OMG. You’ve got to be kidding. I just heard about a magazine ad that’s got me steaming mad. Check out this full page Summer’s Eve ad in Woman’s Day magazine. The title: “Confidence at Work: How to Ask For a Raise.” The very first suggestion in the eight tips on how to ask for a raise?
#1 Start with your usual routine and all the things you do to feel your best, including showering with Summer’s Eve feminine wash or throwing a packet of Summer’s Eve Feminine Cleansing Cloths into your bag for a quick freshness pick-me-up during the day.
As the author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, I’ve got something to say about this! Summer’s Eve approached me a few months back because they wanted to throw a boatload of money at me so I could be their spokesperson. Thank GODDESS I said I would do that when hell freezes over. What did I tell them? IT’S SUPPOSED TO SMELL LIKE PUSSY.
To quote my heroine Eve Ensler from the Vagina Monologues:
My vagina doesn’t need to be cleaned up. It smells good already. Don’t try to decorate. Don’t believe him when he tells you it smells like rose petals when it’s supposed to smell like pussy. That’s what they’re doing – trying to clean it up, make it smell like bathroom spray or a garden. All those douche sprays – floral, berry, rain. I don’t want my pussy to smell like rain. All cleaned up like washing a fish after you cook it. I want to taste the fish. That’s why I ordered it.
Amen, sister! Take that, Summer’s Eve. What was all that mumbo jumbo you gave me back when you were trying to convince me to accept your money? Here’s a direct quote from the email you sent me:
The “tone” of the program is one that emphasizes female confidence and empowerment, taking charge of health and wellness and an overall love of being female! An integral part of our efforts is a collaboration with a respected health professional to provide educational messaging for consumers. Your breadth of expertise in a variety of women’s health issues, as well as your position on women’s empowerment and the down-to-Earth, woman-to-woman tone of your upcoming book makes us particularly interested in starting a dialog with you.
Shame. Shame. Shame on you. And thank you Universe for guiding me to turn away the money and decline this offer. How in the world does this ad “emphasize female confidence and empowerment?” I mean seriously, people.
My agent, whom I lovingly call “Monkey Barbara”, had this to say when this opportunity arose: "I don't want the word douchebag coming out of your mouth unless you're saying it to some guy who wants his girlfriend to douche!"
When I expressed my belief that douching is not only an offense to women everywhere but it also increases the risk of vaginal infections by washing away all the healthy, protective bacteria, Summer’s Eve assured me that their new campaign was not about douching at all. Instead, it was about healthy, pH balanced feminine cleansing. My answer to them? The vagina is a self-cleaning organism. And oh yeah -- it’s supposed to smell like pussy.
Sure, I’m all for valuing your worth and asking for that raise. You work hard. You get to the office earlier than anyone else. You didn’t take that Fiji vacation you earned because of the deadline on that special project you tackled like nobody’s business. You’re creative in the boardroom, you know how to close the deal, and the boss just couldn’t do without you. So go ahead. Ask for that raise. You deserve it.
But seriously. Of all the ways they could guide you to step into your power, are they really suggesting that washing your vagina is the #1 most important step to getting that raise?
Here’s the problem. The very fact that they put this ad in a national woman’s magazine (and shame on you too Woman’s Day for running it!) just reinforces the insecurities most women have about the way they smell. It actually suggests that feminine odor might keep you from getting the raise you deserve. By running this ad, they’re placing yet another doubt in the back of your mind. Do I smell? Might my boss notice?
Back in the 1950’s, Lysol ran the same sort of fear-based campaign. As quoted in my book What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend Elissa Stein, author of Flow: A Cultural History of Menstruation says, “For years, they sold Lysol, the same bottle as the bathroom kitchen germ killer, as a douche. They launched a horrendous scare tactic ad campaign that assured women their husbands would leave them if they weren’t fresh and clean.”
How is this different? Now, instead of being divorced by your husband, you’ve gotta worry that you might not get that raise if you don’t freshen up your vagina with one of those feminine cleansing cloths right before you march in there and demand more money? I mean, seriously people. You gotta be kidding me.
Here’s the scoop (a quote from What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend ):
The vagina is a self-cleaning organism. Shoving it full of things meant to make you smell like a bouquet of flowers does more harm than good by washing out the vagina’s normal bacteria, allowing bad bacteria to overpopulate the delicate environment and increasing the risk of vaginal infections. Some people can’t even tolerate using soap or bath gel on their private parts, since it can lead to itching, burning, and vaginal infections. Believe it or not, warm water on a soft washcloth is all you need to keep yourself clean. And who wants to wash away those delicious pheromones anyway?
So sure, take a shower before you ask for that raise, but deodorizing your va jay jay? I think not.
And if you MUST do something to your vagina, don’t deodorize it, vajazzle it. Shave your pubes into a heart or go commando if you like. Don’t do it for anybody else. Do it because it makes you giggle to know how glittery you are underneath those fabulous panties. Go to a scrapbooking store and buy stickers, rhinestones, fake tattoos -- whatever might make you feel fabulously naughty and pussified.
Now go! Own it girlfriends! You smell beautiful and you’re worth every penny of that raise. Go get ‘em, tiger (growl….)
Ooh la la,
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