Freshen your hoo-ha (or why Libra can kiss my smelly vagina)

May 26, 2013 § 15 Comments

Let me start with the necessary caveats: consumer activism isn’t usually my thing, though I reckon its got its place. Destroy the Joint (who started protesting Alan Jones and are now working on getting Facebook to disallow misogynistic groups) have done some great stuff in this area, even if its not everyone’s feminism.

However, today I was having lunch with my Dad and his partner in a pub in Balmain, enjoying the glorious Sydney sunshine. I went to the loo, and saw a sticker on the mirror. “Get fresh with Libra wipes,” it told me.

I instantly knew Libra were talking about “getting fresh” vaginas. At first I hoped I was mistaken. Then I turned around and saw this:

Libra ad reads "We won't dance around it. This gives you a fresh HOO-HA"

Libra ad reads “We won’t dance around it. This gives you a fresh HOO-HA”

Libra are telling people that their vaginas need ‘freshening’.

Libra, as far as I know, is a tampon company. Pads too. I think they mostly market to younger girls, with bright colours and a boppy “Live Love Libra” slogan. A quick internet search revealed that Libra is owned by SCA, or Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget. I couldn’t find any immediate dirt on them, despite the bad rep a lot of hygiene companies like Unilever have with women’s groups.

I can’t even be bothered with unpacking the irony of the word (is it even a word?) “HOO-HA” when used in combination with “we won’t dance around it.”

I am not of the “let’s talk about my vagina” school of feminism. For better or worse (quite probably worse), I feel reserved about these things, in addition to having, shall we say, some control issues regarding my body. However, I have lots of feminist comrades who ARE of the “let’s talk our bodies” variety, and they are hero(ine)s in a world that teaches us that our bodies are smelly, out-of-control things in need of constant disciplining and upkeep with random stuff (like Libra products). Feminists and women before me who did the hard work of health promotion and myth-busting, such as these paradigm-shifters, didn’t do that work for nothing, even if this bullshit is still happening. They’ve taught me to recognise a bit of body hate when I see it.

The reason this ad annoyed me so much that I feel driven to talk VAGINA on my blog, despite my mild discomfort, is that Libra are making such a blatant play on body insecurity. This is especially the case for girls and younger women, given that that’s who Libra seem to be targeting. The “am I normal am I ok am I doing stuff right” self-talk that is a constant in many heads, just got a big “NO YOU ARE NOT OK” from Libra. All in order to sell unnecessary, potentially harmful vagina-cleaner, as though this part of our bodies was a kitchen drain.

So, in case it’s not obvious: MY VAGINA DOES NOT SMELL BAD, AND IF YOU HAVE ONE, I’M PRETTY SURE YOURS IS FINE TOO. If someone thinks your vagina smells bad, they are very probably not worth your time. If you’re worried your vagina smells bad, go to a good (hopefully feminist) doctor and get a check up. In Sydney I can recommend the Uni of Sydney Health Service and Leichardt Women’s Medical Centre. The Australian Lesbian Medical Association also has this list. Please make other suggestions in the comments if you’ve got ’em.

And by the way, if you do feel inclined to boycott, here’s a handy list of alternatives to the usual ‘feminine hygiene’ route.

Lastly: VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA. Libra and its HOO-HAs can go kiss my smelly vag.

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§ 15 Responses to Freshen your hoo-ha (or why Libra can kiss my smelly vagina)

  • Riikka says:

    this is awesome! thanks, meg!

  • glitterandgirlpower says:

    Great article! I get so sick of bullshit aimed at sanitising vaginas when they don’t need it and in fact using loads of products is likely to increase the chance of infection. Thanks for writing!

    • Thanks for commenting! – and absolutely agree w/ you re chance of infection. One of the best lessons my doctor ever gave me was “keep soap, lycra and g-strings away from your vagina”. Words to live by.

  • Modess (I think) tried something like this back in the 1970s, with ‘scented’ pads. Because women all want to smell like bad room aerosol while menstruating. No really, I know it’s because making women feel suspicious about their own selves is a proven marketing technique. So yeah, good one. Vagina, vagina, vagina.

    • Agh, awful Modess! Scented pads are still around I think, though I don’t know if they’re marketed that way? I seem to remember throwing a pack out a while back, may have been a supermarket brand…
      Thanks for commenting Christine.

  • Kathy says:

    Brilliant article – you’ve said it all so eloquently and with great humour – as the mother of two girls approaching puberty I applaud you!!!

  • sexlessinnyc says:

    Loved the article, and agreed with it – what is up with companies telling us our vagina smell needs to be ‘sanitised’?? Although I just want to stress this point (and this is the me that works in sexual health butting in…) ladies, if you think your vagina smells differently to how it usually smells (and if you don’t know how yours does I encourage you to take the time and find out) please get checked out at your sexual health clinic/trusted GP.

    Vaginas aren’t smelly, they smell like vagina. Wonderful, vagina smell. IF they do get smelly, though, you need to get it checked out.

  • Eleanor says:

    Thanks for linking to us! And love your post – the vagina is not dirty. UGH.

  • Gail Hewison says:

    Brilliant article Megan, right to the point and funny too, god how long do we have to go on making these points!! Nice to see you on the ferry on Sunday xxx

  • Tom says:

    Amen!
    I’m a guy in my early 40s. And I’ve been around the block… i.e. I’ve had my fair share of pussy.
    I’d like to share how real men feel about vaginas: Hair is good. Normal vagina smell is awesome. Really awesome. It hits some lizard part of your brain and drives you wild.
    So products like this one from Libra, or this one from Carefree: https://twitter.com/ThePunkRockShop/status/316803534433681408/photo/1
    … are full of shit.
    They pathologise normal female physiology… physiology that is designed (by God or nature) to drive men wild.
    So good on you for calling “bullshit”.
    If any of your followers want to know how real men feel about vaginas (as opposed to boys-raised-on-porn-who-know-nothing) have them listen to this: https://soundcloud.com/tom-donald/joey-diaz-and-bert-kreischer
    Hopefully it’ll help them feel freer.
    Keep up the great work.

  • Ashleigh says:

    I completely disagree, I recently bought the body wash and as Libra has made clear, both the body wash and wipes can be used all over the body. Yes the ad about your ‘hoo-ha’ make offend people but hey, some people want products like this, Vagasil? It states clearly ‘for the woman who wants to be comfortable’. I’d rather feel clean and fresh than have a smelly vajayjay from normal soap. So I don’t think it’s targetting people’s insecurities but instead offering them a solution to a problem most women are already uncomfortable about. I think you need to look at this product a bit more positively, it’s not just for your vagina

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