My Pussy Tastes Like Pussy

The internet can be a pretty grim place to spend your time. Efforts to educate yourself and stay on top of current events inevitably lead to heart palpitations as you slowly digest the horror of the latest Trump/Brexit/climate change shitshow, and attempts to express your opinions online are often met with varying degrees of hostility (I was recently asked by some random bro if I wanted to “rationalise” my views on abortion after being vocally pro-choice on Instagram – pray tell, good sir, what exactly is it you find irrational about believing in a woman’s right to choose?).

But it’s not all existential dread and trolling. Some parts of the web manage to restore my faith in humanity, and one such part, in my humble opinion, is that inhabited by Jameela Jamil.

Jameela Jamil.jpg

Jamil – who describes herself as a “feminist in progress” – is a British model, actor, presenter, and activist, and she is absolutely fearless in the face of challenging the harmful narratives that surround us when it comes to body image, race, and gender. As a woman in Hollywood (that bastion of equality and diversity – oh no, wait…), she is unique in her willingness to call bullshit on the hetero-patriarchal-capitalist systems designed to prevent women from taking up space – both figuratively and literally. And she doesn’t pull her punches.

A vocal critic of toxic diet culture, she calls out both the companies responsible for peddling their so-called detox teas (laxatives) and flat tummy lollypops (unregulated appetite suppressants) to women online, and the celebrity influencers who exploit their privileged positions to make a killing on marketing deals. Real talk: if you’re leveraging your status to make money from women who have been socialised to buy into the misogynistic myth that their worth is tied to their youth, beauty, and sexual appeal to men (and let’s face it, that’s the vast majority of us), you’re a shitty person.

What’s more, her iWeigh campaign – born from her response to the now-infamous Kardashian meme that ranked the various billionairesses by their weight in kilos - has become a fully-fledged movement, where people of all gender identities share non-edited or airbrushed photos of themselves with captions describing what they are most grateful for and their proudest achievements.

Jameela Jamil is, without a doubt, the hero we all need right now.

But – and this is a big but – what’s any of this got to do with my pussy and the taste thereof?

A good question.

One of my favourite things about Jamil is her lower-than-low tolerance for the harmful bullshit we are regularly subjected to on social media, especially when it relates to women’s bodies. This bullshit-radar (if you will) is what alerted me to the existence of a product called ‘My Sweet V’; a supplement designed to – wait for it – “give your secretions a semi-sweet fruity taste and sensual smell”.

My Sweet V.jpg

For the low, low price of $29.95, your vagina will be transformed into a packet of Skittles! Mmmm! Taste the yeast infection! What’s more, your sexual desire and performance will be increased by the presence of cinnamon and wheatgrass…apparently.

With product messaging such as, “You should always taste better than the next chick!”, and, “If they’re not obsessed with tasting U maybe U should try out #MySweetV”, it’s abundantly clear that not only is My Sweet V attempting to cash in on women’s insecurities about their genitalia, it’s also pitting women against each other with the suggestion that the smell and taste of our cunts is the basis for competition.

While some might say that this is just a load of harmless nonsense – if people want to waste their money on secretion sweeteners then that’s their problem – I’d argue that perpetuating the notion that women’s sexual organs are somehow shameful and in need of enhancing simply to be fit for purpose is deeply misogynistic, and to do so for profit is to be complicit in upholding patriarchal capitalism.

Here’s a novel idea: how about we enjoy the fact that pussy smells and tastes like pussy? Your body is not a fucking pick-n-mix. And yes, while there are myriad reasons why your vulva (or penis, for that matter) might not taste truly delightful (dehydration, smoking, poor diet, inadequate hygiene, infection, etc.), none of this necessitates parting with your hard-earned cash for some capsules of what is essentially dehydrated fruit powder.

Products like My Sweet V that promote the notion that vaginas in their natural state are “gross” become just another stick for us to beat ourselves with - another avenue through which we can hate our own bodies. When we’re constantly bombarded with messaging that tells us that we are not skinny enough, that we are not pretty enough, that we are not appealing enough, we are being sold the narrative that these are the only attributes that give us worth, AND the means by which to achieve this worth. Don’t buy into it.

Believing that you are enough – knowing that you are enough – just as you are, is a radical act under patriarchal capitalism. The moment we reject  the idea that we can achieve true happiness if we only buy their pills, potions, and procedures is the moment that the industry built on exploiting our insecurities falls apart.

It’s easier said than done – I’ve just bought a bumper pack of golden collagen eye masks in the hopes of achieving the kind of youthful glow that nowadays only an Instagram filter can provide – but being aware of your own inconsistencies is an important first step in working through your internalised bullshit. These things take time.

We are all feminists in progress, after all.


Article by VERVE "She Said" Contributor Sarah Bradnum

Personal: @SarahBradnum

Podcaster: @HungleQueens

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