Culture

“Treat Your Hoo Haa Like A Star”, And Other Things That Don’t Need To Happen

A new campaign by Libra is telling women their vaginas are gross. Hooray!

If you’re looking to be offended by something non-olfactory in a public bathroom, cast your eyes up past the cyclical insults scrawled on the toilet door, and take in the “just for her” targeted advertisements.

It’s a mixed bag. There are the constructive posters which advise people who to call for mental health support, or which give information about the cervical cancer vaccine. Then there are the slightly more dubious ones, advertising condoms by showing two scantily clad women clutching pink rubber floatie rings, with the caption informing all and sundry that they “want to feel everything”. Awesome. There’s nothing I like more than some cervix symbolism while I’m peeing.

Every so often, though, something truly aggravating will manage to make it through the gauntlet of marketing meetings and workshops. You might think that you’re going to the bathroom before a film so you can watch the film without interruption, but you’re wrong. You’re actually going to the bathroom to be educated about how female anatomy is shameful, and how you can avoid any associated embarrassment by flinging money at a problem that doesn’t exist.

Libra’s ‘Get Fresh Wipes’

The latest to jump on the ‘vaginas are gross and embarrassing’ bandwagon are feminine hygiene brand Libra, who are putting their own euphemistic spin on female specific “cleansing cloths.”

They’re called “Get Fresh Wipes”: individually wrapped baby wipes for your baby maker, priced at some horrendous mark-up to cover the cost of unnecessary packaging. About 60% of the predominantly pink poster on the toilet door is taken up by the tagline “Treat your Hoo-Ha like a star”, with the remaining space featuring a picture of a nondescript box and some quasi-microscopic copy which, upon reading in the bathroom of Melbourne Central Hoyts, made me want to vomit rainbows into a diamonte-encrusted bucket.

hoo ha

Image via LeratoMajikfaerie on Google+

If you strip away the euphemisms and read between the lines of phrases such as “Freshen up when you haven’t got time to freshen up” and “They’re gentle enough to use on even your most sensitive bits”, Libra is essentially saying: “Ladies. Wipe your vaginas. Because what’s going on down there isn’t normal.”

As if refusing to use proper, grown-up anatomical words in fear of causing offense isn’t enough, they go a step further, hiding the true intent of their advertisement by celebretising your “most sensitive bits.” I’m still uncertain as to what the connection between celebrity and personal hygiene products is; I went to Oz Comic Con last year and did not witness anyone go after Stan Lee with baby wipes, or chase down Jason Momoa to “freshen him up”. And I’m not convinced that a wiped vagina is, in fact, “scene-stealing”.

Your Vagina Is Doing Just Fine By Itself

It’s not just a problem with the wording. The fact that these products exist is offensive by itself, and speaks of profit being valued higher than health. The vagina is a self-cleaning part of the body, and works to fight off bacteria and infection through maintaining a delicate balance of acidity and microflora. Vaginas know what they’re doing.

“The vagina contains more bacteria than anywhere else in the body after the bowel, but the bacteria are there for a reason,” says Professor Ronnie Lamont, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “If nature had intended the vagina to smell like roses or lavender, it would have made the vagina smell like roses or lavender.” In the article, the UK’s NHS condemns the use of wipes as unnecessary and disruptive, and goes on to say that douches are actually harmful to female reproductive health.

Speaking of douches that are harmful to female reproductive health: Libra has created an environmentally unfriendly product which will unnecessarily bulldoze through the female body’s natural ecosystem — and they’re selling it through shame.

In Conclusion

There is no reason for “Get Fresh Wipes” to exist. They belong in the same category as apple slicers, apron protectors, and the generic pictures that come free with photo frames — but they’re worse, because they could actually be bad for you.

So thank you Libra, but the only “scene stealing tip” I gained from your advertisement was less about how to handle my downstairs, and more about how your marketing works:

1.       Shame women about natural body functions.

2.       Add non-sustainable packaging.

3.       ???

4.       Profit.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer with a focus on film, television and pop culture. She edits Subterranean Death Cult, has been published in Film Ink, Metro, The Punch, and Lip Magazine, and tweets terrible puns @ElizabethFlux.