I write about (and talk about) vaginas a lot. So, if you know me in real life, you will hear me openly discuss the cave of wonders and how wonderful it is, which is freeing because I grew up feeling a little ashamed about the lips between my legs for all the same reasons many people with a vagina do at one point or another in their lives.
We are constantly being told we need to change the way it smells, operates, and looks.
One afternoon in 1987, I was sitting on my purple shag carpet, listening to Madonna, and frantically sending away for my first free sample of baby-powder scented Feminine Deodorant Spray from my Young Miss magazine. It was in that advertisement I learned my vagina was not supposed to smell like a vagina. It was supposed to smell like powder; it was my job to keep it fresh and airy, and anything that resembled a normal smelling vagina was unacceptable — you were supposed to spray that shit away.
It will give you confidence! You would feel like a woman!
And I did use that spray almost every day of my life until my early 20s, which is around the time I got tired of spritzing between my legs.
It doesn’t stop with a perfume for your vagina either. We constantly see products that push this whole potpourri-smelling crotch business down our throat (or should we say up our vaginas?).
You can buy pads and tampons that smell like anything from citrus fruits to freshly plucked peach blossoms that have been dipped in honey. Douches and other products to “absorb vaginal odor and discharge” line the shelves. And on top of all that, we must not forget to keep our coin purses tight and youthful. After all, they get so much wear and tear with sex and having children, we must keep them in shape lest the penises of the world be unhappy.
Well, you know what? FUCK THAT SHIT.
Thankfully, those thoughts and feelings have left me as I’ve aged — I’m so pleased to hear from experts that our vagina is, in fact, supposed to smell like a vagina. According to the Office On Women’s Health, doctors actually discourage douching, saying it can “lead to many health problems” and can cause vaginal infections.
So, let’s just all save ourselves some time and stress, and put down the douches and pads that smell like our grandmothers’ linen closets, and focus on the more important aspects of life. Like how we are going to get out of volunteering for the PTA and the best way to bribe our kids into doing their chores.
Unfortunately, we aren’t all ready to hop in the “free your vag” wagon just yet because products like this continue to be made and lead people to believe there is something wrong with their vagina, which is sad and makes me want to throw boxes of lavender-scented tampons through a window.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sent the link to The Jamu Stick by a few close friends because they share my sentiments about leaving the vagina to do its thing. We are over trying to get our lady bits to smell like a dozen roses and don’t care if it ever returns to the tightness-level it was at when we were 18. We have laundry to fold and Kohl’s cash to spend.
If you haven’t heard of the Jamu Stick, I’ll give you the rundown: It’s literally an herbal stick that claims to tighten, clean, “and regulate surface layers of the vaginal epithelial skin” in seconds.
First, our vaginal wall doesn’t need to be sanded or exfoliated at all. This has never been an issue so let’s not make it one because we see a stick that claims to do so, and we think we’ve missed something all these years because it never occurred to exfoliate our insides. If our feet don’t need to be cheese-grated, our walls of wonder definitely need to be left alone.
Second, a stick that claims to fight “unpleasant odors which in most cases are associated with infections” as the Jamu stick does, shouldn’t even be in existence.
Your odor is fine, but if you do notice a change, or foul smelling odor coming from your love canal, put down the herbal sword and call your doctor, please.
This dip stick claims to be able to solve all of our vaginal problems, yet it is not approved by the FDA and doesn’t need to be stuck anywhere except for the garbage can.
The creator of Jamu Stick, Ni Gusti Ayu Putu Eka Widiastuti, claims the stick’s “secret recipe” has been passed down from generation to generation where women have used these sticks “to maintain intimate purity and love for their husbands.”
PSA: It’s 2020 and we don’t need to maintain anything but a healthy, vagina-smelling vagina that comes from not sticking random shit up there. It doesn’t matter what it’s made out of or what it claims to do, our special places don’t need to be cleansed, filed, toned, or tightened. Your discharge doesn’t need to be shamed and the fact we bleed every month doesn’t need to be hidden anymore than we need to feel like we should fit into a certain pant size.
Besides, I’m all for using a stick to maintain some intimacy but it will be one that vibrates, has a few different speeds, and has one job — to give me an orgasm. It definitely will not be something that claims to turn my love button into a tight, exfoliated scented candle because she’s just fine in all her natural glory.