"Speak up for down there"

Follow Sandra Day O'Connor's lead, says Vagisil, and empower your vagina.

By Tracy Clark-Flory
May 13, 2008 2:40PM (UTC)
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I don't think I've ever bothered covering a press release about a feminine hygiene product, but this announcement from Vagisil is worthy of being the first. For starters, in a single sentence, the release manages to mention "Sex and the City's" Carrie Bradshaw, sex educator Sue Johanson and ... former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Better still, its dissonant name-dropping is in the service of giving examples of "icons of female empowerment" -- and that's the entirety of the list. There you have it, the only feminist idols we have left: a fictional sex columnist, a silver-haired sex toy enthusiast and the first female Supreme Court justice!

Despite these famous exemplars of vaginal empowerment, one in two women is uncomfortable talking with her doctor about "vaginal discomfort," according to Vagisil's Voice for Women survey. That's why, in recognition of National Women's Health Week, Vagisil is encouraging women to "speak up for down there" when it comes to "itching, burning, unusual or excessive discharge" (and, most important, to purchase Vagisil's screening kit, "which helps women identify the possible source of their vaginal discomfort"). After all, the survey showed that vaginal discomfort has a significant "emotional toll" on women: 80 percent feel frustrated, 68 percent suffer increased self-consciousness and 29 percent get angry. It also found that women's embarrassment in addressing the issue with their doctors mostly has to do with a "lack of knowledge"; they wrongly assume their symptoms are linked to bad hygiene or promiscuity.


Now, I realize that campaigns need catchy slogans -- and (aside from angina, China and South Carolina) what on earth rhymes with "vagina"? But I find it funny that Vagisil is pushing women to educate themselves and confidently address these symptoms by launching a campaign that refers to the vagina as "down there." Then again, if women remain giggly and embarrassed about issues "down there," they'll likely address their symptoms by turning to the feminine hygiene aisle, instead of their doctor, in an attempt to self-diagnose.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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