So I’ve been musing on the FemFresh Facebook debacle of last week. FemFresh now have (another!) facebook page up in which they deny all knowledge of the earlier two pages, and claim that the earlier ones were set up by interlopers. Fine and wevs, although the ‘fake’ pages were terribly convincing.
But while those pages were up, women came to point out that for the majority of us, plain water is sufficient, that scented products can actually give you vaginitis, and that calling your vulva your froo froo is ridiculously infantilising.
Which was all jolly funny, particularly when the “FemFresh” account managers agreed that yes actually, water is best, but that their product was a good alternative to those who wanted something else – agreeing that it was a product which is a non-essential item being marketed as an essential one. (Obviously these people may not actually be involved with FemFresh.)
However, it took mere hours for others to join in with comments like “Those disagreeing are smelly-fannied feminists… stop being so Mother Earth!” “U stinky hos u don’t wash!” There were plenty of others, the consensus being that anybody who didn’t use the product was a) hairy, b) smelly, c) sexually unattractive, d) a ho, and e) unclean.
It was a demonstration of the potential power of advertising. Even assuming the marketing was fake, this was on a page where the ‘producers’ had agreed that their product was mostly useless – and yet here were groups of people agreeing that anybody who didn’t use it was smelly.
Forty years ago, the only women who shaved their pubic regions were porn actresses. Now it’s not whether you shave, but how far you go: Brazilian or Hollywood? Or just a bikini line? Women who choose not to remove body hair come in for some significant abuse for it.
The odd unshaven leg might seem trivial in the greater scheme of things, and it goes without saying that free choice is a great thing. But choice isn’t all that free if your ‘choice’ not to join in with something is greeted with peer or societal pressure telling you that this makes you smelly, ugly, and unclean. It’s the same spectrum of pressure which governs women’s bodies from the minutiae of a tweezed eyebrow to the monstrosity of FGM.