If there’s any woman in America — besides Hillary Clinton — who stands to benefit from Donald Trump’s utterance of the word “p---y,” it is Regena Thomashauer. Her new book, serendipitously titled “P---y: A Reclamation,” has just become a New York Times bestseller.
Trump has “put p---y on the front page of every leading newspaper in this country,” says Thomashauer, a self-actualization guru who has been helping women find the power in their panties since she opened Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts in Manhattan nearly two decades ago.
Like many other people, Thomashauer is disgusted by Trump’s lewd videotape in which he brags about groping women. Nevertheless, she says Trump has “accelerated my cause”: “to elevate p---y to be the highest compliment.”
Trump “crossed a line” when he crudely “reduced women to a single body part,” in a derogatory, aggressive way, she says. But she is hopeful that “p---y will rise and push back.”
Her latest book, her fourth, emphasizes the importance to women of taking back the p-word, of turning it into a source of strength rather than a term of belittlement. For too long the word has been ripe with negative connotations, she says. “No one wants to be a p---y, never mind have one,” she says.
“If we hesitate too long, feel fearful or appear to be slow, we get the p-word hurled in our direction,” she writes in her book. And “when a certain kind of unaware, bigoted man says the word p----y — as in, ‘I gotta get me some p---y’ — we know we’re in trouble.”
It’s time we recognize that p---y is “the source of life itself,” she says. “None of us would exist without it.”
Thomashauer, who is known to her disciples as Mama Gena, is kind of an X-rated Oprah Winfrey, selling empowerment in her Womanly Arts Mastery Program, a months-long course where participants can“crack open a whole new paradigm for the feminine.” For roughly $5,000, women gather for three weekend-long sessions in New York City to learn about their bodies, their inner strength and the value of female bonds. Between gatherings they have access to an array of online tools to reinforce the message. Among Thomashauer’s first lessons is teaching her students to love their p---ies and to call it by that name.
“When a woman actually says the word p---y, she smiles. Or laughs,” Thomashauer writes in her book. “For some reason, speaking the word itself is a ticket to a secret conspiracy of some kind of delightful inner knowing. . . . We women intuitively get that when we relate to the word that has for so long been banished to the obscene and pornographic. When we are speaking the word, the weighty reverb swings toward us, rather than against us. The baggage turns into proud history.”
When a woman comes to her class wearing a great outfit, for example, she might get a verbal high-five of, “Girl, you look so p---y tonight,” Thomshauer says. “When a woman owns her p---y, she owns her life.”
Her book’s title was a push toward that freedom. “I had to make a bold move and slap ‘p---y’ on the cover to assist at the wakening that is necessary for every woman.”
Thomashauer acknowledges the risk of using the word so publicly. “I have a teenage daughter,” she says. But using the word “is a wake-up call. Like any expletive, used effectively, it can ensure that the attention is paid to something that has been overlooked.”
A spokesman for Thomashauer says that her publisher initially found it difficult to get sellers to stock or display “P---y.” “It was considered too controversial,” he said. And yet the book sold out its first print run of roughly 10,000 copies. Women, Thomashauer says, are going into bookstores and asking for it. (Or, as Thomashauer puts it: “They are being so p---y about it.”) Thomashauer is also seizing the marketing opportunity, offering, for example, a free “8-Week Pleasure Bootcamp” online course — valued at $1,000 — to anyone who buys a copy of “P---y” at an independent bookstore.
A shopper at a Barnes & Noble in Brooklyn this weekend reports that “P---y” was stacked beside a tower of “The Making of Donald Trump,” by David Cay Johnston. The Trump pile was nearly untouched.
Nora Krug is a writer and editor at Book World.