We've all seen those hilarious adverts from the 1950s for "intimate hygiene" products, and had a good old chuckle at the hilariously stilted language, the pictures and the ludicrously outdated view of gender relations and sex. Here's one:
For best results you have to read the text in the style of Harry Enfield's Mr. Cholmondeley-Warner. Now that's all very amusing, and one of the reasons that it's amusing is that we've moved on - after the various liberation and consciousness-raising movements of the 1960s and 1970s women are free to be confident and open about sexual matters, and not be spending hours hosing out their front bottoms with neat bleach for fear that hubby might catch a whiff of something a bit too biological and come over all faint. No, we're all open and groovy enough these days to know that a vagina smells like a vagina, and so much the better for that. If, on the other hand, yours smells like a dead badger in a herring and gorgonzola warehouse, you might want to get yourself checked out by a medical professional.
The change wasn't instant, of course - teen magazines were still pushing these products sufficiently hard in the early 1970s for Monty Python to deem it worth satirising in one of their comedy books:
But, come on, it's the 21st century now. Except it turns out we haven't come that far after all. Now I have clearly been living in an ivory tower of obliviousness to the latest developments in vagina-shaming, as it appears that even in the 21st century there are still people making it their business to make young girls terrorised and paranoid that their genitals are giving off some sort of toxic radiation that needs to be bleached and perfumed into submission.
Amusingly, Femfresh recently started a Facebook page, as lots of companies do, and stuck a load of the sort of teeth-grindingly twee and infantile language above on the banner, at which point the sisterhood rose magnificently as one and comment-bombed the page into submission, so much so that the page was eventually taken down, but not before this rather marvellous screen-shot had been captured.
If Femfresh isn't right up your alley, so to speak, why not try the pads advertised in this Malaysian commercial. Basically the message here is: your minge stinks of dead fish and durian, and these pads will make it smell of green tea instead. Which will be better, and not at all weird. Or, if you don't fancy that, how about a vagina mint?
Just in case us blokes feel left out, though, you can now get individually-wrapped pre-packaged cock wipes. You know, when you're with a proper classy bird, one whose fanny smells like PG Tips and Polos and that, wiping the old chap on the curtains just won't cut it. What you want is a dedicated penile hygiene maintenance solution for the 21st century, packed with made-up sciencey ingredients, at the bargain price of £1.99 for a box of eight. Or you could just have a shower, like normal people.
Next week: arse lemons.