Monthly Archives: July 2012

Always an inconvenience. Always.

By now, most women have seen Wendi Aarons’ infamous open letter to the brand manager of Proctor and Gamble, which circulated through email forwards. Years ago, they came up with a tagline for Always maxi pads: Have a Happy Period. As Aarons put it, “Are you fucking kidding me?” (I couldn’t have said it any better.) How could a man, despite countless hours of research, possibly know what females go through each month for 30-some years? Just like we women will never know how painful it is to get kicked in the nuts, men will never know how awful periods are.*

I am a consumer of Always and I have seen no signs of the ill-conceived “Have a Happy Period” campaign as of late. However, as I gazed at my Always Infinity box this morning, I scratched my head in wonder. I was thinking of Aarons’ letter, as I often do when the cramps set in, and wondered if P&G ever learned their lesson. So I took a closer look at the box in my hand. The first thing I noticed was a random conversation bubble unattached to anything, human or otherwise. The bubble read, “I love how my girlfriends know me so well they can finish my sentences”. Perhaps the marketers at P&G were trying to be clever and not end the sentence with the proper punctuation (they had no punctuation in the English text but did in the French). So my mind filled it in for me, “Period,” I thought. Oh, how clever! Period! Like the tormentor that is currently invading my insides! Ha ha ha!

If this is what they really wanted me to think when I read that bubble – and I really hope it wasn’t – then they are equating periods with my girlfriends. Um, no. Sorry. Not happening. A period is not a friend, just like it is not a happy time in one’s life. Maybe they did intend to put punctuation on the end of the sentence but their proof-reader was just too stupid to realize that sentences needed a full stop, whether or not they are floating in a conversation bubble. If that is such the case, then WTF? Who the hell is talking and what the hell does it have to do with periods? This is almost just as insulting as the alternative. It’s like they’re trying to sympathize but don’t know how to relate to a woman on her period. I can just picture a bunch of suits sitting around a conference table, saying, “Let’s throw in something about girlfriends to make her feel better about all the cramps she’s having!”

Moving on to another side of the box, I came across another conversation bubble that said, “You may even forget you’re wearing a pad”. Again, no punctuation. But more disturbing is that this conversation bubble is pointing to none other than the pad itself. How creepy is that? I don’t want a pad talking to me about what I’m about to do with it. Ugh.

That’s it for the conversation bubbles so to have just two (one disjointed and one from the pad) it seemed rather random. How much thought did the marketing team put into this? In my opinion, not very much. It seemed as if they have the same people designing boxes as they did when they thought up, “Have a Happy Period”, which, by the way, may not be on the box in those exact words, but are there in a sense. Above the talking pad is a line in cursive that reads, “Enjoy being a woman…every day”. AGAIN with the punctuation!

I do enjoy being a woman, thank you very much, but getting to wear an Always pad isn’t one of the reasons why. Plus, the way they emphasized “every day” makes me think that they think that they’re solving one of the many awful problems women have when on their periods. Yes, not having a pillow between my legs is nice, but what have you done for me lately, Always? Do you cure cramps? Mood swings? Deliver chocolate and flowers at the door? I didn’t think so, so quit acting like you’re fucking Superman, here to save Lois Lane from the torments of being a woman.

And get a fucking editor while you’re at it.

*It’s not really a fair comparison as women are guaranteed to have periods – and on schedules, no less! – whereas men’s chances for getting kicked in the nuts is slim (unless, of course, they are around a woman on her period).


Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Rants


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Books I think everyone should read (part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

These are feminist and women’s history books. I believe both men and women should read these. If you don’t believe in feminism, or think it’s a bad word, all the more reason to read them. Also, women have been forced to read about men’s history – or, “history” as it is commonly known – for years. It’s time to give some of the love back, guys.

FlowFlow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim

The book takes the reader through an intense and confusing journey of womanhood from the ancient world to today’s society. Stein and Kim show how society views of menstruation have changed (and not changed) over the course of time, as well as the products and marketing that go along with many female “problems”. The book is littered with colorful (and rather eye-opening) advertisements for women’s products from the 1950s and 60s. They’re a lot like car wrecks – horrible to witness but you can’t take your eyes off them.

The Purity MythPurity Myth by Jessica Valenti

Many of us have heard about purity pledges (not having sex until married) and may have even signed one when in high school. But have you ever witnessed a purity ball? Valenti describes them in full detail, which I recounted and reacted to on my blog post Purity Balls and Sexy Virgins. But there is more to the book than the “rituals” people partake in. Valenti drives home the point that women are self-standing humans. We do not need men to take care of us or give their permission to live our lives. Valenti argues, and backs up her argument with many detailed examples, that expecting young women to stay “pure” until marriage is a damaging concept.

Full Frontal FeminismFull Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti

Do you live in an anti-vibrator state?* Yes, there are states that have “anti-erotic massager” laws on the books. If you think this is absurd, then this book is definitely for you.

Full Frontal Feminism is aimed at young women, with a chapter geared specifically for young men as well. The word “feminist” can draw many images to one’s mind so a lot of women (and men) don’t identify themselves as a feminist. Take this little test to see if you’re a feminist: What are the worst names you could call a woman? Perhaps you thought of slut, bitch, whore or something along those lines. Now, what are the worst names you could call a man? Did you think of pussy? Bitch? Nancy-boy or girly man? Final question: Do you think that it’s really fucked up that the biggest insults to both men and women are a derogatory terms for a woman? If you just answered yes, then congratulations. You are a feminist. Anyone who thinks that the way women are treated is sexist and unfair is, in the truest sense, a feminist. So what should young feminist women and men do? Valenti offers advice in all kinds of scenarios, along with shocking examples of the way women are treated and viewed in modern society.**

*Turn to page 39 to find out if you do.

**I emphasize modern society because some of the acts are so barbaric, one may mistake the scenario as happening in the ancient world.

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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Literature


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