Guest post: Peach perfect vagina? I'll pass, thanks
Making vaginas smell of fruit may not have been Sweet Peaches' original intention, but the fact that we were so easily taken in says a lot about wider attitudes to women's bodies, writes MN blogger Jessie Thompson
Posted on: Fri 28-Nov-14 18:07:42
(46 comments )
What a lot of un-learning women have had to do. Against the odds of social conditioning, we are, thank God, now clear that becoming a ballerina or a princess are not our only career options, that the 'perfect' women in magazines are actually just a clever re-adjustment of pixels, and that if anyone rapes us, it’s not our fault, nor is it the fault of our blouse or red wine.
We’ve been doing alright at resisting what we’re told about how we should look and behave in recent years. But, before we get ahead of ourselves and start thinking that things might be improving, let me introduce you to biotech startup dudes Austen Heinz and Gilad Gome, who last week announced that they were creating a probiotic supplement that will make our vaginas smell like peaches. As well as being a nugget of jaw-on-the-floor misogyny, it showed a startling lack of gratitude by two men who appear to have forgotten that they did, in fact, come out of a vagina once.
They said they were offering 'personal empowerment' to women, which was nice. Being biotech chaps, they continued: “All your smells are not human. They’re produced by the creatures that live on you. We think it’s a fundamental human right to not only know your code and the code of the things that live on you but also to rewrite that code and personalize it.”
If this sounds like plain old sexism dressed up in techno jargon gobbledygook, then that’s probably because it is. CEO of the company Audrey Hutchinson, who says she's an 'ultra-feminist', has now understandably backtracked a bit, stating that they never intended to focus on the odour of your bits: the peach smell is apparently just a sign that the supplement is doing its job of protecting you from thrush and UTIs. Imagine that in a clinch: "Ooh, I like your perfume, very peachy." "Oh, no, it’s just that I’ve got thrush and my probiotic supplement is successfully fighting the infection."
A probiotic peach-smelling vagina might sound harmless enough – albeit fairly ridiculous – but this isn't just about making your genitals smell like a fruit bowl
Regardless of the true purpose of the supplement, the fact is that when the company originally claimed that their main intention was to alter the smell of our ladybits under the guise of biotechnology, no one doubted their veracity. The fact that Heinz and Gome garnered such attention goes to show that even the most private parts of a woman's body are still held to be public property.
A probiotic peach-smelling vagina might sound harmless enough – albeit fairly ridiculous – but this isn’t just about making your genitals smell like a fruit bowl. It’s another disturbing iteration of the idea that men should have a say in what women do with their bodies. The idea that a woman’s vagina needs to smell like a piece of fruit tells her that she will not be sufficiently desirable until she is dehumanised, cleansed of her perfectly natural biological functions. It suggests that female sexuality is something to ashamed of, and even unhygienic.
Newsflash, tech bros: we’ve lived without this invention for thousands of years, and, touch wood, the human race hasn’t died out as yet. Men have thus far been able to get to the crucial point of conception - despite having to contend with the rotten smell of our fetid vaginas, and I don’t think that’s because they’ve all been wearing pegs on their noses.
Jeez, even satirist Jonathan Swift knew that the idea that women are fragrant, heavenly angels was a disaster for all concerned. In his poem The Lady’s Dressing Room, he mocked his character Strephon for being horrified by his discovery that women do, in fact, go for a poo every now and again. And that was in 1732.
It’s a tiring job, remaining constantly alert to the pervasive, constant undertow of judgments about how women should look, behave, sound and smell – but they keep coming. Subtle as they may seem, if they work their way into a woman’s consciousness, they do the job that was intended for them: they revise her idea of what is normal, and tell her something is wrong with her when it’s not. They deplete her energy by distracting her into fretting about whether everyone around her thinks she’s disgusting. We’re getting wise to these games, but that doesn’t make them any less tiresome.
We never asked for these men’s opinions on the pH levels of our naughty bits. Just like we weren’t interested when they insisted that cat-calling is a compliment, or that Page 3 is harmless, or that rape jokes are banter.
Men don’t get to tell us how we should feel about our own bodies. Please leave our vaginas alone – period. On which note, if you’ve got a problem with periods too, get back to me when I’m peri-menopausal. Hopefully in the intervening years I’ll have written a probiotic code which means that, whenever any man says anything misogynist, all that comes out of his mouth is Beyoncé lyrics.
By Jessie Thompson
Well said. So very true and your well worded response to what these gnomes have proposed is brilliant and made me laugh
Maybe they should invent a supplement that means men's penises smell of chocolate? I'm sure that would be very popular.
Well said. If women launched even one 'femfresh' type product aimed at men with a pervasive message that all mens penises smell of wee or cheese, there would be uproar. No chief exec of Proctor and Gamble et al would touch that advertising. So very misguided.
WTF does a peach smell like anyway
Scented tampons exist! There are no words.
fire you jest, surely?!
Scented with what? Chanel No. 5? Mint? Peanut butter? My mind is truly boggled.
It all started with the fragranced, thrush inducing sanpro - now they finally have the cure!
And they say we aren't evolving...
I found it amazing that the two men sold it to the press as something to make women smell better (clearly forgetting their target audience) and then when they realised the uproar SUDDENLY remembered it was actually the brain child of a female... It sounds as though they genuinely tried to screw her over. I read that she said it ('Peachy' or whatever) was just a name and the initial idea was to help with pH imbalance for those with reacurrent thrush. No one will ever believe that now, thanks to the marketing skills of the two men eager to it sell to, erm, men.
Actually dickfresh wipes aren't a bad idea. Or you know, mild soap and water.
Fast she's not joking about scented tampons.
Oh yes, as if scented sanitary towels weren't enough to help us smelly wimmin, in some Countries Tampax pearl (and other brands) are fucking scented too.
Fuck you! Peach smelling vaginas and Fuck You! to those who had the idea to make this pill.
I read that those two men had nothing whatsoever to do with the company - so perhaps their intention was to scupper it before it even got going by making such stupid remarks about what the product was for before the actual owner/founder could begin marketing with the products actual purpose.
And YY to scented pantliners why???? They smell foul and many people are wildly allergic and it's getting really hard to find decent cheap ones that don't smell of cheap perfume. Why do I want my knickers to smell of cheap perfume?
And this but in the article "a reference to the use of peaches as a symbol for the vagina " eh? People compare bottoms (usually of babies) to vaginas, not peaches. How strange.
Sounds like these 2 men utterly shafted the woman whose company and invention is actually is.
Fucking hell, awful.
I agree with OP, but wonder why nearly everyone thinks it is OK
to disguise the natural smell of their armpits. essential
I can't actually imagine having a peachy smelling foof. Why would I want that? I also use washable pads, so thrush isn't a problem for me anymore. <smug>
Armpits don't smell unless they're dirty. I don't use deodorant, my skin goes bananas if I do, but I use a body powder to soak up moisture. I also wash them
A lot of outrage over a story which isn't true.
In reply to the following: "A probiotic peach-smelling vagina might sound harmless enough – albeit fairly ridiculous – but this isn’t just about making your genitals smell like a fruit bowl. It’s another disturbing iteration of the idea that men should have a say in what women do with their bodies. The idea that a woman’s vagina needs to smell like a piece of fruit tells her that she will not be sufficiently desirable until she is dehumanised, cleansed of her perfectly natural biological functions. It suggests that female sexuality is something to ashamed of, and even unhygienic."
No-one is saying that a woman's vagina needs to smell like fruit in order to be desirable. Men seem to be more than happy with the natural smell of vaginas.
Does toothpaste, showergel and perfume dehumanise women as well? But let's not forget the most important fact of this story. It's not true.
"It's not true. " Hmmm. Let me see. Who should I believe on this one? Some random on the Internet with a track record of coming on threads with a feminist content and being a goady fucker or a national newspaper whose journalists have a track record of fact checking (and of issuing corrections when they do make mistakes).
This isn't a new idea. In my youth sprays were available to keep female genitals 'fresh'. I always though they were a bad idea and a health risk - bathing is sufficient. I don't recall similar products for men.
It's not true.
National newspapers and their journalists don't always have all the facts, all of the time.
And often don't issue corrections if their hot story turns out to be hot for a different reason
but might make them look like dicks for not fact-checking first in the race to publish
But no need to let facts get in the way of a good story.
You have totally missed the point.
The woman who invented it did not want to create vaginas smelling of peaches.
Post when you've got the full facts OP!
The point of the product which actually was created by a woman was not created with the intent of making vaginas smell like peaches .
It's no wonder some feminists get bad press .
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