Debra Messing’s messy pussy cupcake quagmire

When will women stop apologizing for their bodies?
When will women stop apologizing for their bodies?

Debra Messing entered unwittingly into the trans debate on International Women’s Day when she posted a shot of some iced pussy cupcakes on Instagram. The photograph, of cupcakes decked out with icing flourishes and frills, sugar dots in the salient places, reps vulvas in every color of the fleshy rainbow.

From pink pussy hats to vagina monologues to protest signs and yes, cupcakes, vaginal imagery has been a way for feminists to own discourse about and take pride in their biological, bodily reality, which has been so much the source of female victimhood.

In claiming this image, in the innocent form of sweetness and swirls, Messing was not expecting to be called out for being transphobic, and she certainly wasn’t expecting her entire Insta thread to be high-jacked by the debate over whether or not trans women are biological women.

Luckily, Messing has the kind of thoughtful Insta followers who were willing to point this out, and let her know the damage she caused by posting pictures of pussy cupcakes. In no uncertain terms, they let her know that, just like pussies themselves, these cupcakes were not for everyone.

It began with one follower who wrote “heeeeey i know you probably weren’t thinking but this is kinda excluding trans women!” Followed up by “hey debra as a trans fan of yours i just want to remind you it kinda hurts when people equate biology to gender. there are better symbols for womanhood!”

Maybe like boobs I guess? Or as one follower suggests, XX? Or maybe like long hair? Or a come hither stare? Resting bitch face cupcakes? Diminutive, demure pastries? Or maybe some with pasties? What makes a woman if not swirls of sugar, a dash of spice, and everything nice?

In fact, what Messing didn’t realize is just how exclusionary female biology has become. Though it has yielded and birthed literally every person who has ever lived on earth, female anatomy just makes people feel bad. In one way or another, people who don’t have pussies of their own want them, they want them on their person, in one way or another, and these visible reminders that pussies are not available are painful.

Maybe Messing should have posted girl dick cupcakes instead, because penises are way more inclusive than vaginas, and everyone knows that.

After a couple thousand comments, with followers going back and forth, getting increasingly hot and bothered, Messing edited her post to include an apology.

I want to apologize to my trans sisters. This photo was supposed to be light, & sassy. The first this I thought when I saw this photo was ‘wow how wonderful. Each one is unique in color and size. The porn industry has perpetuated this myth of what a ‘beautiful’ vagina looks like and as a result there are women who feel shame or insecure about the shape of the vulva. I loved that this picture said ‘ever singly one is beautiful and unique and that’s powerful.’ I did not, however, thing ‘but there are innumerable beautiful, unique and powerful women who don’t have a vagina. And I SHOULD have. And for that I am so so sorry. Thank you for righting my wrong.

When will women stop apologizing for their bodies? They bleed, they puff, they hurt, they stretch, they milk, they weep. Haven’t we had enough of feeling bad about that? Can’t we just like our pussies now and then? And with sprinkles, too?