February 14, 2007. It was my freshman year at NYU and I was cuddled in my dorm room bed with a brand new purchase: the Rabbit vibrator. My roommate was, through the grace of the goddess, out of town. I was alone, just me and my pink silicone toy. It was magical.

My best friends knew what my text was about immediately, because they had been with me when I made the purchase mere hours earlier. They, too, had bought their own first vibrators atBabeland that evening, all three of us delighting in the friendly atmosphere and modern aesthetic of the women-owned sex shop in Soho. Before that we had gone to see a student performance of the Vagina Monologues and bought cupcakes decorated to look like labias. We were not combatting being young, single women on Hallmark’s Most Important Romantic Holiday of the Year. We were celebrating it.

I was 18. Before college, I had only understood Valentine’s Day to be a romantic holiday—either you had a boyfriend and got to do “couples” stuff on the day, or you were single and sad about it. Those were the narratives I knew about the Hallmark holiday. The year before I had found myself in the backseat of my car with my very recent ex-boyfriend, making out with him in the school parking lot and letting him take my shirt off even though he had unceremoniously dumped me just a few weeks earlier. And he wasn’t even a very good kisser. And I even brought him chocolate. I was very much a people pleaser, is what I mean.

One year later, it felt nice to stop focusing on pleasing others.

Alex, Caitlin and I had decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day with “vaginas and vibrators” because we were all single, none of us had ever owned a vibrator, and we were all a little bit shy about the word “vagina.”

“I definitely want the pink Rabbit,” I said to Caitlin and Alex as we walked into Babeland, fresh from our viewing of the Vagina Monologues. “Of course you do,” Caitlin said, teasing me for loving all pink everything. Alex wanted the Rabbit too, “but definitely not the pink one.” Caitlin wasn’t originally sure she even wanted to buy a vibrator, but she was there to support us and by the time we left the store she had decided on a small slim blue toy. We walked back to our dorm quickly, giddy and embarrassed and excited and shy and happy.

The Rabbit. Made famous (for me) by Sex and The City. Crafted to hit all the right spots both inside and out. Ubiquitous. I had coveted it for so long. And now it was mine.I used the toy for hours that night, making myself come over and over and over again. And then I texted Alex and Caitlin about it, thrilled to share my experience with them and excited to hear about theirs.

Being able to text my friends about our sex toy experiences was almost as divine as the orgasms themselves. I’d been masturbating for years at that point, but before Alex and Caitlin, I had never felt comfortable talking about it with anyone. I had barely felt comfortable talking about having a vagina, let alone doing anything sexual with it! I am not a shy person. But somewhere along the way, I had learned that vaginas were supposed to be gross and that women were not supposed to masturbate.

It’s hard to remember having that mindset, now that I’m a 27 year old queer woman with internet access, a remarkably sex positive group of friends, and a penchant for GIRLS and Broad City. And yes, age plays a role. I’m more of a grown up now than I was at age 18 because, well, people grow up. I’m not sure if access to the internet has normalized the idea of women masturbating, if queer communities are more open to discussing women pleasuring themselves independently, or if as we get older it becomes easier to talk about the stuff that makes you blush as a teen.

All I know is that after years of masturbating secretly and very privately, wondering why it was a common trope to reference guys “jacking off” multiple times a day but no one in my hometown ever even acknowledged that a girl might want to do that too, buying myself a sex toy and then talking to my friends about using it felt like the most illicit, sexy, scandalous way one could spend a Valentine’s Day. It was a celebration of friend love and self love and self reliance and girl power, and it turned me on and got me off and excited me and satisfied me and left me wanting more, more, more.

I strongly recommend it.

Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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