Life & Love

Once it was in, it felt like close to nothing. I got up and walked around, figuring I’d have to use my pelvic floor muscles to keep the egg from falling out, but I couldn’t even feel its weight. I jumped up and down, which made me slightly aware that it was there, but even doing kegels didn’t feel at all different from when I did them any other time. There’s only one explanation for this: my vagina is swole as hell.

After 10 minutes I pulled it out, washed it, and put it in a place with “good vibes” as instructed (AKA next to my other crystals). I didn’t feel filled with any more feminine energy than usual, but I was also extremely aware of my vagina. I’d feel a pang and worry that it was TSS instead of any of the regular weird pangs that bodies feel sometimes. Was I feeling that because my period just finished? Were my muscles sore like after a workout? Or was I dying?

There’s only one explanation for this: my vagina is swole as hell.

The thing about the jade egg is, I get it. Let’s talk about witches. In the Malleus Maleficarum, the 15th century German text that endorsed the extermination of witches, “witches” are overwhelmingly women. And the things that prove they are witches sound a lot like practicing medicine. These witches were midwives, they performed abortions, and they generally were knowledgeable about which herbs healed which ailments―knowledge that eventually transformed into modern medicine.

However, once rich men, backed by the church, got their hands on that knowledge, women couldn’t have it anymore. “Male, upper-class healing under the auspices of the medieval church was acceptable, female healing as part of a peasant subculture was not,” wrote Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English in Witches, Midwives & Nurses. Women were not allowed to have this knowledge of their own bodies. In fact, that knowledge became evil, a direct affront to God.

Modern medicine has been shown time and again to ignore women. Common medicines are often tested on men, so the effects on women aren’t known. Doctors take women’s pain less seriously because of sexist stereotypes that women are just being emotional. Women’s heart attack symptoms are different, and yet we’re taught that unless your left arm goes numb, it’s not your heart. And as Amy Larocca wrote in The Cut about “wellness” culture, the American health care system is designed so that “even those who do have access to pretty good (and sometimes quite excellent, if quite expensive) traditional health care are left feeling, nonetheless, incredibly unwell.”

Faced with doctors who don’t take you seriously and medicines that haven’t been tested on bodies like yours, why wouldn’t you want to reclaim some knowledge of yourself, for yourself? If you’ve been lied to about everything else, maybe you were lied to about the healing properties of a rock shaped like an egg.

If you’ve been lied to about everything else, maybe you were lied to about the healing properties of a rock shaped like an egg.

This is exactly what Goop alluded to in a recent email about Dr. Gunter’s critique of the jade egg. “The thing about science and medicine is that it evolves all the time. Studies and beliefs that we held sacred even in the last decade have since been proven to be unequivocally false, and sometimes even harmful,” they wrote. “Meanwhile, other advances in science and medicine continue to change and save lives. It is not a perfect system; it is a human system.” They suggest Dr. Gunter was being judgmental, and vain to think she knew all there was to know about medicine.

The problem is it tends to be wealthy, white women “reclaiming” this knowledge in the form of appropriating traditions of marginalized cultures, or wholly inventing traditions that they attribute to other cultures in order to make them sound more “exotic.” White women are allowed to sage their jade eggs, while First Nations teenagers are threatened with suspension from school for participating in their ancestral ritual. The privileged can playfully emulate Chinese “concubines” while sex workers, especially WOC sex workers, are marginalized. And rich people can afford to blow $66 on a jade egg just to see if it works.

I wore the egg a few more times. I put it in as I had my morning coffee, and as I ate leftover pad thai while watching Shahs of Sunset after work, never for more than 15 minutes at a time. It seems in those doses you wouldn’t be at risk for anything, as long as you keep cleaning the egg properly. Physically, it didn’t do anything for me. Sex felt the same. I didn’t feel any more or less connected to my pelvic floor. It made me wonder what else I could carry around up there without noticing.

Spiritually, the jade egg is a $66 placebo effect. It makes you aware of your vagina, your femininity, or whatever else you want to be aware of precisely because you want to be aware of it. A crystal cannot hold otherworldly energy. But it can be a physical reminder of whatever you promised yourself when you held it in your hands the first time. The jade egg made me aware of my vagina and how I treat it, the same way my rose quartz reminds me to not push people away when they say they love me, and my orange calcite reminds me to quit distracting myself and get to work. And they do that because I said they would.

There’s no harm in the jade egg itself (as long as you wash it and don’t sleep with it in). But there’s harm in a lifestyle that promises salvation through purchase power and false medical claims. If you want to feel in touch with your body, you can feel in touch with your body. You don’t need an egg for that.

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