Alternet’s six weirdest things women do to their vaginas

Image by the talented helenaa75.

For your Saturday afternoon perusal, friends at SFSI just sent me Alternet’s The Six Weirdest Things Women Do To Their Vaginas. It’s a compelling, well researched article. Here’s a snip from the start:

What the hell is vaginal rejuvenation? Who would want their vagina bleached? Here’s a list of the strangest ways to make your genitals meet the demands of the beauty industry.

What’s wrong with your vagina? If you answered “nothing,” you’re probably wrong. According to the beauty-industrial complex, it’s ugly, and it smells bad. But don’t worry– there’s nothing that money can’t fix.

1. Problem: Your Vagina Smells Bad
Solution: Vaginal Deodorant

In the seventies, Massengill tried to marry feminism and its vaginal deodorant spray (“With Hexachlorophene”) in an ad that declared the product to be “The Freedom Spray.” It was “…the better way to be free to enjoy being a woman. Free from worry about external vaginal odor.” Because you’re going to need that time you used to spend worrying about your vaginal odor to flirt your way through the glass ceiling. Oh, and Hexachlorophene? It’s a disinfectant that can be lethal when absorbed through the skin. In 1972, it was added to baby powder in France due to a manufacturing error and killed thirty-six children.

In case you think vaginal deodorant is a relic of the past, just take a trip to the drug store. (I did, and I took notes. The staff of my local Walgreens is convinced that I’m both very thorough and that my vagina smells really bad.) There are several kinds of vaginal deodorants still for sale (Walgreens even manufactures a generic version). You can buy scented vaginal suppositories called Norforms in Island Escape and Summer’s Eve Deodorant Spray in Island Splash. (Norforms contain something called Benzethonium chloride, which is also used as a hard surface disinfectant for fruit and classified as a poison in Switzerland. Exotic!) And you can buy FDS (Feminine, Discreet, Sensual) Spray (“For the woman who cares.”) in a myriad of scents including Sheer Tropics and Fresh Island Breeze.

Because if you really cared, you’d make your vagina smell like a poisonous island. (…read more,

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  1. I read this in the Huff Post a couple of days ago. Fascinating where the quest for beauty sometimes leads. It lead me to the link (in the article on alternet) to an Atlanta surgeon who had 35 (thirty five) before and after photo sets of his clients’ vaginas on his website. It wasn’t always clear to me what the surgery accomplished cosmetically, but it is hard to evaluate this most sexually appealing part separated from the rest of the female body!

  2. Sad, sooooo very sad!!
    How did we get here?? There are few things as beautiful as vulvas, and the great variety of them. Why change them? Why make them all look the same?
    And the saddest thing is, there are many magazines, etc. targeted for women, which make a case for it.

  3. I wonder how long before Australian Censorship (oops, I mean Classification) Board bans vaginal bleaching (not to mention the shaving of pubic hair) in porn. Along with small boobs, that can only be an attempt to cater to the lust of pedophiles.

  4. Hi – again, love your blog – usually feel too shy to comment – but feel compelled to do so today – just because cosmetic surgery on one’s sensitive, beautiful (just my opinion!) labia is too creepy … so, regarding ‘labioplasty’ (and leaving aside possible smart-assed comments on the rest and drug companies’ blatant consumerism!), this article is also well worth reading – – and a couple of quotes:

    ” … many cases, labia reduction removes sexually sensitive tissue, may cause lifelong hypersensitivity or numbness, pain on intercourse, infection, adhesions and scarring.” And “female genital cosmetic surgeries that would fall within the definition of female genital mutilation articulated by the WHO, UNICEF, and UNFPA …”

    … as well as the observation that “Normal female genitals are virtually invisible in the popular media, except through pornographic sources …” – obviously, all the more reason to talk about sex and share our experiences as well as images of course – and not be afraid to do so – which, speaking as someone currently living in Australia (see Violet’s previous article, below?) – where many good people are feeling less welcome in general in this current seemingly more-and-more polarised society – intimidated and for what?

  5. I just read through the article. All I can say is… holy hell! Do women really do that stuff to themselves? I don’t know why, but the mints one disturbed me the most… the thought of putting sugar in the vagina seems a singularly horrible thing to do (although why that should be worse than cutting your labia is beyond me).

    Sorry, I think I have to cower under my desk and gibber in horror for a bit. Carry on.

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