an open letter to carefree
Thank you. Thank you for calling my vagina a vagina. Thank you for talking to me like I’m an adult. Thank you for not reducing my menstruation to a pun with a stuffed beaver. Thank you.
Growing up, I often wondered why the creators of commercials for pads and tampons thought my blood was blue. It was curious to me that the makers of these products had no grasp of female biology. Recently, I started to understand. I am supposed to be ashamed. I am supposed to be uncomfortable that I have bodily functions. I am supposed to be ashamed of vaginal discharge and the fact that it exists. I am glad you have called bullshit on that one.
A friend of mine sent me an article about the ‘controversy’ surrounding your frank and direct ad. You know, the ad that uses the words vagina and discharge when discussing panty liners for vaginal discharge. The interesting thing for me was that he said he thought the use of the word ‘discharge’ was far more unsettling than ‘vagina’. Why is that? Why is either word triggering complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau? I am a woman. Fifty-one percent of the world population are women. We menstruate. We have vaginas. Vaginas discharge. It is biology. It is my biology and I will not be made to feel ashamed of it.
I wonder what this kind of societal shame surrounding female anatomy does to us. When people complain about using the anatomically correct terms for female anatomy, what does that say about society’s feelings about women?
Recently, in the Michigan House of Representatives in the United States, Representative Lisa Brown said, in response to a bill restricting female reproductive rights, ‘I am flattered you are all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.’ Brown was not allowed to speak in the House for two days. Republican Representative Mike Callton said Brown’s comment ‘was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.’
We need an antidote to this shame. I am grateful that your commercial has acknowledged that and is standing up for women’s bodies. Your campaign spokesperson, Debbie Selikman said, ‘Women have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed about and should be confident of their body’. Thank you.
I hope your company continues to acknowledge the female body, in all its functional glory. I hope your actions encourage more open discussion about women’s health in the media. I hope at least one confused teenage girl sees your ad and feels a little less confused as a result. I hope this ‘controversy’ only encourages you to create more of these great discussions.
A grateful woman(Image credit)