Angry Parents and Gynecologists Took Over Social Media Against a Feminine Wash for Teens

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A feminine wash for teens angered parents and obstetricians-gynecologists and brought it to social media.

A Canadian-American OB-Gyn and columnist, Jennifer Gunter, is on a crusade to make sure teens know that vaginas must smell like vaginas, not creamsicles - as the brand markets. Since her 2017 Goop takedown, the Bay Area gynecologist and author of "The Vagina Bible" has waged a high-profile battle against various vaginal hygiene products and practices. She takes specific issue with advice that women put jade eggs in their vaginas and perform vaginal steaming. Today, Vagisil, a vaginal care goods company, launched a line specifically for teenagers this summer. 

According to Vagisil website, their OMV product line sells serums, washes, and wipes, so the "period funk and bikini itch" do not get in the way." "For a creamsicle scent that is sweet and citrusy, we mixed vanilla and clementine," reads one Instagram post. "It's perfect for the glow care of the intimate part." 

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Gunter's expertise says otherwise, and now she is targeting her ire at them. She said, "Society is always looking for ways to make individuals with vaginas feel ashamed." She added with passion," I hate the industry because it capitalizes on vaginal and vulvar shame. But seeing it being sold to teens? Well, not on my watch." Referring to the $21.6 billion feminine hygiene global business according to IMARC, a leading market research agency that conducts business intelligent studies worldwide.

The main medical risk, gynecologists claim, would be if the ingredients used to make those products and others such as gel sanitizers, scented washes, and feminine wipes reached the vagina's internal parts rather than staying externally on the vulva. They can be outright harmful because they disrupt the natural environment of the vagina, stripping it off the bacteria that combat infections. In fact, those products may increase the chances of users having urinary tract infections or yeast infections.

While items such as tampons are indeed needed as they are sanitary products, Gunter pointed out that Vagisil's product is not one of them. The company, on the other hand, demonstrated in a tweet that it was not the product's purpose. Separately, a spokesperson said that they do not create or promote showers' use.

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Reactions of Netizens to Feminine Wash for Teens 

Thousands of disappointed women, disgruntled parents, and social-media-savvy gynecologists joined Grunter the next day, through tweets, TikTok videos, and YouTube videos.

A YouTube video about the Vagisil controversy was made by Danielle Jones, a gynecologist in Austin. "I do not know that these products are inherently dangerous," Jones said in the video, which garnered 2,400 views in 24 hours. "It's less about being awful about the product and more about predatory marketing," she added. 

Meanwhile, in Portland, Oregon, Jennifer Lincoln, a gynecologist, who posted four videos about the controversy said to her 1.7 million TikTok followers, "The way they make money is that they make us feel dirty."

In the Seattle area, an attorney, Shannon McCarthy, also shared her thoughts and said, "I was appalled when I first saw Dr. Gunter's tweet," and added, "I grew up feeling very private and ashamed of human sexuality and bodies, and I don't want to make my kids feel that way." So, when she was alone with her 13-year-old daughter, she demonstrated that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ that does not require special items.

These issues have acted as a reminder of the minefield facing teenage girls on social media, and a starting point for some parents' conversations with their teens.

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