Writing in the Guardian, feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez alerts us to another pressing issue of the day:
There’s a new ad on the woman-hating block… I first saw the ad this weekend, and it’s been niggling away at me ever since.
Time well spent, no doubt. The pressing issue is of course Vagisil deodorant, a tool of the Patriarchy with insidious mind-warping effects.
It’s partly its insidiousness in presenting Vagisil as if they are on our side – no need to worry girls, this odour is completely normal! The thing is, if this supposed odour… is completely normal, there would be no need for a product to deal with it, would there?
I fear I’m venturing into alien territory here, given my limited knowledge of how ladies smell below the waist - some more than others, apparently. But still, something obvious ought to be said. There are any number of human odours, secretions and emissions that are normal and generated to varying degrees, but this doesn’t mean one would necessarily wish to share them with others. Even as a display of defiant womanhood. Years ago, I worked with a big-boned lady with unusually strong body odour. She was, so far as I could tell, scrupulously clean and, judging by the array of deodorants in her handbag, very much aware of this distinctive characteristic. Her battle with perspiration and pungency was, sadly, being lost, especially during summer, though I and other colleagues were appreciative of her efforts to minimise the social fallout.
What Vagisil does is pretend to be our friend, helping us deal with this smell that’s been plaguing our social life; in reality they are manipulating us into thinking we stink in the first place… adding yet another paranoia to the long list carried around by the 21st century woman trying to survive in a system that teaches them to hate themselves.
Yes, of course. The option to deodorise one’s nethers and render them fragrant – say, before engaging in some intimate beastliness – isn’t a matter of, um, taste or personal judgment, but constitutes “woman-hating.” And the existence of said option not only “attacks and diminishes women’s self-confidence,” it teaches those same women - the ones with no minds of their own, it seems - to “hate themselves.” Because womenfolk simply can’t be trusted to determine whether a product is useful or a complete waste of money. Which, on reflection, is an odd position for a feminist campaigner to take. Should someone think to market Zesty Scrotal Freshness Wipes, I’m pretty sure I’d retain the wherewithal to decide for myself whether to rush out and buy a multipack or stick with showering and a little talc.
After the customary denunciation of the market and its morally corrupting effects, and intimations that women are mere flotsam on an ocean of advertising, Ms Criado-Perez informs us, somewhat triumphantly:
I’m not buying Vagisil. Ever.
The market in action. Problem solved.
Good news, menfolk! There’s been a miracle breakthrough in male hygiene technology...