Moral of the story is that everyone should wash their asses and mind their own business.
I am rolling my eyes at the elders right now posting on their lil Facebook accounts groaning at this new popular song that involves the word “pepeta” or Malagasy for vagina. The song title itself mustn’t be named but is apparently too dirty to say out loud lol. The whole outrage made me so curious about what the fuss was about that I had to ask my parents to graciously send me the video link because it was too elusive on social media since no one would name the damn song. When did our body parts become so taboo to say out loud? Ummm since forever.
The song ain’t half bad. Catchy lyrics and the Afrobeat is pretty decent although a bit boring. I think this is an exercise on how to go viral on the internet, whether for fame or infamy. I give major props to singer Nashan though for breaking through as a new artist to pave her way in a male dominated industry that also sexualizes women and honestly gets away with more crap than female artists.
I wish sex education was more comprehensively taught in schools better but no, your vagina is not supposed to smell like flowers. The fact that women have been brainwashed to believe that the vagina has to have a certain smell is so patriarchal meanwhile pays no attention to reproductive health reducing to just having pretty and good smelling parts. Gynecologists are now coming forward in droves to dispel this myth and remind people with vaginas that the vagina is a self cleaning organ and should not be moisturized, douched, or use heavily perfumed products to clean.
Also, I am grossed out by the blatant misogyny and annoyed at the body shaming of genitals. Every part of a woman's anatomy is already so scrutinized and put under the microscope and these messages are so problematic and so unnecessary.
Here's what you need to know about cleaning your vagina and vulva from the Independent:
1) Just water is enough but certain products are ok: aka in most cases, your vulva is best cleaned with just water – no soap necessary.
2) Clean the area gently: When cleaning the vulva, it is advisable to clean it gently every day as over-cleaning can aggravate vulval symptoms. As will all genital-adjacent activities (namely wiping after going to the bathroom, and any sexual contact): you should clean the area front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the vagina and ureter, as that can cause infection.
3) Monitor the area for changes; As with all health, it is important to keep tabs on your wellbeing and make note of any signs – be it smells, irritations, or pains – that may suggest a problem.
4) Avoid using a washcloth
5) Don’t use vaginal deodorants or scented wipes. The NHS also advises against scented wipes and deodorants which can disrupt the vagina’s natural bacteria which is what keeps it clean and healthy. “Vaginal deodorants are trash,” says Dr Gunter. “Think of them as cigarettes for the vagina, but with destructive messaging! “They are untested, likely harmful, have predatory messaging, and are not needed.”
6) Avoid vaginal douches. A douche is used to flush water up into the vagina to clear out secretions. The NHS says that similarly to deodorants and wipes, using a douche can disrupt the normal vaginal bacteria. Independent
Madagascar is in the middle of a water and electricity crisis, a large percentage of citizens don’t even have direct access to water in their own homes, and are just recovering from a devastating cyclone and here we are policing women's bodies? Maybe we should be focusing on other more important things like the impending cyclone and other social issues than faking outrage at an expletive song, shall we?
I love and hate that there is a new thing to be outraged by on the Malagasy news cycle everyday and this one gives a little comedic relief if it weren’t for the religious prudes so appalled at the sight of “pepeta”. What exactly are people even really mad about here? Is the song targeting a certain class/demographic of people or is Nashan singing that all women should wash their vaginas better? Also what's wrong with the word pepeta? It's so interesting how polarizing this debate is.
As much as Malagasy bad words make us both laugh and cringe to say out loud such as fory (derogatory for anus/vagina) and masoso pory (a realllllly bad word), it makes me wonder why it's more acceptable to use the French counterparts for words than in Malagasy. The French language has enmeshed itself into the Malagasy language and many words are substituted out for Malagasy ones when Malagasy doesn't provide the necessary depth to describe certain things.
Malagasy meme creator @bloumorof on Instagram perfectly captures the contrast between the 2 languages.
Why is it that in a "post-colonial" Madagascar, our own language has become so pejorative where normal everyday words have become so negative and almost unusable? I love that language is fluid and can constantly evolve but I think there is something to be examined here. Is it a question of societal respect that we refrain from using cuss words like masoso pory in everyday language and only to be reserved to mutter in thought/secret, or is it just some kind of unspoken understanding that we all just agree that these words have a negative connotation? I think both French and Malagasy are such beautiful languages and I think this requires further discussion but we can begin with placing equal level of importance, positive and negative connotations for both languages.
All in all, I am pro-pepeta and am glad that this is opening up conversation around taboo subjects such as vaginal hygiene and getting over the shame that is attached to human anatomy. I think once we stop giving a f*ck about what is going on in peoples' underpants, we can actually use that energy to do positive social education such as what Nashan may have intended to do in her music video even if it failed in churning out a positive uplifting message. The message was there behind the catchy beat and shocking lyrics but we hope this isn't the end of this conversation.
I will end this on a serious note from one of my favorite Vine videos. RIP