Felicia Day is the owner of a URL you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find in her domain registrar or web hosting account. “I’ve had VaginalFantasy.com for years,” the traditional television and new media actor/creator/writer told me over email. Here’s why.
While Day isn’t writing and/or starring in uber-popular original web series of her own design (like the gamer-oriented-but-still-mainstream-accessible The Guild, the live-action iteration of BioWare’s popular video game title Dragon Age, and a handful of programming on her shiny new YouTube channel Geek & Sundry), promoting those uber-popular original web series (either by way of subscriber drives online or with her guns on Fallon), and/or speaking at online video and web series-related events (like the Microsoft NewFront or SXSW) she is sometimes reading a novel comprised of steamy sensual scenes with a cover that looks kinda like this.
“I discovered romance novels when I got my Kindle (I was too embarrassed before to buy them) and for me, they’re my reality TV,” Day said. “They allow me to escape. Honestly, there are some great writers in the genre that are overlooked because it’s a bit taboo to publicly say you read them!”
Day soon decided to turn her private fetish into something a bit more public. “I had always intended to start a book review website but it morphed into video form at the beginning of the year.”
That book-review-website-turned-video-form is called Vaginal Fantasy Hangout and has found a home at VaginalFantasy.com. As its creator explains, it’s more or less “a monthly discussion group where we discuss a romance-heavy genre book, and basically have as much fun as we can!” The “we” in that last quote includes Day and her three Vaginal Fantasy Hangout co-hosts, Veronica Belmont of Tekzilla and the internet, Kiala Kazebee of Nerdist, and Bonnie Burton of Star Wars.
The four ladies meet at 8PM PT on the last Monday of every month by way of their webcams and broadcast their collective book critiques live via Google Hangout’s On Air feature. It’s basically a convo between incredibly genre (gamer, steampunk, sci-fi, etc.) and web savvy females about the quality of the month’s selection and the amount of smut it entails. The women also aren’t afraid to hit the bottle during the live stream, sometimes say things that sound like things that males wouldn’t think are things that women say, and seem to have the kind of fun that is difficult to watch without having fun, too.
It’s not everyday you find out someone like Felicia Day started a book club with a name like Vaginal Fantasy Hangout, so I asked her a few more questions about the program:
Tubefilter: You ladies seem to have a great time on the show. What’s the dynamic?
Felicia Day: Veronica has Sword and Laser, which is a more in-depth sci-fi show, so she has a more skeptical eye. Kiala and I eat up EVERY romance novel, and Bonnie is very frank and has small animal taxidermy. So, it’s a good team.
Tubefilter: How’d you end up using Google Hangouts?
Day: I was offered Google Hangouts On Air capability in January and didn’t know what to do with it, but I’m always attracted to new tech and social media, and I decided to find something that would take no work on my part to put together and broadcast.
Veronica and Bonnie live in SF and Kiala lives in Portland, so to be able to easily gather us together to talk to however many wanted to watch, and then to have the video instantly archived on YouTube was too easy to pass up!
Tubefilter: How NSFW does the romance get in the books?
Day: Uh, sometimes they’re VERY racy (and when they’re not, the forums complain they’re not racy enough haha!), but I try to pick books that will stand alone on their writing quality without those scenes. We have done paranormal contemporary, historical gothic, and this month is steampunk. We try to hit everything! The fun part is that we have a lot of guys on the forum, too, which is awesome because we’re busting stereotypes all around!
Tubefilter: How NSFW do the convos get on Vaginal Fantasy Hangout?
Day: I try to keep it PG-13. I guess everyone’s needle is a bit different, with the title and the conversation we keep it humorous, so people aren’t intimidated. If we’re talking about lady parts, we’ll probably use the terms “lady parts,” but it varies with how much alcohol we drink during the broadcast.
Tubefilter: Tell me more about the Goodreads forum.
Day: The whole point of the project was to make this genre more acceptable to read, more public, and more celebrated. So yes, involving the community and creating a robust Goodreads forum was paramount. The video is just meant to provide a vehicle for members of the forum to share their love of books, discover new ones, and enjoy each others company.
This is completely a hobby for me. I derive so much joy from it, as well as seeing the community grow outside of us on the Goodread forums. It’s the best hobby ever!
Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke is the object of conversation for April on Vaginal Fantasy Hangout. Be sure to tune in this Monday night at 8PM PST to watch the live review from Day, Belmont, Kazebee, and Burton at VaginalFantasy.com.