“Pain, stress, discomfort of any kind, have become problems to be solved. What is and what is not acceptable is to a large extent socially determined. Doctors as public educators are among the important determiners of social opinion about what is acceptable and what is not. The ready prescription of pills to solve personal problems gives a medical blessing to the popular perception of stress as bad. The long-term social effects of this are likely to be serious.” P.27
Recently I was disgruntled and annoyed to see vaginal odour altering sprays advertised on the television. I’ve always known such a product is on the market; it has been for fifty years or more. But the question is, do we really need them, and are women being targeted over the insecurity that their flower smells less than fruity?
I argue that no, women do not need such sprays and may actually be damaging to the ph balance of the vagina! A simple daily rinse with water in the shower is all that is needed to keep ones genitals clean… thats why women have discharge, to keep everything tip-top on the inside. To ‘seal in’ odour or give the vagina a ‘scented freshness’ is frankly damaging and may cause unnecessary irritation.
The other point I’d like to make about such products is that I believe them to be targeting women’s insecurities. What is the most sensitive and taboo subject for women? Vagina smell you say? Let’s cash in! How obtuse of the product creators to make us feel we have to buy their product so our genitals are more appealing. What’s more, a similar search on the same search engine for mens penis sprays had less than half the results, few of which targeted smell, but rather, ‘lasting longer in bed’ (another play on insecurities, but still not as damaging as being told you need to ‘block odour’ everyday).
I will just extract a quote from Germaine Greer: “Vaginal secretions are the subject of a vast folklore; the huge advertising campaigns for deodorants and sweeteners of the vulvar area deliberately play upon female misgivings about the acceptability of natural tastes and odours. One vaginal deodorant is even flavoured with peppermint to provide an illusion of freshness and inhumanity. Others are metholated. The vaginal is described as a problem preventing some of the niceness of being close. The excessive use of douches with chemical additives is actually harmful to the natural balance of organisms existing in the vagina, and yet no doctor has dared to denounce it openly.”-The Female Eunuch Page 290, (published 1970).
The popularity and money being made by the products concerns me. They is not only unnecessary and damaging to women’s bodies, but damaging to the psyche too; as if women do not have enough trouble in shaving, plucking, waxing, and buying pretty lacy panties, we are now expected to deodorize and flavour our flaps too. Men don’t have to put up with this, and I’m having none of it!
We all know that prejudice against others for their social status has been drilled into us since the dawn of time; even cavemen surly snubbed others for not living up to their contrived standards of living and behaving. But I, working and studying in the midst of youth around people who think they are supreme to others simply because of those they ‘hang’ with, am getting pretty tired of the notion of ‘cool’. The idea that you’re better than someone because you wear different clothes, take up different hobbies, study different subjects with contrasting levels of commitment, drive a different car (or drive at all) or listen to different music seems absurd.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m sick of people who mock the ‘uncool’. Let me tell you a little secret: the easiest way for a person to gain respect from peers is by simply not giving a f**k what other people think, for, as Dr Seuss once put it; “Say what you feel and be who you are, as the ones the mind don’t matter, and the ones who matter don’t mind” Perfect. If you wander around, completely content in your own skin, in your favourite clothes, listening to music you genuinely enjoy or playing a sport that you sincerely appreciate, then people can’t knock you for having the courage to do so.
I have personally tried to live by the idea that I will be pleasant and respectful to all, regardless of their social standings and whether or not they’re ‘cool’, and if they’re rude in return, they’re simply not worth bothering with. I may not have always fulfilled this, but at least I try; what else can we do? I will conclude my thoughts with a quote from Eminem: “I don’t care if you’re black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Simple as that.” Yeah brother, and in my opinion, I don’t care if you’re cool either.
Written: March 2013