Vaginas don't need to smell like peaches, and they certainly don't need science to fix them

A new supplement is a slippery slope to a generation of wipe-clean humans devoid of all the flaws and imperfections that make us real

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The Independent Online

A pair of biotech startup founders have taken it upon themselves to alter the way vaginas smell, announcing plans this week for a probiotic supplement that lets women "biohack" their genitals to smell like peaches.

The men claim their supplement has certain practical benefits, like reducing the risk of yeast infections, which in theory seem fair enough, but everything else about their invention sounds pretty grotesque.

Chiefly, why do vaginas need fixing? It is the inherent naturalness of genitals that make them sexually attractive, and removing scent from sex would be like removing the sweat. While the scientists behind it, Austen Heinz and Gilad Gome, don't mention sex, it is clearly implied, causing a new and particularly ridiculous body image standard to hover into view. It's also worth noting that this is a women-only experiment: I don't see them trying to make penises smell like apple blossom, or semen taste like summer skies.

They claim to have chosen feminine odour as the target of the supplement because "It's a better idea than trying to hack the gut microbiome because it's less complicated and more stable, it only has one interference per month," and yes, they really did refer to a period as an "interference".

I'd like to believe that the health benefits are their main selling point, but the name, 'Sweet Peach Probiotics' suggests otherwise.

Nevertheless, Heinz and Gome, who I imagine as the protagonists in a supernatural comedy where they walk around LA in sunglasses snapping their fingers and going "pow!" as a female passer-by's breasts spontaneously double in size, claim that changing the smell of your vagina represents nothing less than "personal empowerment".

"All your smells are not human, they're produced by the creatures that live on you," they claim, except that having bacteria live on you is fundamentally a human experience and as much a part of what we are as our flesh and bones.

The science behind this re-coding has already unsettled many (Kickstarter banned the pair's last synthetic biology project), and it's a slippery slope to a generation of wipe-clean humans devoid of all the flaws and imperfections that make us real.