Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Advertising for "That Time of the Month"

Recently, the Women’s Center received a large shipment of free pads and tampons to add to our supplies for the year, which is awesome, except for a few things: first, we received fourteen giant boxes worth of free products (not a problem so much as an inconvenience – it requires a lot of storage space!) and second, the packaging was… weird.

I’m sure that everyone has seen countless insane “feminine hygiene” commercials, in which there is blue (always, always blue) liquid poured on pads and flips done by freakishly happy women supposedly on their periods. They’re everywhere, because we are, as a country, very clearly terrified of “the crimson wave,” as Cher Horowitz referred to it. So it probably shouldn’t have surprised me that the packaging of the products we received followed this pattern of painting periods as this experience that will be absolutely excruciating and embarrassing and awful unless one uses some product that comes in a cute box and makes very little reference to the product’s actual function.

Within each of the fourteen larger boxes sent to the WC, there were tons of smaller boxes. Each box’s front “cover” looked like a magazine, and on the inside cover, there was a quiz that was supposed to indicate which product you should use. But the questions had absolutely nothing to do with feminine hygiene – they were about your favorite shade of eye shadow, or what kind of shoes you would wear on a first date. Answer mostly a’s or b’s, you should use product number one; answer mostly c’s or d’s, use product two.

I fail to see how pads and tampons are in any way related to makeup preferences, but more than that, I fail to see why pads and tampons have to be shrouded in such nonsense. Women’s bodies are framed as offensive in so many ways, and I’m fed up. About half of the population is female, meaning that about half of the population will at some point in life deal with periods. Everyone needs to just get over it.

I think the kicker on these samples, though, was that the “magazine” bore the title Get Real. I’m sorry, but no. If you Google the campaign, you’ll find that the website for this line of products is all about honesty and shamelessness surrounding the use of pads and tampons, but clearly the message from the samples is just the opposite. This was not about the best product for your needs, it was about framing the product as something else so that people would be less embarrassed (at least, I think that’s what they were going for, anyway) by something that shouldn’t even be embarrassing in the first place.

Can we just go about our business without anyone trying to package it in some shiny, ludicrous box that has absolutely no effect on the product itself? Please?

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