Thursday, April 01, 2010

Network television won't broadcast this post, I'm sure.

Tampons are meant for a woman's vagina.

Oh, sorry, did I startle you there? Gentlemen, are you ok? I didn't create a panic, did I?

It just seems to me that someone ought to come out and say it. The sanitary product industry is
getting a lot of attention over an ad that was brazen enough to mutter the word "vagina." The ad was rejected and some networks further denied it after vagina was substituted with "down there."
Down there? Even THAT wasn't ok? I'm sorry, are we in 6th grade? Are we going to giggle our way through sex ed during 4th period? Pass notes to each other saying we're "sooo sure that Mrs. So-and-So is qualified to teach us about's not like SHE has sex!! LOL"? We're adults; this is hardly acceptable behavior.
It's no wonder I wouldn't buy tampons on my own until late high school. Society doesn't want us to actually talk about it. It's supposed to be our dirty little secret. We can bond over having some chocolate because of the dreaded PMS...we can commiserate when we have cramps. We can even have a public bitchfest when the men in our lives blame everything on our "time of the month." But heaven forbid we engage in an open dialogue.
For years, I've noticed something about print ads for pads and tampons: they're embarrassing. They are full of cutesy metaphors. This overnight pad is in the shape of an umbrella because it will protect you from leaks! It's a recliner because boy, are they comfortable! Then there are the forced attempts at female bonding--like those new ones about "tricking Mother Nature," as if your period is some crafty sorceress out to ruin your beach date. I recall a particularly appalling tampon ad while I was in college. A picture of a tampon surrounded by what looked like paper doll clothes--for your tampon. I believe the point was that the advertised brand of tampons were not fancy and dressed up like other brands--and if you were looking for such qualities, you could go ahead and have craft time with your magazine! One night (which may or may not have involved drinking) I actually went ahead and cut the little dresses and accessories out. A friend stated that I was perhaps the first person to do so, going as far as fitting them to a tampon. It was wholly creepy.
Making me nostalgic for my childhood is hardly a way to sell tampons. It's not like I need much convincing to buy them, or anything.
And television ads...oh my. As if my period has anything to do with riding horses. The TV spot that was discouraged from using anatomical terms was actually all about the embarrassing nature of these ads. Kotex ended up with this spot. It's awesome.

Given that society seems to be rather period-shy, I figure that maybe you just don't know much about it. Maybe you're afraid to ask. So, here we go...

Tampons go in a woman's vagina. They are for her period. Vagina is not a dirty word. (It is also only part of what is "down there" and thus is not what Jennifer Love Hewitt had "vagazzled" ohmygod do not get me started on THAT. JLH needs to stop putting on tampon puppet shows or whatever she's doing and get informed. But that is another blog post for another day.)

Sorry if that upset you, kids.

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