Jessica Biel and Chelsea Handler are getting up close and personal with their bodies for a good cause. In “Look See,” a hilarious new short, Biel and Handler finally answer the question “What is a vulva?” and encourage women everywhere to become more familiar with their bodies. The NSFW video aims to de-stigmatize the vagina, and, most importantly, encourage women to take a look down there every now and then.
“Look See” opens with Handler walking in on Biel using a hand mirror to look at her vagina (tampon instructions style), and things only get more open and wild from there. “Is it weird?” Biel asks Handler. “No! You have to check in with your vagina. How else are you going to know what’s going on down there?” Handler responds. And then, the debate begins: was Biel looking at her vagina, or was she looking at her vulva? “The vagina is in, so, technically, we’re just looking at our vulva,” Biel says.
For the record: Biel is correct, the vulva is the word for exterior female genitals, but Handler also has a point when she says, “Let’s just say vagina, because vulva’s gonna confuse people.” But, while language is important, the main message of the video isn’t so much that one has to know the scientific terms, it’s that a woman should feel no shame in getting to know their bodies. Because after all, women should be familiar enough with their own vaginas to know if theirs looks like “a smug, young Burt Reynolds — with the mustache,” like Biel’s.
Biel partnered up with WomanCare Global (WCG) to produce the video as part of a new initiative called The Tryst Network, and this isn’t the first time the actor has stepped into the spotlight to promote sexual health. In 2015, Biel helped WCG launch “If You Don’t Tell Them, Then Who Will?” The project produced a series of funny and informative videos about sexual health and protection. Some featured Biel giving quick, catchy words of advice, like the 10-second “Rhythm Method” video that just said, “Kids, another word for the Rhythm Method is called being a mother.” Other short, minute-long videos saw Biel hanging out with fellow actors Whitney Cummings and Joy Bryant talking about everything from misinformation and sex education to condom size.
Sex ed, specifically that targeted towards Americans, isn’t your typical celebrity cause. But after deciding to have kids with her husband, Justin Timberlake, Biel realized something that inspired her to get involved: there was so much she didn’t know. “Suddenly I realized I really didn’t know what’s going on inside my own body,” she told Glamour in 2015. “It was shocking.” So, when she met Saundra Pelletier, WCG founding CEO, she decided to get to work educating other women on puberty, sex, and just plain self-love. “We want girls to know what their [body is going through] so they don’t feel scared or ashamed or gross,” Biel told Glamour.
Shame is a huge part of the Tryst Network’s new series of videos. In “Look See,” Biel and Handler are trying to dismantle the shame women feel at their own vaginas, and even at the word itself. Handler and Biel repeat the word “vagina” so much in the span of two minutes, it rivals the famous Grey’s Anatomy “vagina” song. This isn’t anything new for fans of Handler, who has been known to reference her “Pikachu” regularly for years, but for Biel, who was first introduced to the American public as a member of the religious Camden family on 7th Heaven, it’s still somewhat shocking.
“[Body talk is] very shameful, and that’s the problem — why is it so shameful?” Biel said speaking at the Women Deliver conference in 2016, via Refinery 29. “I feel completely embarrassed talking about this stuff, even with my gynecologist, and why is that? It makes no sense. I am here because I want to pull the stigmas off female reproductive everything.”
A video about women looking at their own vaginas seems like a pretty good place to start.