They're calling it the #pantychallenge.
Every time you turn around there seems to be some sort of challenge that encourages women to feel like crap about their bodies. There has been the Collarbone Challenge, The Bellybutton Challenge, and The Underboob Challenge, but one of the stupidest ones has to be The Panty Challenge.
Don't get me wrong — all of these challenges are about body-shaming and seem to have the motive to make women feel as badly about themselves as possible. Most of these challenges don't make much sense if you think about them for 30 seconds.
The Panty Challenge seems to have started with one woman's Facebook video post in which she bragged that her panties were so clean and never had any discharge on them.
Hmm, I didn't know androids could have Facebook pages because the thing is, vaginal discharge is something that all women have from time to time.
In the Facebook post, the woman justified her sparkling panties by saying it was because her vagina was so clean. Hello! Vaginal discharge is the result of the vagina cleaning itself and, hopefully, everybody knows (at this point) that you should never use a douche and should never put anything inside your vagina to clean it.
The woman went on to explain that her panties were spotless because she drinks a lot of water (OK?) and knows how to wipe. Are we positive that she wasn't auditioning for a toilet paper commercial?
Although the video went viral, the public didn't embrace the Panty Challenge. In fact, most women saw it for the ridiculous and wrong thing that it was and had some fun with it.
Instead of uploading pictures of their clean underwear, they got creative.
Besides cleaning our vaginas, these vaginal secretions have a very important job and that's to facilitate conception. As you make your way through your menstrual cycle, your female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) rise and fall, and your vaginal discharge changes along with them. You also have different amounts of vaginal discharge when you're ovulating, breastfeeding, or are sexually aroused.
If you actually pay attention to what shows up in your underwear, you'll notice when your discharge seems off. Sometimes vaginal discharge can be a sign that something isn't right with our vagina. You might have a yeast infection or an STI. If your discharge changes color, consistency, or you have a lot more than usual, get checked out by a doctor.
The dry, chunky discharge after our period acts like a bouncer at Club Conception and makes it difficult for any wayward sperm to travel up towards the uterus, as there isn't any egg waiting in the VIP section.
As we get closer to ovulation, our vaginal secretions make things friendlier for the sperm (as if they had the velvet rope pushed aside) and give them a comfortable space to hang out waiting for the release of the egg.
Then, just before ovulation, the red carpet is rolled out for the sperm, giving them the ideal consistency for their long journey to the uterus.
Bodily functions aren't gross — they're a very necessary part of being alive. And when people make up these absurd challenges that seem designed to make people feel crappy about themselves, that's when they go from being silly to being damaging.
The Panty Challenge as a body-shaming challenge failed, but it succeeded in raising awareness that vaginal discharge is normal and has its reasons for showing up in the crotch of your panties.