By Jennah Owda
As a woman, the pressure of managing a clean vagina has led to many of us being too hygienic with our privates and therefore harming them. It is time to stop feeding into the male gaze and time to start healing our relationship with our bodies. Because of myths and unattainable standards made up by men, many women have grown insecure of their vaginas for not looking or smelling a certain way. Let us dive into the misogynistic myths and mend your relationship with your vagina.
Your natural scent is not something to be ashamed of!
Contrary to Harry Styles’s famous lyric, “it tastes like strawberry on a summer evening,” our vaginas are not designed to smell like an artificial flavor⸺shocking, I know. The myth that vaginas are supposed to smell like fresh fruits has made many women insecure about their natural scents. This has led to many of us thinking healthy hygiene means using products like Summer’s Eve, douching, and steaming to keep our scent “balanced” and “fresh.” However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise us to stay away from “feminine” products because of their capability of imbalancing our vagina’s PH level and removing infection-fighting bacteria, causing painful infections. Our vaginas are self-cleaning, meaning you do not need to be putting on deodorant or using fragrances. Instead, your cleaning routine should consist of warm water. If you are still concerned about the way your vulva may smell, make sure you are wiping front to back after using the bathroom and use a little water on the napkin. If you still have concerns, do not be shy and set an appointment with a gynecologist.
There is no “normal” color!
For the melanin queens out there, hyperpigmentation is nothing to be ashamed of! Having darker inner thighs is completely normal. There is no need to use baking soda or bleach to make your inner thighs or vulva pink. The myth that hyperpigmentation is caused by only the rubbing of your thighs is not true. While friction can cause your skin to darken, aging is the actual reason for the constant darkening of our vaginas due to hormonal changes over time. “It’s important to remember that vulvas are as individual as women themselves, and vary in color, size, and shape,” states gynecologist Vanessa Mackay in an interview with Refinery 29. “Women should know that everyone is unique, and that variation in appearance is normal in the vast majority of cases.”
Hair growth is healthy!
There is a huge stigma that allowing your pubic hair to grow means you are unhygienic and not ladylike, but according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “removing the hair can increase the risk of infection.” Many of us women are quick to shave or wax our hair, which is completely okay, but we should not be shaving or waxing because we are ashamed of our hair. The hair on our vagina serves as a protector by trapping unwanted bacteria from the vaginal area. Choosing to shave or to grow out your hair does not make you less of a woman. Hair growth is a sign of you entering womanhood, and there is nothing shameful about becoming a woman.