Last week, a new viral challenge swept across the Internet, making grown women everywhere laugh about its absurdity. The so-called #PantyChallenge required women to snap a photo of their clean underwear to prove their vaginas don’t produce any of that pesky, icky discharge! Super cute and fun, right?
Um, no. This is so laughably ludicrous that I’m actually concerned anyone believed it was real or gave it any validation.
Luckily, women did not flock to social media to boast about their dry, “clean” vaginas. Instead, it sparked a conversation and raised awareness of the horrible misconception that discharge is not okay. This challenge concerns me, however, because while grown women know what’s up, young girls may become confused about their bodies and worried something may be wrong with their vaginas.
Vaginal discharge is normal and healthy. Vaginal discharge is normal and healthy. Vaginal discharge is normal and healthy.
This — ehhhmm — “challenge” is internalized misogyny at its finest and just one more reason for young girls to feel ashamed of their bodies. Girls, your panties are supposed to have those white marks in them. In fact, if your vagina really is dry all day every day, then you need to go see your gynecologist ASAP, because vaginal dryness can be a symptom of other issues, such as chronic anxiety or Sjogren's syndrome.
Daily vaginal discharge is a perfectly normal bodily function. Our vaginas clean themselves, and that is why we have discharge. It's also a great indication of where we are in our cycles and can help us determine if something is off so we can head to our OBGYN for a check up. Discharge is a good thing! We don’t need to be washing with fancy soaps or douching. We don’t need to be constantly hiding the things that make us women. These are our bodies, and when we are healthy, they function the way they are supposed to.
Believe it or not, this challenge was started by one woman's ignorant Facebook post, in which she brags that her vagina is SO healthy that she never gets “crusty” panties. Since the witty women of Twitter are so wonderfully outspoken, many took the opportunity to shed some light on the matter.
Women and young girls have it hard enough as it is with major corporations constantly telling us how we need to "fix" our bodies and our skin and change our hair. What we absolutely cannot change is how our bodies function naturally. The shame associated with women’s bodily functions like discharge, odor, and menstruation only leads to silence, leaving young women in the dark with unanswered questions, anxiety, and insecurity.
Educate yourselves. Educate others and speak up when you hear false information being spread. And if you STILL think that having a dry vagina is cool or sexy, then please do women everywhere a favor and don’t open your mouth to speak words ever again.