Intimate Shower Gels Targeted at Teen Girls are Harmful
Not only are soaps for your bikini region unhealthy, but they also perpetuate stereotypes that your vagina is “dirty”
Vagisil, a cosmetics company specialized in vaginal care products, has launched a new selection of products geared towards teen girls. They are decorated with pastel-colored confetti, and the range is called OMV — a play on OMG, which presumably translates as Oh My Vag. Products include “no sweat wipettes” that fit in your pocket, and “Bikini Anti-Itch Serum” to relieve irritation after shaving. “So, when you jump in the shower, or want to freshen up after practice, or soothe your skin after shaving, OMV! has you covered,” writes the website.
How “Intimate” Cosmetics Prey on Intimate Insecurities
“Intimate” cleaning products annoy me at the best of times — vaginas are naturally self-cleaning, and those suggesting otherwise are usually preying on women’s insecurities and the age-old stereotypes about the female body being inherently dirty. On top of that, not only do they have negative psychological effects on women, they are also physically harmful. An increasing number of studies show that using soaps or lubricants on your private areas damage sensitive tissues and raise women’s risk of STIs. They unbalance the vagina’s natural ecosystem, upsetting pH levels, and disturbing healthy flora.
Gynecologist Jen Gunter is adamant on Twitter:
She describes OMV as “predatory.” Jen Gunter is the author of The Vagina Bible, and she has long taken issue with pseudo-scientific marketing around vaginal hygiene products, her most famous battle being against Goop’s raving about jade vagina eggs and vagina steaming — ie, sitting above a hot pot of boiling, herb-infused water for 45 minutes. The actress claims on Goop.com that the treatment “cleanses your uterus.” “It is an energetic release — not just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in L.A., you have to do it.”
As Gunter told Washington Post: “Society’s always looking for ways to make people with vaginas feel ashamed,” Gunter said. “I hate that industry with a passion because it capitalizes on vaginal and vulvar shame. But to see it marketed to teens? Not on my watch.” In a separate interview with Radio Noon, she fumed: “The feminine hygiene industry … like sprays, wipes and things, they tell you — women and people with vaginas — that they are dirty inherently and that there are smells and problems. And it’s not the case.”
Puberty: When our Body Image is Formed
Being exposed to myths about the female body’s supposed dirtiness is even more harmful during puberty, when teenagers can form body image issues that last a lifetime.
I remember how insecure I felt during puberty, when I got my first discharge and periods and these were taboo things we were supposed to not talk about. Still today I feel the same sort of dirtiness when pictures of period blood are censored from Facebook, or when guys act like it is the most disgusting thing in the world.
Of course, what is really disgusting is not women’s natural bodies, but the fact that companies are targeting teens, attempting to give them life-long complexes about the odors and liquids their vaginas naturally emit, and to forever rely on expensive pastel products to remedy the fact that they will feel impure.