It's an inevitable consequence of the passage of time: a new season starts, and with it comes more bad advice about vaginas.
Barely a week into fall, the British newspaper The Mirror, which bills itself as "the intelligent tabloid (#madeuthink)" published an article titled "Cold weather causes 'winter vagina', midwife warns — and it could affect your sex life."
The piece quotes a midwife who warns that during the winter, when the air is drier, "vaginas can enter 'drought mode.'" She goes on to recommend women self-medicate with lubricant or "vaginal moisturizer," as well as eat green vegetables and buy a humidifier.
The piece ends with one telling sentence: Britain's national health service maintains that vaginal dryness is caused by a drop in estrogen levels, "so not all experts agree that the weather outside has an affect on vaginas."
In other words: there's no proof any of this is actually real.
Twitter, predictably and comfortingly, rolled its eyes at the "news."
I never see any articles about dry winter bollocks. Like why does it always have to be vaginas, first the is your vagina ready for summer post? Now this 🙄🤔 https://t.co/xuCBzfRtKE— Rinica (@rinicawrites) October 1, 2018
Winter Vagina is the name of the new Bond Girl https://t.co/Fvt5v5HZg9— Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) October 1, 2018
Wasn't 'Winter Vagina' a Coldplay B side single? https://t.co/zUGvF1ypjp— Disappointed Optimist (@rbp77) September 30, 2018
But the real winter vagina takedown, by the hero we may not deserve but almost certainly need, happened on Monday, and the results did not disappoint.
For those of you who have not yet been acquainted with Dr. Jen Gunter: She's a Canadian gynecologist who now lives in the U.S., and who has a passion for debunking bad science — especially when it's about women's health. She's handily taken down abortion misconceptions and criticism of the HPV vaccine, and has consistently and effectively debunked many of the suggestions of the queen of bad vagina advice, Gwyneth Paltrow.
You might remember that earlier this year, a 2017 Teen Vogue article about "summer vagina" re-surfaced, much to the amusement of the internet. In the "summer vagina" takedown she published in June, Gunter provided a detailed and scientific (but also hilarious) response, complete with an explanation of internal temperature and charts about how vaginal pH functions.
This time, though, she took a different approach, opting to generally take The Mirror's "warning" for what it is: a joke.
This is bullshit.— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) September 30, 2018
Also, a midwife who thinks a vagina enters a "drought" season in the winter has some serious knowledge gaps. My 15 yr old boys laughed at this. https://t.co/TtEyhUcMrH
You'll definitely learn something from reading Gunter's piece, but more than anything, you'll enjoy the utter absurdity of her description of "snow swirling through your pubic hair, frosting your labia, chilling your vestibule, silencing your clitoris." There's only so many times she can say, "this advice is ridiculous" and "stop listening to people who consistently and unnecessarily tell you there's something wrong with your vagina."
"Winter vagina is a thing. Take it from me. I'm from Manitoba. Winter vagina is so bad that no one can possibly have sex December though March," she writes, handily including a link to an article about how the most common birth month is in September — a month math geniuses may have noted comes nine months after January. "You've seen a tongue on flag pole in winter?" Gunter goes on. "Right. Like that, only worse. Try ripping that shit apart without anesthesia. Talk about roughing it in the bush."
Her advice generally boils down to common sense and checking sources. People without training who tell you what to do with your vagina aren't worth listening to, she says. An industry that depends on women hating their anatomy is probably just making stuff up.
And, once again: "Winter vagina" is simply not a thing.
"We Canadian girls just really know how to take care of our snow forts," she says by way of an ending. "That's why our national animal is the beaver."
Aaaaaaaand that's why we need more snarky Canuck gynecologists in the world.
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