This is a feminist blog so one can expect a post about vaginas now and again. In this regard, we’ve been sorely lacking, and I’d like to offer something up for discussion that has been bothering me for a while. Vaginas don’t smell like fish. Frankly I’m sick of hearing about the latest deodorants so I can smell like there’s a floral arrangement in my pants. Vaginas do have odor, all parts of our bodies do, but they certainly shouldn’t smell like fish and if they do, it could be symptomatic of bacterial vaginosis (don’t diagnose yourself, get thee to a gynecologist to figure out the proper treatment–I’ve seen too many women trying various remedies to cure something they didn’t have/couldn’t treat on their own).
Pardon my tangent here, but that also irks me–no one knows about bacterial vaginosis and to survey any random drug store “feminine product” aisle, one would think it doesn’t exist. Any vaginal malady is called a yeast infection and they’ve got a bunch of products for you to use to cure it but never any instruction to just go to the doctor. Are we supposed to be ashamed to ask a qualified professional if everything is as it should be? It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that these over the counter treatments cost a pretty penny and if you never go to the doctor, you can go through quite a few in a vain attempt to end the itchiness.
Anyway back on track here, first off these deodorant products normalize abnormal odor and stigmatize natural odors. They’ve managed to convince everyone that vaginas are supposed to smell like a fishery, and even if they don’t, naturally occurring odors are undesirable and unwomanly. It also completely neglects the fact that many women may be irritated by strong perfumes which may trigger unnaturally pungent odors. Much as we’ve discovered with douching, these perfumes may cause the very problem they claim to treat.
What’s so feminine about “feminine odor”? Seems to me that sweaty crotch could affect either gender, yet I don’t hear any commercials for men’s products for “not so fresh feelings”.
* I just went browsing around drugstore.com for a list of products and came across a vaginal suppository to eliminate odor–it called itself in deodorant but actually introduces lactic acid into the vagina presumably to lower or balance the ph creating a more neutral odor. The first comment begins, “I smell like a virgin all over again.”
Ah, delicate, sweet smelling virgins. Is that what it’s all about?