I’ve been thinking all weekend about the biggest fraud perpetrated on American women during my lifetime. Can you guess what it is?
Douches and vaginal sprays.
Oy, let me explain—I didn’t just wake up Sunday morning obsessed with feminine hygiene. On Saturday night we were at my mother-in-law’s house in Studio City. She was clearing out an old cabinet that had to go because of a new heating unit. Many of the items in this cupboard had not been touched in four decades. Included in the dozens of old cookbooks, cassette tapes, and newspaper clippings were six Ladies Home Journal magazines from the year 1970. I started leafing through the magazines and was immediately struck with the bizarre preponderance of ads for vaginal douches and sprays. I’m not talking tiny little blurbs hidden in the back of the magazine. No, these were full-page (often double-spread), expensive full-color glitzy ads in the front of the magazine worthy of Don Draper and his costly staff.
1970 must have been the most successful year in history for feminine hygiene products. While vaginal cleanliness was not exactly on my radar screen that year (I was ten years old), I do remember seeing Summer’s Eve bottles in my house at that time. And the Feminique spray in the ads looked very familiar. The ads in the Journal tried to use jargon from the women’s liberation movement that was in full flower in 1970, but today they come off as blatant signposts of patriarchy. What else can you call the concerted effort of Madison Avenue to falsely convince American women that they were just not okay down there?
Let me just give you a sampling of the dozens of douche and vaginal spray hard sells present in these magazines:
Your douche may make you smell nice. But, do you know what it’s doing to you? Inside? Like a good douche should be, Jeneen is gentle, while it helps clean away stubborn odor-causing bacteria. More than that, it gets at elusive odor causing bacteria other douches might miss. Which means, when you feel very very clean and very very pretty after douching with Jeneen, you really are. So, be nice—not only on the outside!
Now for every woman: the SECOND deodorant you may need whether you know it or not! Sure, your underarm deodorant protects you. Under your arms. But what about an even more serious odor problem—internal feminine odor? For that you need Norforms, the second deodorant! It’s every woman’s worry. Germs inside you every day cause internal odor—an odor different from the one on the outer vaginal area. So even regular bathing or feminine sprays won’t solve the problem. They can’t get inside to give protection where this problem starts.
Today’s woman recognizes that vaginal odor can be a problem any day of the month. But it’s a problem you can banish with Bidette. Instantly, easily. For complete, full month feminine assurance, keep Bidette handy and deal with a woman’s problem like a woman. Discreetly.
Five years ago most women would have been too embarrassed to read this page. This is about a product that would have made your grandmother faint and your mother blush. All it should do to you is make you happy. Very happy. Because now that “The Pill” has freed you from worry, “The Spray” will help make all that freedom worthwhile. “The Spray” is called Feminique. The name is feminine, which is precisely what this product will make you. Feminine in every sense of the word. From now on, when you bathe, don’t neglect the most important part of you. And don’t risk using your harsh underarm deodorant or your strong perfume on that most important part of you either.
What does douching with Demure have to do with your husband? A lot. Every husband wants his wife to be feminine. And Demure Liquid Douche lets you discover how completely feminine you can be. Demure deodorizes so thoroughly, so pleasantly, you know you’re the woman your husband wants you to be. Feminine…in every sense of the word.
Unfortunately, the trickiest deodorant problem a girl has ISN’T under her pretty little arms. That was solved long ago. The real problem, as you very well know, is how to keep the most girl part of you—the vaginal area—fresh and free of worry-making odors. Now, finally, there is a new way. It’s called Pristeen. Pristeen is a brand-new vaginal spray deodorant that’s been especially developed to cope with the problem. It works externally, because that’s where the trouble starts. Tension and pressure can cause it. So can getting all hot and perspire-y. So can your own natural body functions. No matter. Whatever starts those troublesome vaginal odors, Pristeen stops them. Pristeen is very nice to use. It feels light and dry. (Your hands never touch it, or you.) And it has a sort of pink chiffon smell that blends in with you and never competes with your perfume or anything like that. Why take chances? Starting today, make Pristeen as much a part of your daily life as your bath or shower. It’s just as essential to your cleanliness. And to your peace of mind about being a girl. An attractive, nice-to-be-with girl.
Enough, I can’t bear to type the word “problem” or “trouble” one more time. Ladies of 2010, did you know you had such problems? And that you could solve them easily, without “touching you?” I love that euphemism—was everyone in 1970 just terrified of vaginas? When did the speculum-wielding mirror-looking wave of feminism take root? Of course all such “hygiene” products would soon be discredited by medical professionals as completely unnecessary for most women and even harmful if used excessively. Today the U.S. Department of Health warns against most feminine hygiene products as interfering with the vagina’s normal self-cleaning and eliminating the natural bacterial culture of the vagina that helps to prevent infections.
Apparently douching was a uniquely American phenomenon, and is still used by small numbers of American women. At the risk of extreme TMI, I’ve never known any woman who douched and they certainly did not suffer from any “troublesome” odors that prevented them from being “nice-to-be-with girls.” As I looked at these insane ads, I was surprised there was never a spray for male hygiene in the 1970s. When I tried to research this through Google, I came across a current product for men called NodorO. The copy sounds like it was written in 1970:
“Why is it that no matter how much time and effort I put into washing my penis in the shower, I still get that awful whiff of a rancid smell throughout the day, or even right after a shower?” Let's be honest, unpleasant smells are a turn off for anyone, and the last thing you want is for a fishy smell to be coming from your own penis. Don’t worry, you are not alone! NodorO removes and prevents male genital odors. Be happier. Be more confident. Smell FRESH, smell CLEAN, smell PERFECT. Shipped and billed ANONYMOUSLY for your privacy.
Yikes. Turnabout is fair play, I guess.