Hot weather is finally here, which means it's time to prepare some essentials for summer.
Like your car. Or your wardrobe. Or, according to Teen Vogue, your vagina.
So, are we supposed to swap out its winter tires, buy it some strappy sandals, or what?
Teen Vogue, which is marketed to young readers, has been widely criticized for its article about "how to keep your vagina healthy all summer." The article, which uses phrases like "vaginal panic attack," provides what some are calling "questionable" tips from OB-GYNs for optimal vaginal health in any summer scenario, such as wearing wet bathing suits, camping, sunburn, sand, sex, workouts, and travel.
"Keep your vag healthy, even at the beach," the article promised.
"While you might think there's little difference in the TLC she gets during the other seasons, OB-GYNs note that in the summer it's especially important to pay attention to any symptoms, changes, and funkiness you notice south of the border. The unique elements of summer — water, sunshine, sand, sweat — can be tricky to navigate," the article noted.
Although the piece was originally published in 2017, the magazine promoted it on Twitter last week with the tease "How To Get Your Best Summer Vagina Ever," and the internet had a field day.
Already? My spring one still works fine.— (((Katha Pollitt))) (@KathaPollitt) May 30, 2018
Wait, I need a summer vagina now? I didn't know I was supposed to be switching them out with the seasons. I just can't keep up with fashion.— Wannabe Glam Rocker (@veleda_k) May 30, 2018
Oh, good. I've been feeling really stuck in Spring Vagina mode.— Clark Gregg (@clarkgregg) May 30, 2018
Good to know: White vaginas are only worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day.— Jane (@gcbiggles) May 30, 2018
Damn, I haven't taken down my vagina's Christmas lights yet...— YRAmerSoFrknDumb (@YRAmersSoDumb) May 31, 2018
While we all might have had a good chuckle over the concept of a summer vagina (should we be laying down sod?), the best response came from Canadian OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Gunter, who's known for debunking medical stories on the internet.
Her gripe isn't just with the title and the concept of a "summer vagina," but that "most of the article is spectacularly wrong," Gunter wrote in a response on her popular blog.
More from HuffPost Canada:
Some of the passages in the Teen Vogue article that Gunter took particular issue with were that "the heat of the summer can make your vagina drier" (no, it can't, Gunter says), that "sitting in a wet bathing suit can upset the pH balance of the vagina" (again, no), and to "consider bringing vaginal hygiene wipes in your backpack" while hiking or camping.
"(Hyperventilates). DO NOT CLEAN THE INSIDE OF YOUR VAGINA WITH A WIPE. THIS IS QUITE LITERALLY ONE OF THE WORST THINGS YOU CAN DO. TEEN VOGUE, YOU ARE NOT HELPING ANYONE HERE. THIS ALSO PROMOTES THE IDEA THAT A VAGINA NEEDS CLEANING. IT DOES NOT. YES, I AM YELLING," Gunter wrote.
There's no such thing as "vaginal panic attack." Your body is just fine in a wet swimsuit and summer heat. More health tips from OB/GYN @DrJenGunter here: https://t.co/9o7NgQ5vi4 pic.twitter.com/q9n5nfZIxi— Planned Parenthood (@PPSWMO) June 3, 2018
This kind of misinformation, especially targeted at young girls, is "painful," Gunter wrote.
"This is the kind of damaging information that leads women to think their normal discharge is excessive. This is the kind of information I undo every day in the clinic," she said.
"... a gynecologist promoting wipes reinforces the destructive and false idea that the vulva and vagina are dirty."
This article is full of errors. Either 1 expert doesn't know the difference between the vulva and vagina and/or she doesn't understand vaginal physiology.— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) May 31, 2018
And your summer vagina is the same as your winter, spring and fall vagina. https://t.co/tQqUYzr89A
"Given how much Teen Vogue butchered Summer Vagina I can hardly wait to hear how we should prep them for fall. Hopefully, some pumpkin spice wipes and advice on how to extract dry leaves from the vagina will help us all keep those finicky girls in check so every woman can enjoy her Best Autumnal Vagina Ever," Gunter wrote.
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