Our midwife shares her pros and cons to help you decide if you want to check this out!
Every once in a while, a product takes the internet by storm. Sometimes it's a ridiculously but amazingly huge water bottle. Or maybe it's those leggings—you know, THOSE leggings. Well this week, it's vulvar wash. Yep, wash made specifically for vulvas (the outer parts of genital anatomy on women and nonbinary people with vaginas).
You can see the original Tweet from @EatingFab here:
I bought this strictly because reading the back label had me hollering in the aisle.
This is branding ! pic.twitter.com/aRGV0utGNQ
— Christopher Stewart (@EatingFab) March 27, 2021
Since we at Motherly can't resist new trends, and I am a midwife, I decided to investigate. Here's what I think:
First, a note of caution: If are having concerning symptoms like itching, discolored or foul-smelling discharge, burning, pain or anything else, check in with your health care provider before seeing if this product (or anything similar) works. You could have an infection or other issue that will get worse without proper treatment. Once you've got the green light...
1. The vagina and vulva have long been stigmatized, so I am all for anything that works to fight that. If this product makes people with vaginas feel empowered and confident, then by all means!
2. People swear by these products. The wash gets stellar reviews, with people saying it's "A holy grail feminine care item" and that it "really works!"
3. The packaging is funny—I mean really funny. Sara Goldstein, Motherly's Commerce Editor, is a fan as well. She said, "As a lover of words, particularly hilarious ones, few things bring me more joy than sassy copy. Given that, the second I picked up Goodwipes, they became one of my favorite brands, ever. I mean, 'this ain't your grandma's douche'? COME ON."
But that's both a pro and a con for me. So, I'll use this as my segway into the things that I'm a little meh on for this product.
1. Back to the funny copy on the packaging—like I said, this one is mixed for me. I don't love using slang words for genitals—and this packaging has a ton of them: "bajingo" (this was new to me), "hoo ha town" and "little v" to name a few. Listen I get it. They are trying to be funny. And many people are not super comfortable with proper-anatomical words like vagina and vulva, so this might be appealing.
But that discomfort is an issue—not with individuals, more with our society at large. Vaginas and vulvas are body parts just like noses and arms. Having all these cutesy or funny names perpetuates our society's discomfort with them, rather than making them just a normal part of life. We need to stop making people with vaginas feel guilty about their vaginas, and I believe learning how to say the VAGINA is a big part of the process.
While we're at it, it's really important that kids learn the right words for their parts; this is awful to think about, I know, but experts who work with children who have experienced sexual violence or molestation note that teaching kids the correct anatomical words can be helpful should there be an incident of inappropriate touching. In addition, knowing the right words can make kids more confident about their bodies in general.
2. Vulvas are not dirty like the packaging implies. It states that while vaginas are "magical self-cleaning machines" (accurate), vulvas, the outer parts are "a whole other thang." They're not.
Yes, there are specific ways we should take care of vulvas and this includes using gentle products. But the implication that vulvas are dirty just needs to end.
You can read more about empowering ways to take care of vaginas here.
Ultimately you should absolutely do what you feel is best when it comes to vaginal and vulvar wellness—I just wish the media and brands would stop making people with vaginas and vulvas feel bad about their vaginas and vulvas.
(See, when you read 'vaginas and vulvas' enough times it's already a little less weird!)
If you want to check the Goodwash brand out yourself, here are the links!
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.