I’m tired of being made to feel ashamed that I bleed. There. I said it. Why is menstruation dealt with as if it’s the grossest thing on the planet? Whether we put this shame on ourselves, or it’s forced upon us by society, I’m not sure. All I know is, having an adult conversation about the shedding of my uterine lining without someone grimacing, shifting uncomfortably, or giggling like a school kid isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But guess what? It’s a natural, healthy function of the female body. In fact, if you DON’T get your period, chances are you’re suffering a medical condition that’s definitely not cause for laughter. Women bleed. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Deal with it. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), that’s not the message of most tampon and maxi-pad advertisements. In fact, “feminine hygiene” products are the worst shame-inducers out there.
Their suggestions for dealing with periods and euphemisms for blood (because how could they actually say or show blood?!) are cornier than Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Companies tell us to “avoid messy spills and odors!” and their products are decked out with absurd features like wings, dry-weave, and “pearly” applicators. What, no optional sunroof? Their advanced technology and bonus size could make for good coffee filters, too, but it might give the garbage man a bad impression. And can I just say that “Always” is a totally inappropriate name for maxi pads? I suppose the more accurate name, “Some Of The Time” was rejected by a test group…
But Eve Ensler‘s shot at tampons in The Vagina Monologues might be the most accurate description of how most of us feel about these products: “It’s a dry wad of fucking cotton shoved up there. My vagina just looks at it and it goes into shock.”
Here’s some of the worst shame-inducing tampon and maxi pad adverts from recent history. See if you can spot the blood.