It’s unclear where bachelorette parties go from here. Both Swann and Denberg are anticipating a backlash of sorts, where women start turning away from the unadulterated cheese and excess and cake-masturbators in favor of slightly more restrained celebrations. Swann says she’s getting more questions from women about how to tactfully decline bachelorette parties that are out of their comfort zone, while Denberg reveals Chippendales is retooling their products to reach a different sort of bride-to-be. “Penis straws and penis tiaras are fun, but not all brides necessarily want to be walking around with a penis on their head," says Denberg. "So we’re trying to curate a more... let’s call it 'modern' product line. I just think there’s an opportunity to maybe stray outside the traditional pink and penis."
But of course, this is just speculation. After a long-fought battle for the right to bear penis straws, women aren’t likely to abandon bachelorette parties that easily. (Even the relatively tame party I attended in Jersey City had a penis cake.) And all dick jokes aside, there’s a lot to be said for gender equality and women’s sexual expression in these admittedly absurd wedding rituals.
"Sometimes I get flack about the research that I’ve done because some people look at it as trivial stuff," Montemurro says. "But I think that the bachelorette party is really this great window to looking at social change and looking at gender roles and seeing that women were standing up for doing something that they wanted to do, and actually calling attention to the fact that they had sexual desires. Even if it’s play, in the form of the bachelorette party, it’s still this public recognition of women’s sexuality in a way that there wasn’t before."
Susan B. Anthony would be proud.
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Kristin Hunt is a freelance writer for Thrillist. The only other bachelorette party she’s attended ended with two girls asleep on the front lawn and one lost at a bus stop. Follow her to single-lady shenanigans at @kristin_hunt.