Smells Like Fish

Is anyone else horrified by Vagisil commercials? The most recent one has a woman in it who is all dressed up but sees her own reflection as looking crummy, in a hoodie. And why does she feel that way? Because she worries that other people will smell her bad smell.

Ugh. I mean, come on already.

Buying a tube of whatever because your vagina is itchy and/or smelly is demented. First off, if things are itchy and/or smelly temporarily, that’s just how it goes – you don’t need Vagisil; you need a bath and maybe to wear cotton panties for a week. On the other hand, if your vagina consistently and chronically itches or smells bad, you need to see a doctor, not buy a tube of Vagisil. Yeast infections can be fatal, and you can give anything else that would cause itching (like crabs) to sex partners, and you know, that’s just not nice.

But the whole “women are icky and smell bad” = specifically because their vaginas smell bad = is misogynist bullshit. Women’s reproductive systems actually work to maintain a PH balance on their own, and while having a lot of unprotected sex with multiple partners throws off that PH balance, that’s not really an advisable thing to do anyway, considering all the possible STDs, including HIV, and of course potential pregnancy.

Read Natalie Angier’s Woman: An Intimate Geography. It’s a great, scientific, readable book about women’s bodies and how they work, a must-read.

7 Replies to “Smells Like Fish”

  1. Since the key with HIV and lucky lactos seems to be the H2O2 creation, maybe just use peroxide instead of vagisil? Just kidding.

    I too find it disgraceful that for so long people equate vagina with stinky. It is as you said, nothing but misogynistic bullshit (which there is already plenty of in the world).

  2. as if a dick dripping with cum does not smell.
    when he takes that baby out of his tidy whities, where its been warm and moist all day and presents it like a prize dessert for you to put in your mouth, sure your vagina smells worse than that… NOT…..
    Then he gives you three licks ” down there ” pulls away saying “I cant breath through my ears”.
    Marketing industry folks need to come up with a product to make nasty musty old mens underpants smell better……
    I know a whole lot of women who would buy that
    LOL, Lizzy

  3. Yeast infections can be fatal? WOw, that is insane! Wait, I’ve had some that made me itch so bad I wanted to kill myself…. OoooK, I get it! This is one of the grossest things ever, Vagisil and Massengill both, they can kiss my beautiful naturally scented cootchie!! Oh, and what about the smell of BUTT? Can we see a product on the market, complete with commercials, that will hide the butt smell? THANKS! =P

  4. Actually it’s not just yeast infections that have a foul odor as one of the symptoms. Bacterial vaginosis is as prevalent as yeast infections and are more commonly the culprit of the so called “fishy” odor. They can also be very difficult to treat effectively and recurrences are common. Many women have struggled with feelings of shame around BV because of the odor and this commerical most likely reinforces that.

  5. & i just got this from a friend:

    I saw your piece (Smells Like Fish) on Vagisil commercials and recalled an essay by Nora Ephron which came out in 1975 titled “Dealing with the, uh, Problem.” The essay talks about the motives of manufacturers of feminine hygiene deodorant products who created a ‘problem’ and then created a product to solve it.

    “They speak of ‘the problem.’ They speak of ‘the area where the problem exists.’ They speak of ‘the need to solve the problem.’ Every so often, a hard-core word slides into the conversation. Vagina, perhaps.”

    The essay is still available in a collection of Ephron’s titled “Crazy Salad: Some Things about Women.” I thought the essay was wonderful and believed it would make a difference, that exposing the whole idiotic marketing scheme, no one would be taken in and the product would fail. What is sad is that despite Ephron’s insight and exposition, this attitude and the pathetic marketing strategy still exists.

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