What the woman who ate yoghurt made from her own vagina has to say

Dina Rickman@dinarickman
Wednesday 11 February 2015 12:00
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This is a stock image of homemade yoghurt

When PhD student Cecilia Westbrook found out there was an entire cookbook of recipes based on sperm and nothing similar about vaginal secretions, she didn't just get angry - she decided to do something about it.

That something was making two batches of yoghurt out of her own "jazz juice", with nothing more than a wooden spoon, a pan and her own ingenuity (for 'ingenuity' read 'vaginal flora').

The process was chronicled by Janet Jay on Vice, who reported Westbrook ate the first batch, which tasted like "Indian yoghurt", with blueberries while the second batch tasted like "slightly-spoiled milk". In her piece Jay also spoke to scientists and America's Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which advised against the process on the basis it is risky and could potentially spread disease.

After Jay's story broke it generated a predictable backlash, with some commentators accusing Westbrook of being mentally ill and others vowing never to eat yoghurt again.

For her part, Westbrook has no plans to culture any more vagina yoghurt and told Jezebel she believes much of the criticism is "gendered": "The tenor of comments here have just been 'who would even do that' and 'why' and 'this is terrible' and 'that's just gross." And it's kind of hard not to feel like that's a little gendered."

People just seem really grossed out by the fact that stuff lives in there. But it's natural and part of your health. It seems weird to be grossed out about it. It's weird we don't know much more about vaginal flora than we do considering how important it is.

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