Leave your Britney alone?

Just a little bit of fun for a Friday afternoon: Every year, the Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.” There are costumes and paper airplanes, a good time is had by all, and by the end of them, you realize suddenly that you learned something.

The 24/7 Lectures are the part of the awards ceremony when the audience is addressed, very briefly, by several of “the world’s top thinkers.” This year’s final 24/7 speaker was Dr. Kate Clancy, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois who spoke on the subject of vaginal pH, first comprehensively in 24 seconds and then simply in seven words.

Leave your acidic vagina alone–don’t douche.

Dr. Clancy does explore the subject in more depth on her blog. And you can watch all of the 24/7 lectures or even the whole damn ceremony online. Totally worth it, if you have a couple of hours.

Update: Shoot darn. Forgot the transcript. It’s below the jump. Also updated the time stamp on the video. Yay, freshly functional post!


EMCEE. The final 24/7 Lecture will be delivered by Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, author of the blog Context and Variation, Kate Clancy. [crowd cheers] Her topic: Vaginal pH. [more cheers] First, a complete technical summary in 24 words. On your mark, get set… Go.

CLANCY. The pH of a healthy pre-menopausal vagina is 3.8 to 4.5. This means that your vadge is more acidic than skin, water, and semen, which is 7.2 to 7.8. The vagina will even produce more acid in the presence of semen in order to regular pH. When vaginal pH is more basic, you are susceptible to bacterial infections. Douching makes it more basic and flushes out your normal vaginal flora more extensively and forcefully than ejaculate. Then the fragrance irritates vaginal tissue. So those ads that tell you to “Hail to the V” with their weird talking hand vaginas? [whistle signaling time] If you really want to “Hail to the V,” let your vadge be!

[crowd cheers wildly, obviously in agreement with the real truth about healthy vaginal maintenance]

EMCEE. And now, a clear summary that anyone can understand in seven words. On your mark, get set… Go.

CLANCY. Leave your acidic vagina alone–don’t douche.

[crowd cheers]

CLANCY. I have an alternative seven-word description. Would you like to hear it?

[crowd laughs and cheers. Excellent crowd tonight]

EMCEE. Um, as long as there’s no demonstration.

CLANCY. Vaginas should smell like vaginas, not flowers.

[wild cheers and laughter]

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6 Responses to Leave your Britney alone?

  1. Usually Anon says:

    The 24/7 lectures begin at 55:10

  2. llama says:

    I had to look up what a “Britney” was.

  3. Nancy Green says:

    science meets common sense.

  4. Thanks for the link love! The Igs were invented, produced, and MC’ed by my husband.

    The most awesome Jaclyn Friedman was our Green Room host this year, too. Science, feminism, and fun FTW!

  5. KateClancy says:

    Hey, thanks for the nod! Glad you liked my talk. I’m always happy to bring science and feminism together!

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