Every vagina has superpowers?

Pregnant Woman Mother Character Super Hero Red Cape Chest Crest

In my efforts to expose American homebirth midwives as woefully ignorant fools I have no better allies than homebirth midwives and their supporters.

Case in point, this tweet from the annual conference of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) that took place this weekend:

vagina superpowers

The woman behind this statement is Roanna Rosewood. According to her website:

Roanna is an the author of the Amazon Bestseller, Cut, Stapled, & Mended: When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean, an award-winning international speaker, co-founder and host of Birth Plan Radio, and the executive action chair of Human Rights in Childbirth and most importantly, a mother. In her not-so-humble opinion, the latter makes her a true birth expert.

Bestseller? It’s #143,785, but Roanna is obviously into hyperbole.

Human Rights in Childbirth? You remember them, the folks who think human rights in childbirth means protecting baby slaughterers and other incompetents.

Being a mother makes her an expert in birth? I wonder if she thinks she’s an expert in cardiology because she has a beating heart.

There are only a few words in the tweet, but they convey so much about American homebirth midwives:

1. They are startlingly immature

Rosewood’s claim is a great example of the magical thinking that characterizes American homebirth midwifery. If you wish it, it is so. You can be a best selling author even when your book is ranked #143,785 because you said so. Defending women who commit manslaughter constitutes supporting human rights in childbirth because you said so. You’re an expert in birth because you said so. Your vagina has “superpowers” because you said so.

2. They lack basic education in childbirth

This is obviously going to come as a shock to the folks at MANA, but the vagina has no powers at all in childbirth. In is entirely passive. The uterus and the mother’s pushing efforts do all the work. Claiming that the vagina is powerful in childbirth is like claiming that the highway makes cars function.

3. They are biological essentialists

Women are constantly being reduced to their uteri, vagina and breasts. I’ve yet to see a homebirth advocate claim that her brain has superpowers. Why is that?

4. They are woefully lacking in self-esteem

You really have to have a pathetically low sense of self-esteem to be impressed with the notion that your vagina has superpowers.

5. They are fools

Not only did a nitwit make a ridiculous statement, but it was promptly and publicly relayed to the other fools following MANA13 as if it were wisdom.

Homebirth kills babies and it’s easy to see why. Anyone who believes that women’s vaginas have superpowers is not qualified to provide care in the inherently dangerous process of childbirth.

Why would any woman hire fools like these?

  • agathamaya

    Please stop the mouth diahrrea coming out of your mouth! If you are gonna say something please base it on evidence based research not in your bias of being a OBGYN! Both midwives and doctors work towards improving the health of mothers and babies… We really dont need a never ending rant of who is best!
    You are say you are a professional… Then prove it. When I read your articles something inside me tells me that maybe, just maybe, you hate midwives so much because you secretly wanted to be one…
    Open your eyes woman! The reality is that midwives also save lives and THERE IS CURRENT RESEARCH that proves home birth is safe, however, people need to check credentials from BOTH midwives and doctors before receiving care. It is up to mothers to make an informed decision of ANY care they receive…
    Now I can flush the toilet….

  • Teleute

    The fact that her book has slipped down to #151,617 in the four days since you made this post strongly suggests it would have ranked in the top 20 the week it was released. You’re just jealous of her vagina having superpowers.

    • Awesomemom

      Did her vagina write the book? If it didn’t and merely allowed a baby to pass through it I am very unimpressed.

      • Teleute

        Perhaps a manuscript? Superpowers or not, I can’t imagine any vagina being able to type out a single sentence… unless it had tentacles. o_O Shucks, that MUST be it!

  • ulmar

    Sweet penis, I didn’t know my vagina is a wizard!
    The stupidity of the home birth advocates has no limits.

  • Ellen Mary

    I was wondering when you would get around to Cut, Stapled, and Mended. I am very sympathetic to vaginal birth & expectant management & I thought it should be called ‘Hallelujah, my baby didn’t die! X3! At one point she has vaginal intercourse post membrane rupture, like a day or so in.

  • Carrie C

    I really, really love this post, Dr. Amy! So true!

  • Lisa the Raptor

    *Sings* “Here I come to save the day! We know that Mighty Gynie is on the way!”

    • Lisa the Raptor

      ^ My Vagina typed that^

  • Guest

    Really? Super powers? My vagina would make me so happy right now if it could vacuum the floor and do the dishes.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Isn’t the “vagina with superpowers” more of a stand-up comedy act by a guy? Nothing to do with birth, but how it turns men into drooling idiots? Shoot, I’m sure Robin Williams has had to have done a “Super Pussy!” routine. If not, I can certainly envision it.

    Odd that supposedly “women empowerment” supporters would use that same trope.

    • Sue

      Ironic, isn’t it? If The Patriarchy reduces us to breasts and vaginas, we are mere sexual objects. If it’s in the name of NCB, it’s EMPOWERMENT!

  • fiftyfifty1

    My vagina had Group B Strep. Is that a superpower?

  • fiftyfifty1

    This post reminds me of a Dan Savage column from 15-20 years ago. He was ripping on the trend of ascribing magical powers to the vagina and specifically giving it a mystical name. I wish I could remember some of the extremely stupid true life examples he had for vagina names. Then he made up a list of equally stupid penis names to show how silly the concept was. The only one I can remember was “The Log of my Wisdom”.

    • Zornorph

      I prefer ‘dude piston’.

      • deafgimp

        I call it a purple-helmeted love warrior.

    • yentavegan

      side note.. in 2004 my daughter’s entrance essay to university was about Dan Savage.

      • Certified Hamster Midwife

        Before he even started It Gets Better!

  • Dr Kitty

    Human anatomy, biochemistry and physiology are, indeed amazingly complex, intricate and beautiful.

    But I don’t think that is what they mean.

    The vagina’s “superpowers” are no more impressive than the “superpowers” of a penis, and considerably less impressive than the functions of the pancreas or the kidney.
    Come on- nephrons people, they are AMAZING!

    But urine is less cute than BayBees and of no interest to birth junkies, so that explains that.

  • LibrarianSarah

    If by “superpowers” she means “ability to give birth” than no not every vagina has superpowers. Infertility is a thing Roanna.

    • Amy M

      I see your point (and agree), but the vagina isn’t even responsible for the infertility…more often a hormone issue, or the ovaries, or sometimes the uterus, but very rarely is the vagina itself the actual issue. Now, a super-vagina that could OVERCOME all that other stuff, that would be super, indeed.

      • LibrarianSarah

        Just clarifying, I never said that the vagina is responsible for infertility but that vagina’s belonging to infertile people are unable to give birth.

  • WhatPaleBlueDot

    My vagina’s superpower is the power to murder sperm by the zillions.

    • Dr. W

      There are worse places to die.

      • WhatPaleBlueDot

        Not for the cave.

  • Elle

    Oh but they *do* claim their brains have superpowers… at least that’s my takeaway from the endless, generic “I am educated!” and “Do your research!” tropes. Since the sources of such “education” are rarely specified or deemed important, I can only assume that superpowered brains are all that are required.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      Here I thought they were claiming ignorance is a superpower.

      • Zornorph

        Yes, but they call it ‘Mama wisdom’.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      “Different ways of knowing”

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    Out of all the parts of the female reproductive system, I actually think the vagina is the most unimpressive. I mean, it’s a passageway. Penises and other stuff go in, babies and menstrual blood come out.

    Whoop-de-do.

    When compared to a uterus, or ovaries, or even the fallopian tubes… the poor vagina is pretty boring.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      [guy contribution]
      The clitoris, now THAT has superpowers!
      [/guy]

  • CanIJustSay

    Let’s also not forget that you can be a woman and a mother WITHOUT having a vagina, or breasts, or whatever other gender essentialist crap she’s touting as magical today. Transphobic much, Roanna?

  • theadequatemother

    Vaginal is magical!

    I feel like this is the new header on top of all the ministry of health maternal care policies.

    Soon there will be ads on buses right next to “breast is best!”

    • Amy M

      Yeah, I thought all those women’s superpower was that they made milk. Now they are claiming super-vaginas too? They are borderline mutants, is what they are.

      • Certified Hamster Midwife

        Historically, male bodies have been considered the default and female bodies just a lesser, crappier, weaker version of male bodies. this seems to be a feminist reclamation of that, but still leaves male bodies as the human default and turns women into powerful superheroes instead of lesser beings or mere vessels for the creation of more men.

        So the semiotics of this are nice and empowering, but troubling. Also, insulting the biology and contributions of half of the human race isn’t very feminist.

        • PrimaryCareDoc

          Interestingly, embryology-wise, female bodies are actually the default. Without production of anti-mullerian hormone, embryos will remain female (as far as I can remember from med school. Too lazy to look it up and confirm)

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            Right, isn’t that where androgen insensitivity syndrome comes in? Without testosterone, even a male body develops as female in appearance.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            Yup.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            True enough and it only makes sense that females would be first. I always kind of thought that was the reason men invented the Adam and Eve story. They could see the writing on the wall with women giving birth and all.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Is that like saying without lysine, they are all female?

            Yeah, Jeff Goldblum didn’t buy that one.

          • BeatlesFan

            Nature ah, ah, ah… finds a way.

          • Kumquatwriter

            Somebody else must watch the Nostalgia Critic.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Nah, they watch Jeff Goldblum.

            The best Jeff Goldblum is Frank Calliendo’s impression.

            “Jeff, what’s your favorite food?”
            “I like hot dogs, I do, with ketchup and mustard, and chili dogs are good….wait a minute, I’m a vegetarian”

          • BeatlesFan

            Actually, never heard of it. I don’t have cable.

          • Kumquatwriter

            Me either; its a web series at thatguywiththeglasses.com and in his review of Jurassic Park, there was a whole segment on how to, ah, do a, ah, perfect Jeff…Jeff Goldblum…

        • Zornorph

          Yeah, well, when you only have a rib to work with, there’s a limit as to what you can come up with.

        • auntbea

          I was always of the opinion that women got the nicer, smoother, less stinky version of male bodies. With no weird dangly bits. But I don’t see any reason to believe that my non-dangly bits are supernatural.

      • Amy M

        JUst to clarify, by mutants, I meant X-men. (or X-women)

  • I don’t have a creative name

    When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean

    Ugh.

    That title makes me vomit. Exactly from whom was she reclaiming the body? Perhaps she was abducted by space aliens during her cesarean. Me, I had nothing to reclaim. My body was mine all along and method of birth, whatever is be, cannot take that away.

    • I would think reclaiming one’s mind might be more accurate.

    • amazonmom

      Funny, I think choosing a C/S this time around is giving birth on my terms. It may make me shallow and vain but I really fear tearing and incontinence. I like my vagina the way it is, my abdomen is tough it can handle another incision!

      • anion

        100% ditto. Being able to choose a repeat c-section was being able to take control and give birth on my terms for me, too. I didn’t want vaginal birth; I didn’t want the stretching and the possibility of tears or the incontinence or increased risk of prolapse later in life or any of that.

        TMI, I know, but my husband and I are both quite happy with my vagina just as it is and always has been.

    • Kumquatwriter

      Every time I hear this crap about how cs needs to be “recovered and healed from” (with FEEELINGS, not just stitches etc.) I want to kick these women right in the magical cooter.

  • Josephine

    Slightly OT – Wow. Dr. Amy, I am blown away by your ability to choose stock photos. I can’t stop laughing!

    • auntbea

      I am now wondering whether they have a pregnant superhero lady wearing every letter of the alphabet.

      • MaineJen

        Methinks the photo hath been photoshopped, Milady. 😉 (The cape looks fake)

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        I photoshopped the “V.” The original had an “M” for mother.

    • Antigonos CNM

      Yes, I LOVE the photo. I wish I’d had it when I was still working in my clinic.

  • Mel

    My vagina has a super-power – my PC muscles respond to any stimulation by clamping shut with the power of JAWS! Thank you, hypertonic cerebral palsy. After several months of physical therapy, I learned to control my super-power vastly improving the experience of pelvic exams and eventually sex…..

    I am exceptionally grateful that my GP recognized vaginimus when I came in for my first pelvic exam as a teenager so I missed the experience of being unable to participate in vaginal intercourse. While I still have “interesting” days, I’ve been amazed how much easier pelvic exams were once my body didn’t clamp down.

  • yentavegan

    Dr. A,
    Why do you have to be so mean? Doncha know that for thousands of years women have been oppressed by the male dominated medical establishment? Doncha know that when we celebrate and embrace our uniqueness we heal the collective pain and anguish of women world wide? Our vaginas do have super powers and if you don’t believe that it is because you are small minded and hurtful. You are part of the problem. I guess you must hate your vagina.

    • Burgundy

      HAHAHA. I was waiting for a response like that (but won’t be as funny as yours) to drop in. What are the haters going to do now? you took their glory :p

  • Rochester mama

    I wish my vagina could control the weather instead of just give birth.

    • Zornorph

      I knew a woman who’s vagina could swallow the ocean.

    • yentavegan

      OOO is this a game? I wish my vagina could get people to stop talking on their cell phones while driving.

    • Josephine

      I wish my vagina could make dinner. That’s one of my least favorite chores of the day.

    • mollyb

      I wish my vagina could drive for me. I hate driving.

    • Lisa Cybergirl

      I wish my vagina could fight crime with the awesome power of the SuperQueef!

  • DaisyGrrl

    If a man tweeted about his penis having superpowers, I’d wonder why he never matured past the age of 16. I feel exactly the same about this woman. It’s a vagina. Get over it.

    • Zornorph

      Well, my penis is more powerful than a locomotive, but it can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Isn’t the right comment something like, “It can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, but they are all jealous of it”?

  • SkepticalGuest

    Not agreeing with the woo at all, but do want to explain a bit about the Amazon Bestseller thing.

    Amazon has many subcategories of books. A marketing strategy for many Amazon-savvy authors is to carefully subcategorize their book so they are essentially in a very niche market. Then they can become a Bestseller in that niche market.

    Also, there needs to only be one week that your book is the top seller in that niche market in order for you to be an Amazon Bestseller. Even if she’s not there right now, it doesn’t mean she’s lying.

    I agree this is rather a gimmick for ALL the authors who use this. On the other hand, it’s how the publishing world is currently working and the fact that she’s proclaiming it means she at least knows something about publishing if not anything about childbirth.

    • Clarissa Darling

      Interesting, I always wondered why there seemed to be so many “best sellers” no one had ever heard of.

      • anion

        It’s like writers who call themselves “Award-winning,” but either don’t list the award or when they do and you Google it you find it was awarded by his or her own four-member critique group.

    • Renee Martin

      She is a best selling author in the niche category of books by moms that had a CS, then had a VBAC, and went on and on about it.

    • anion

      Yep. To those of us in publishing (I seem to think you are as well?), “Amazon Bestseller” means one or more of the following things:

      1. I got a bunch of my friends and family to buy my book at three o’clock on Tuesday so it would hit the list for a couple of hours/a day;

      2. I have no real accomplishments to discuss but am desperate to make myself look important;

      3. I assume you’re a sheep who will buy any book that says “bestseller” on it without discrimination;

      4. I do not personally realize the difference between being a bestseller in a niche category on Amazon for a short time and being an actual bestseller on an actual respected list.

      I’ve been an Amazon Bestseller for almost all of my books; one of them has been a bestseller in its category for over a year and a half. I don’t run around calling myself a “bestselling author” or calling the book a bestseller, because I know what a real bestseller is.

    • auntbea

      She is the number 86 book in Ob/Gyn. Bestsellers include top 100, so there you go.

      • Clarissa Darling

        Amazon let her in the Ob/Gyn category? That’s sad.

        • SkepticalGuest

          I believe the categories are self-defined by the author/publisher. Amazon is not wasting resources paying someone to review the book and determine the proper category for it.

          But yes, very sad that she’s in the OB/Gyn category. Very sad indeed.

          • Clarissa Darling

            Yeah, I don’t suspect Amazon spends a lot of time and money reviewing the books they sell and making sure they meet any kind of standards. Unfortunately, no one else does either, which means a lot of authors get legitimacy they do not deserve. I’ve come across some very shady “literature” on Amazon, it’s worse since pretty much everyone and their brother can self publish an e-book these days.

          • MaineJen

            I have a Kindle, and some of the “free” books available are laughably bad. Once in a while you’ll get lucky and find a good one, and (I suspect) they ‘plant’ a few good quality ones in the monthly lend-a-book program for Prime members. But most of them? Crap. You have to pay at least 8.00 for the really good books.

          • Tim

            My friend sent me a link to erotic dinosaur fiction the other day (yes, that is exactly what it sounds like)

          • KarenJJ

            And I imagine that it is the best-seller of the erotic dinosaur genre.

          • anion

            $8.00? I just self-pubbed a novella as a companion piece to one of my NY-pubbed series, and it’s only $3.99. 🙂 Lots of us do that.

            I agree most of the free books are awful, though.

          • Clarissa Darling

            I think the good thing about self publishing is it allows talented authors who might be overlooked by big publishing houses to reach an audience. The bad thing is it also allows egotistical nincompoops who can’t write worth a damn to reach an audience.

            I bought something one time by an “award winning” author which I didn’t realize at first was self published. I figured I’d try it since it had a 4 star review. It basically turned out to be laughably bad rewrite of the Twilight plot (which I think is already laughably bad) with some other supernatural entities substituted for vampires No, it wasn’t an intentional spoof but, it ended up being worth the 5.99 or whatever I paid for it just for the laughs! Is there a literary equivalent of the Razzies because that’s the only award I can imagine this author winning.

          • anion

            Oh, if you enjoy laughably bad self-pubbed stuff, I can give you some names… 🙂 (Also, if you like reading snarky reviews of such books, give yourself an hour or so and Google “crevette elven vampire.” It’s a classic.)

            And I bet $5 that the four-star review came from one of the author’s friends or family members. I always check to see what other reviews each reviewer has written, when I come across a book with only a few reviews in general. Some people even pay for reviews. The world of self-pubbing can be enormously scummy. (I’ve seen more than one person now claim that if a book has too many 5-star reviews they assume the author cheated and won’t buy the book, which is infuriating to those of us who actually earned our 4+ star average, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant.)

            (Sorry, obviously this is a big-deal subject for me.)

          • anion

            ETA: Click the tag at the bottom of the Crevette review. That’s why you’ll need some time.

          • Kate B

            Oh please, if you have the time, check out the Kindle work of ‘Barbara B Love’ – read a few sample chapters http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fuck-Boots-Barbara-B-Love-ebook/dp/B0070SZ4UQ/ref=sr_1_75?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1383597312&sr=1-75&keywords=boots
            I hereby challenge you to find a WORSE self-published book than this. Can’t be done.

          • Dr Kitty

            Don’t.
            I compulsively read all the Jack Reacher books back to back and then realised I’d spent about £60 on Lee Child kindle downloads. In my defence, I was sick, I read fast, they’re page turningly addictive light reads and Amazon makes it so easy to buy the next book in a series.

            That was last month, I’m now half way through The Luminaries to make up.

          • Kumquatwriter

            Here is where I’d like to point out that a former enemy self-published a book all about mw and my ex, and what horrible con artists we were. He is one; I was super-duped, and the author and I eventually made peace. But her book remains on Amazon, where it has been for sale 9 years…

            tl;dr: A book on Amazon doesn’t have to contain facts.

          • thepragmatist

            Ugh, I married a con who went on to con a number of my friends (am still paying out the cash) and I got lumped in with him! NOT A CON! Was just niave and trusting… I am glad he’s just a small-time, lying cheat so can’t say there’s a book out there. I might write one though, lmao.

  • Amy M

    Talk about a fetish. They should revive those fertility Mother Earth figures from the Cro-Magnon days or whenever those were dated to.

    • Renee Martin

      They do have those, the modern recreation….

      • auntbea

        I have several beautiful, modern ones from West Africa. Whenever the moving guys come to move my stuff, they always get a little ooked out having to carry the wooden ladies around.

    • Kumquatwriter

      They do. Its called “etsy”

    • Dr Kitty

      I hope none of them discover Sheela-na-Gigs.

  • You know what, I do consider my vagina fairly important – it undertakes a number of functions, and because I value what it does, I refuse to limit its scope of practice to just childbirth and I will seek to protect it’s use and functionality over the course of my lifetime. I wouldn’t think of using power tools without eye protection, so why in the world would I want to undertake childbirth without precautions to ensure that my vagina and myself emerge from it with as little damage as possible both emotionally and physically? That means having qualified care providers attend birth.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    She’s clearly never seen The Incredibles:

    “And then, when everyone’s a super hero … No one will be.”

    Roughly 50% of the world’s population has a vagina. Even if it was true that the vagina plays some special role during childbirth, it would be the same role played by every other vagina in the world. And when everyone has a body part that does exactly the same thing as every other one of those body parts, it’s not “super.” It’s ordinary. Sorry.

    • Amy M

      Yep…just like all the children who live by Lake Wobegon are above average.

      • Kumquatwriter

        And all the women are STRONG, remember?

        • Sue

          And the men are good looking! I LOVE Garrison Keillor.

  • Zornorph

    The only vagina I knew that had superpowers was the one in the movie Teeth.

    • Amy M

      Does Pillow Pants confer super powers on the vagina symbiotically?

      • Amy M

        Zornorph! I was counting on you getting this reference!

        • Dr Kitty

          It’s Ok, I got the reference.
          What happens when the vagina troll moves out when you’re 21?

          • Amy M

            Dang! You are right! No…he leaves the power there, that where it must come from. We’ve solved it!

        • Zornorph

          I can honestly say I wasn’t familiar with it, but looked it up. That’s a good one!