In Woman’s Day Magazine: How To Get A Raise At Work? Clean Your Vagina

Summers Eve ask for a raise wash your vagina

Yes, you read that title correctly, and no it’s not The Onion spoofing anyone: via the Meeting Boy Tumblr, I found Want a raise? Wash your vagina ( In a post today, Daily Kos’s dhonig points out that one of the nation’s top-read conservative women’s magazines Woman’s Day is running a large ad from Summer’s Eve that combines advertising and editorial, telling women “how to ask for a raise” with the first and top suggestion being that women should thoroughly clean their vaginas the morning they plan to assert their worth in the workplace and ask for higher wages. Yes: we now know the *real* reason women are paid less.

Summer’s Eve is a company that primarily sells vaginal douches.

This is so many all kinds of wrong, it’s difficult to know where to start. The suggestion here is that by the very nature of the main thing that makes a woman a woman — her vagina — is so dirty (smelly, shameful) that it must be cleaned or else she cannot feel confident about her worth. And therefore risks her value, risks her chance at an equal stake in the workplace, and risks success due to the way her dirty vagina will surely make her feel when she asks for what she would otherwise deserve if she were a man.

But let’s look at Summer’s Eve’s core product. The douche. Aside from the “wash your vagina” equaling self-worth message, for me the ongoing problem under all this is douching itself; an inherently unhealthy practice for the vagina. Summer’s Eve makes a product that traffics on shame, and is problematic for vaginal health. When a woman douches, the rinse actually does more harm than good by stripping out all the helpful bacteria that keeps the vaginal ecosystem healthy and robust. Douching weakens the vaginal immune system and creates imbalance that takes a few days for the vagina to recover from and get the chemicals back in order. The vagina is in a constant state of aqueous flux, like a crystal clear tidepool, truly a self-maintaining ecosystem. Think of Summer’s Eve (and its ilk) as a BP-like entity, and you get why this is so acutely disturbing for sex educators like myself who have a vested stake in promoting accurate sexual health information.

I don’t understand how a magazine “for women” such as Woman’s Day could allow this, all the way through approval and edits, and by printing it, are endorsing the message. Shows how far behind the lives of real women these entities have gotten. Worse, some women are going to be affected by this. Shame on the editors of this magazine, and on Summer’s Eve. I hope this becomes a PR disaster that wakes them the hell up.

Here’s Daily Kos, where you can see more of the ad and read the post:

(…) What is the very first thing you should consider if you want a raise? What is the most important thing of all?

Yup, wash that vagina, and wash it good. Remember the sandalwood-scented balls. You don’t want any, ahem, untoward odors to interfere with your chances, do you? What’s that you say? You don’t have an odor problem? You’re clean, you bathe regularly, and you don’t really need advice to use a product that “cleanses away odor-causing bacteria from the external vaginal area?” What are you, a barbarian? This is a raise you’re talking about. (…read more,

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  1. this is insane. because unless you’re in the sex industry or planning to screw your way to the top, i don’t know how it could possibly be relevant. i don’t understand how a marketing group could fail this badly…
    although… i think if they just included the article, with a “brought to you by summer’s eve.” thing on it, it might be all right. i know there are some products now designed for post-coital use or to be less harmful than soaps on the delicate tissue of the vagina, and maybe the wipes they’re advertising are like that. but do they honestly think women are dumb enough to need to be told not to go into work reeking of sex? seriously? are they even still making harmful douches? who is dumb enough to buy them? i really hope everyone else, like me, got the talk about how you should never use douches along with the talk about getting their period in school. god bless my school nurse, if not.

  2. Well I know I’m a bit late on this, but really I had to add: Don’t you think Summer’s Eve is probably paying them a great deal to put that amount of advertising in that magazine?
    Seriously, the whole thing reads like an ad.

  3. Hi, new reader. :P

    This ad is horrific. I’m all for good hygiene, but the implication that your vagina plays any role in your job (unless you’re a sexworker) is just so wrong!

    Although, I don’t see anything on the website about douches, just feminine washes. I use one, not to smell like flowers or anything, but because I’m prone to bladder infections and I’ve found that using the wash (just on the outside mind you) helps with that.

  4. It’s been years since my middle school friends and I made fun of those “not-so-fresh feeling” ads, and I’d sort of blissfully assumed that douching had rightfully gone by the wayside. I’m beyond appalled to find that a “womens” magazine is running an ad like this. And that doesn’t even get to the problems I have with the ad itself.

    But I guess that’s the point — like most magazines marketed to women, Woman’s Day is not about women, or our health, or our best interests.

  5. Someone made a point about a similar ad – ‘Mom, sometimes I just don’t feel really fresh.‘ Honey, if you have a vaginal unfreshness problem that a shower doesn’t cure, you need to see a doctor, not douche yourself.

    Sigh. Poor vaginas.

  6. Mother of all chutzpah. Is there any more misplaced confidence in the corporate mindset that they were able to get something like this all the way to print without anyone putting up a flag, or raising their hand(s) and saying with true concern for the bottom line “are we sure about this?” or “perhaps this needs a rethink?”

    I immediately ran to the bedroom and informed my lover of many years why she was still having trouble getting ahead in IT. She looked up for a moment, snapped her fingers, and laughingly said “Damn, I knew there was some reason.” She also queried me as to whether it made a difference if your boss was male a female. A quick recheck of this malodorous advice failed to turn up a difference. Apparently it doesn’t matter what your bosses gender is. Apparently a ‘real’ woman would have known this information already, since she’s the one in control of your potential raise.

    Please tell me Oatmeal will be doing a parody of this?

  7. @Anthony – typo fixed. Thank you! I was seeing red when I wrote the post.

    @Cyn – I gotcha, though I had to a) say something about the health effects of the company’s main product out of duty and b) I felt like following through the ad’s intent to ultimately sell all the company’s products with this campaign. It’s insane that they also suggest to wipe throughout the day. Someone also just told me on Twitter that I missed the ad’s “sleep with your boss” subtext, too.

    @Alison – Can you imagine? “I really want to ask for money but I don’t think my vagina is clean enough.”

  8. Oh, my god. I really thought it was a joke. Exactly what sort of job is she going for? I’ve gotten dolled up for interviews before, but nobody’s ever smelled my snatch prior to a hiring.


    P.S. I’m sorry, but the ‘Great job on the XXX project” made me laugh out loud.

  9. For what it’s worth, “Feminine Wash” is a foaming shower gel with your choice of overdone girly fragrance. It’s not a douche, it’s closer to a bubble bath that’s gentle enough to not irritate the sensitive parts.

    Before you think I’m excusing Woman’s Day or Summer’s Eve, though, I’m not. Just making a point of clarification. The “feminine cleansing cloths” are scented vaginal wipes, they are definitely making that “clean and freshen your vagina today!” statement, and your point still holds. A “freshness pick-me-up during the day”? How exactly are you applying for that raise, that you might have to stop and clean yourself off before lunch?

  10. For the record, Violet, it is Daily Kos, not Koz, named after the founder Markos Molitsas.

    And yeah…that ad is a million times WRONG….would any male mag put forth an ad from Old Spice saying that a man’s chances of getting a raise would really increase if he eliminated the BO and bathed??? As if he doesn’t do so already?? There would be an actual riot at that advertiser’s HQ were that to happen.

    Maybe they can go all the way and advertise for women using Lysol like they did in the 50’s?? Yeeesh!!!


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