Femfresh fail

Femfresh make a “vaginal wash.” I’ve never used it, but a cycling friend of mine uses it sometimes after long bike rides when sweat and heat has disrupted her “natural balance.” She says it’s useful when you need a bit of extra help.

However, that is not how Femfresh are choosing to market it. Femfresh are marketing it in such a way that if you believed what they were telling you, you would believe that vaginas and vulvas are naturally dirty, malodorous and unhygienic, and that the only way to deal with their filthy stench is to use their product, rather than perfectly adequate soap and water (or just plain water if you’re sensitive to soap). And many women are vulnerable to that kind of pressure. Many women are already scared of their own genitals, think they’re dirty, unclean, disgusting. Many women are so scared that their genitals look bad, smell bad and taste bad that they won’t let their partners’ faces anywhere below the waist, and they’re missing out on a whole lot of fun. We’ve all heard the fish remarks. We probably all know at least one woman who genuinely believes her vagina is intrinsically dirty. And Femfresh is reinforcing those beliefs and those fears, not out of concern for women’s healthy, but to sell a product women don’t generally need.

It’s not just adult women seeing their ads. Teenage girls are seeing them too. Teenage girls might well be struggling with the changes puberty brings. Vaginal secretions, eggwhite mucus preceding ovulation, periods, pubic hair, coupled with the insecurity and awkwardness and uncertainty that often develop at that age. Shouldn’t a company that purports to care about women’s health be reassuring young women that their bodies are normal, natural and healthy instead of making them worry that they’re dirty, smelly and wrong?

So, I don’t like the premise of the ads. I also hate the execution. Rather than refer to vagina or vulva, they’re using childish, made up words like va-jayjay (I think that’s the worst one), froo-froo, lala, nooni (wasn’t nooni a My Little Pony?), hoo-ha and kitty. Well, they were, then the facebook backlash happened, and they added vagina to the ad on the page. They won’t let us say cunt though; they delete it every time. Pity. It’s a good old English word and everybody knows what it means, unlike bloody froo-froo, which is how my mum would describe Danny La Rue’s frocks. Where was I? Oh yes, the infantilised made-up words. Why? If you’re selling a product to adults, talk to them like adults. Stop pretending vaginas and vulvas (vulvae?) are unspeakable and unmentionable, or that they’re cutesy and need twee names. They’re body parts, not pixies.

Then the backlash happened. People found the facebook page. People commented on the facebook page. Femfresh added the word “vagina” to the ad on the page but the backlash continued. Hundreds of women and a few men have pointed out that the language in the ads is infantilised and unnecessary, and that the product is unnecessary. Hundreds of women and a few men have pointed out that vaginas are self-cleansing, and they require nothing more than a wash with soap and water or just plain water. And hundreds of women have pointed out that Femfresh are attempting to cause or exacerbate insecurity about their bodies in women in order to sell an unnecessary product. And quite a few of us have said cunt.

It’s ace.

This page has been edited to add this link to the 16 days campaign against violence against women.


Scotland considering criminalising the people who pay for sex

I have mixed feelings about this Scotsman article.

Edinburgh has always turned a blind eye to brothels (operating as “saunas” and “massage parlours”) on the understanding that it’s easier to ensure children and trafficked workers aren’t being forced to work in brothels than it is to try do the same for street prostitution, and the police have been less heavy-handed with the street workers on the understanding that the street workers let them know about children working as prostitutes. Part of me thinks that’s a sensible approach, on the understanding that prostitution has always existed and will always exist, and I think that’s borne out when you look at Glasgow, which has taken the opposite approach and has a much bigger problem with street prostitution, trafficked women and rape and abuse of prostituted women.

But on the other hand, I do not accept the idea that “men have urges that have to be satisfied by women no matter what.” I wouldn’t deny that men have urges, but I believe they can satisfy those urges independently or with an inflatable doll if necessary. And I’m more and more coming round to the views as written about here¬† http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2012/02/16/porn-part-10-the-rutting-dogs-of-capitalism/ and here http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2012/03/15/porn-part-11-the-difference-between-huffing-dong-and-flipping-burgers/ , particularly If someone has to be paid to consent to something, they have not actually consented to it but have rather agreed not to make their non-consent an issue in exchange for money.

I do not know if any of the men of my aquaintance have ever used prostitutes. I’d rather not know, because I’d find it very difficult to have any respect for them if I knew they had. I don’t understand how someone can pay someone for sex, knowing that that person might have been trafficked, raped, abused and forced into doing it. I don’t understand how people can think it’s ok to do that to someone else, no matter how much money they hand over. And yes, I think that if anyone involved in prostitution should be criminalised, it should be the paying punter, rather than the prostituted person. The more I think about it, the more I hope the laws are passed, but I think it should go along with a massive public education campaign, explaining why coercion isn’t the same as consent.

Two quick things, entirely unrelated

I had my appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon. Nothing showing on the X-rays. They think I need an arthroscopy, which is keyhole surgery to get a camera in to have a look at the hip joint. Hip joints are quite tightly held together, so they have to put the leg into traction to get the head of the femur out of the hip socket to make space for the camera to go in. Because of a risk of dislocation afterwards, I expect to be on crutches for 6-8 weeks afterwards. How extremely inconvenient.

I really hope they do it under local and let me watch the screen.

In other news, the Olympic Torch came up my street this morning. I took me camera out to see it but didn’t realise the batteries were dead and then had that indecisive “do I have time to go back for batteries, or will I miss it?” I didn’t go back, so of course, I would have had time. I got some crappy video on my phone though.


I’m really underwhelmed. I somehow expected more than two crappy orange vans and a bloke in a shellsuit.