The Shame-y Reason Vagisil's New Products Are Facing MAJOR Backlash

Photo: YuriyZhuravov / Shutterstock
The Shame-y Reason Vagisil's New Products Are Facing MAJOR Backlash

Gynecologists are calling out Vagisil for spreading sexist misinformation with their new OMV product line. 

The line includes a wash, wipes, and post-shaving serum that claim to help teens alleviate “period funk” and itchiness and gynecologists are concerned the products could be wrongfully encouraging young people to feel shame about their normal bodily functions. 

What many teens may not realize is that not only are special products for vaginal and vulvar cleansing unnecessary, they can also be damaging. This sensitive part of the body is prone to irritation and can easily have its pH levels disrupted. 

The Vagisil site claims the products will help girls feel "comfortable and confident,” but what they should be telling people is that there’s no reason your period should stop you from feeling this way in the first place.

Experts are calling the line “overpriced, predatory, [and] misogynistic.”

Understandably, many were quick to call out Vagisil’s irresponsible marketing tactics and encouraged the brand to do better when it comes to educating young people about their bodies. 

Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an OB-GYN and author of several books on menopause and vaginal health, took to Twitter to express her dissatisfaction with Vagisil by writing, “Preying on teens and amplifying patriarchal shame of normal bodily functions to sell an irritating product is not acceptable.”

She also critiqued some of the ingredients in Vagisil’s products as potentially irritating for the vagina. The line is vanilla and clementine scented and claims to give the vagina a “glow-up”, which Gunter found particularly inappropriate to recommend to teens. 

RELATED: 10 Foods That Are Surprisingly Great For Your Vaginal Health

Feminine hygiene brands often recklessly misinform their customers.

Another OB-GYN, Dr. Danielle Jones, had a similar complaint as Dr. Gunter when she tweeted, “Vagisil is marketing an overpriced, predatory, misogynistic vulvar wash to MINOR GIRLS.” 

She also encouraged her followers to share similar stories of how marketing tactics by brands like Vagisil have impacted their self-confidence. 

One reply shared an exchange with Lume Deodorant, an antiperspirant brand designed for the vulva. In the messages, Lume Deodorant discouraged customers from going to see a doctor by claiming that doctors “overdiagnose BV [bacterial vaginitis] and yeast vaginitis”.  

Instead, the brand recommended continuing to use their product for a number of days in place of the doctor. By claiming to replace the need for a doctor, the brand could prevent their customers from receiving vital healthcare. 

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Another tweet pointed out that similar products rarely exist for men’s genitalia because these companies know they can easily tap into already existing shame and misinformation about female bodily functions. 

Reminder: You don’t need any special products to clean your vagina! 

Vagisil was quick to backtrack and release a statement responding to the criticism to say that the products were an “all-over” body wash but the product descriptions and bylines on their site still clearly state that the washes are for “period funk” — whatever that even means.

And just to be clear, it is perfectly normal for vaginas to have different smells or “funks” from time to time. 

The external areas around your vagina can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap meaning these kinds of specially-designed products are unnecessary. 

Products and soaps should never be applied inside the vagina as this area needs to be left to clean itself — that’s what your discharge is for.

That said, if you’re concerned about any smells, itching or discomfort down there be sure to consult a doctor before reaching for any trendy new products. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a generalist with an interest in lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.