The Vagenda

No Gory with Tampax

The series of Tampax plus (geddit?) on telly – which feature Mother Nature personified as the form of a post-menopausal woman in green – have been running for some time now. The woman representing nature carries a red box, in turn representing the ‘gift’ of a period, to give to her unsuspecting ‘victim’. We women are after all the victims of the disease called menstruation given us by nature. Isn’t nature evil? 

I’m not going to sit here and bang on about the beauty of bleeding or anti-tampon planet-saving moon cups – because for many women, their period can indeed be inconvenient, and absolutely so when it arrives without warning – but I strongly object to the idea that nature is the enemy of women. Especially when it’s a multi-billion dollar consumer product company telling me so. P&G can attack this horrible curse with gorgeous tampons, thus sweeping it under the carpet, where it belongs. Hooray! Incidentally, is that older woman with the screechy voice supposed to be mimicking the traditional idea of a witch? You know, those evil women burned at the stake way back when? And is that a buried suggestion older women dislike younger women? To the point they’d paint their white skinny jeans red with resentment given half the chance?

On a deeper level still, the ads touch on biblical ideas of the fallen, of women still being punished with menstrual cramps and childbirth for leading men astray. The victim in each ad is variously, a model on a fashion shoot, a clubber in a shiny dress, and, more recently, an Olympic high jump athlete. She is saved from the embarrassment of her ‘gift’ because she has super-dooper strength tincy-wincy (and pretty) Tampax tampons. Lucky her.

The young women in these adverts are supposed to look empowered. They are winning the war against nature, they are strong, and most importantly, they are dry. The ad that grates the most is the one for Tampax Pearl. It suggests the horror a woman might suffer upon starting her period in front of a collection of attractive men. It’s okay though, because while Mother Nature hilariously quips that she invented pearls, the model is saved by the fake ones in her vagina.

The ad with the clubber tells us Tampax Compak are, ‘full sized protection, only cuter.’ This I totally identify with. I’ve always wanted cute tampons I could show off to all my friends.At the end of one Olympics-themed ad, the slogan, ‘no Tampax, no glory,’ is airily stated by a soft female voice. This suggests that, a) all women including Olympic athletes are continuously bleeding, and, b) Female Olympic athletes would lose out on gold were they unable to stem their never-ending flow.
But I must admit I’m almost endeared by the Serena Williams advert, sans slogan. Perhaps if the lady in green was replaced by a red tsunami, it would actually be pretty great. I might be reading too much into these ads. I don’t know. But I want to pick up the telly and fling it out the window every time they come on.

- SC

3 thoughts on “No Gory with Tampax

  1. Excellent blog.It’s as though the media suggests that women won’t get anywhere in life if we acknowledge that we have periods. If we collapse in a jelly-like heap with an extra large block of chocolate and a box of tissues, then we are failures! As long as we can hide our mood swings, pretend we don’t have any pain and hide that horrible bleeding, then we are failures.

    All the feminine hygiene products on sale seem to target our basic female selves, suggesting that we are ‘smelly’ and need to be cleaned with all these chemicals.

    It might be painful but I try to embrace even the mood swings of my period as part of who I am.

  2. Hear Hear! Tampons, yes, they are terrific. But these adverts made me throw up in my mouth. I’m really glad I’m not the only one horribly annoyed by them!

  3. Sorry, what? I really identified with the adds. Especially the athlete. Menstruation can be massively debilitating. The above comments seem to be suggesting that acknowledging how frustrating and horrible menstruation is is rejecting womanhood or some shit. Maybe I’m missing out on something, but I really would never say that menstruation is part of who I am-in fact the mood swings and the way it hinders physical performance actually stops me being who I am. I have felt, and continue to on the odd occasion when I do suffer my period these days, that mother nature IS an old witch. These ads were hilarious, and actually really gratifying in that they acknowledged how detrimental menstruation can be in everyday situations, whilst allowing women to be the victor. If anything they did not go far enough in incriminating ‘mother nature’ for her ‘gift’ as many women suffer far more than those depicted in the ads, and unfortunately tampax just don’t go far enough to rectify the situation. I liked that women were defeating mother nature, and I think that an add depicting a woman collapsed in a ‘jelly-like heap eating chocolate’ would be hugely offensive to me. That is not to suggest that women are failures for doing so, but just to suggest that maybe we deserve better.