The vagina debate

Rhiannon Gilson, 18, is a beauty therapist who performs brazilians at Be Pampered in Gladstone. Since starting the job in November 2011, she estimates that she's seen hundreds of vaginas.
Rhiannon Gilson, 18, is a beauty therapist who performs brazilians at Be Pampered in Gladstone. Since starting the job in November 2011, she estimates that she's seen hundreds of vaginas. Tom Huntley

DOCTOR Anja Szabo has seen countless vaginas.

As a gynaecologist for many years, and an obstetrician for the past five, it's part and parcel.

>>See below for more vagina facts

She's even seen this reporter's private parts in her consult room at the Mater Hospital in Gladstone.

The doc finds it difficult to believe Carefree's newest television commercial could offend so many.

The feminine hygiene brand debuted the 30-second slot Sunday evening.

A gorgeous woman fills the screen and poses a question: 'How well do you know your body?'

Then she does the unthinkable. She talks about 'discharge'. And says the word 'vagina'.

Carefree's goal is to tackle taboos. The company explained its position in a press release first thing Monday morning:

"Vaginal discharge is normal - it is the female body's natural way to help keep the vagina clean and healthy.

"Carefree is addressing the issue respectfully by showing women of all ages - from puberty to menopause - that discharge is normal, and that it's okay to discuss it."

Dr Szabo agreed.

"I don't think it's inappropriate at all - it's just a word.

"It's a term for a part of your body. "There are so many words that shouldn't be used on television, like swear words.

"Vagina is certainly not one of them."


BEAUTY therapist Rhiannon Gilson, 18, was a bit prudish before she started work at Be Pampered.

But, since taking the job last November, Rhiannon estimates she's seen "hundreds" of vaginas.

It's not unusual for Rhiannon to perform seven brazilian waxes in a day.

The girls call these wax-heavy shifts "V-Days".

"You see one, you've seen them all," she said.

And there's no such thing as a standard vagina.

Rhiannon said they come in all shapes and sizes.

"Everyone's different.

"A lot of people ask, 'Am I normal?'"

Rhiannon has seen the Carefree ad on telly. Asked what she thought, she was frank.

"I didn't think anything of it - look where I work," she laughed.


Tracy Lee I personally see nothing wrong with the Carefree ad, maybe confronting for some. I mean we have been watching ads for years where they pour blue liquid on least now they are getting real! Oh and no one cared about all the erectile dysfunction ads on TV...ever!

Jenn Russell I don't care, it's what it is! Better than saying 'wee wee', 'doodle' etc lol

Sara Cumming I see nothing wrong with the ad! What I think is wrong is that there are probably now thousands of children asking their parents during dinner about vaginas and discharge... I'm very open with my kids so they didn't really notice but I feel for all the mums and dads that have half choked on their dinner!!!

Mel Gourley There is nothing offensive about that ad at all. I don't see that anyone should have a problem with the ad saying Vagina, it's the correct terminology.

Tanya Simon It is so silly that there is any talk about it at all! It is a part of a woman's anatomy, we've all got one and it happens and that is what the product is for!

Vanessa Katerina Hough I have seen worse ads than that!! Absolutely nothing wrong with it, what shall we say intend of vagina and discharge?? Should we replace it with "the thing between a woman's legs" and "leakage"?? Vagina and discharge are the right words why try to hide it and let our daughters grow up thinking that those words are too shameful to say??

Nicole Bowen I was completely disgusted, outraged and ashamed!! NOT.... HAHAHA it's cool. You can't hide the elephant in the room and I think it's appropriate, but I'm a mother and nothing shames after everyone seeing my vagina. A young girl maybe verging on menstruation might feel uncomfortable and I just hope that adolescent guys don't give girls a hard time about it.

Ros Den Hertog Silliness to make a fuss about natural body functions. What about the ad where the puppy sniffs bums!!? That is more offensive!

Paula Matthews I can't see anything wrong with this ad at all.

Deborah Campbell The idea of them giving a running commentary was to break through the taboo. For women to stop being ashamed of what their vaginas do.

Would people be offended if they were listening to an ad or Doctor Harry about dogs having eye discharge? No. Would people be offended if an ad for bandaid came on saying "are you bleeding from a wound in your leg? Put a band aid on!"...No...So the "offensive" bit comes solely from the word vagina and the fact that the discharge and bleeding comes from that one specific are. Doesn't matter about any other area on your body...It's only offensive if it comes from that one spot.

Lisa Newby I sure took notice when the word vagina was said! As women, we know what is happening with our bodies. We do not need it spelt out in front of our teenage sons. I think that it is totally unnecessary!



The vagina has many nicknames. Some of the cleaner ones include:

  • Fanny
  • Hoo-ha or Hoo-hoo
  • Vjay-jay
  • Privates
  • Box
  • Giney
  • Punani
  • Beaver
  • Taco
  • The Hairy Donut
  • Peach
  • Lady cave


Research has shown that:

  • 71% of women admit to experiencing discharge
  • 66% are bothered by it

-Millward Brown Link Testing 2012


After over 1000 votes, 86% of people participating in our online poll believe that the word vagina is not too offensive for television. What do you think?

Topics:  advertising vagina women

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