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.
Life Hacks: 7 simple tech solutions
Life Hacks: 7 simple tech solutions
1/7 CHARGER HOLDALL
Keep your wires and phone out of the way with a clean plastic bottle. Remove the upper third of your chosen bottle (it should be big enough to house your phone and the charger wire), but keep the back of the bottle intact. Next, cut a hole in the back big enough to allow your charger plug to fit through. You now have a hanging plastic pouch for your phone.
2/7 CABLE PROTECTOR
Nothing lasts forever, least of all a mobile phone charger. One common problem is when the wire frays, rendering it useless except as a component in a flux capacitor – and I don’t see Doc Brown anywhere, do you? To preserve your charger, wrap the spring from a ballpoint pen around the wire where it meets the connector. It strengthens the wire and makes it last longer.
3/7 PHONE LANTERN
Impress your fellow night owls by putting a water bottle on top of your phone to create a makeshift lantern. The light from the screen will turn the water bottle into a light. Remember to turn off the lock on your phone to keep the light continuous and make sure that the bottle has water in it for optimum refraction.
4/7 LOO ROLL SPEAKER
Too cheap to buy speakers for your phone? Don’t worry: a loo-roll tube works just as well. All right, that’s a bit of a stretch. But it does amplify the sound pretty well. Cut a slot big enough to fit your phone and stop the roll from rolling away by sticking some drawing pins into the tube to act as feet. Not only have you amplified the sound, but you’ve also made a docking station.
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
6/7 CABLE ORGANISER
“More cables?!” you cry. Well, they are an integral part of life, so here’s a wire-related hack. Find yourself a sturdy box and begin collecting spent loo rolls (enough to fill the box when standing them up vertically). When your collection is complete, fold your wires so that they fit snugly into the toilet rolls and place them in the box. You’re on a roll!
7/7 BONUS USB CHARGING POINT
Why do foreign countries insist on using oddly shaped plugs and sockets? Well, no matter – here’s a hack to help gadget-loving holidaymakers. If you’re abroad and have forgotten the plug adapters, it’s handy to know that most TVs nowadays have a USB port in the back, which you can use to charge your electrical devices. Unless you’ve gone camping.