Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stay-free and Clear- Shiny Happy Products to be Proud Of

I have noticed this fairly new product, or product line lately. I've noticed it for two reasons. The product is boldly and brightly placed on the center aisle of several local grocery stores and I imagine many others throughout the nation. Maybe it's a worldwide advertising campaign. I don't know. Bright. Bold. Colorful. I think the product itself may be dyed to match the packaging. The brightness made me notice, do a double take. Disbelief runs through my mind, briefly and then I continue on, only slightly bothered, or perplexed and later somewhat offended. I also noticed because of the glaring placement on the center aisle. A big stand in way of grocery store marketing. Almost like airing a commercial during The Superbowl.

The product is a "feminine" product. A "sanitary" product. I recall with much humor the advertising campaigns for these "products" of sanitary fame from my own youth. No brightness, no boldness. We didn't even feel safe naming them or using them. We alluded to the use. We downright denied the purpose. We attempted to disguise them as tennis equipment or horse-lovers accessories. We could use this mysterious unseen, unnamed product only while wearing white pants or shorts and we might know the brand name but not the product. Pad, pantyliner, tampon- never. Kotex, Stay-free, Modess. Free and Clear would have been a more appealing product.

According to Advertising Age magazine, "Until the 1930s, Western doctors treated the female menstrual cycle as a disability and advised menstruating women to refrain from participating in rigorous physical activity." Ads from the 1950s gently prompted American women to avoid using their periods as excuses for being remiss in their responsibilities. "Tending the home, cooking, caring for children, playing hostess or serving their working husbands" could no longer be shirked because of this disabling infliction. I think we needed to be convinced that we could safely take showers during this menacing monthly interlude through advertising or magazine articles. Imagine that? (There may be more to this avoidance and showering thing in relation to that serving-those-working-husbands thing, but maybe that's just my spin.)

For heavens sakes, we just finally stopped needing the belt and harness in my youth. Nursing staff brought that mechanism out post childbirth. I didn't know what to do with it being born, or at least reaching "maturity" in those early stay free days. I do remember my sister behaving as though she had a secret that I would not be allowed to know for a looonnnnnggg amount of time. She is 2 years older than I am, but in early childhood years that makes dog years a bit easier to calculate. Assuredly the word mature was bandied about with her name attached much more often than mine. I, being the late bloomer in a few regions of development. She remained smug in her secret knowledge. She was one freed from the belt system to the beltless stay in place magic. I never felt the honor. I find it unbelievable when some of the "real" women out there attempt to promote some love of the menstrual experience. They are probably part of the current marketing campaign.

Now, we need color, and flash for our woman products. Why? I have two theories but maybe someone else has an inside connection. Until I get the scientific data, here goes:

Young girls who have recently reached maturity need bells, whistles, texting features, and apps to do anything. Or at least that is believed of them. U. This is the branding name because they can't understand Y-O-U. U. Because ""better u than me. U. Because "u have your period and are moody but I'm free and clear". These tampon, pad, panty liner wearing young ones can be marketed to do and buy just about anything and need that tease in order to attend to basic needs related to health and hygeine. We older ones were frightened to death by Toxic Shock Syndrome, TSS, and suffer PTSS along with PMS or PMDD we wanted freedom from belts sooo much we ended up dying from, or threatened by tampon use. No color, no dyes, no fresh scent. How did that fresh scent work anyway? Lipstick on a pig for sure! These young women may also believe (through marketing devices) that we should not need to hide our femininity. We should excitedly profess the need to catch our bodily secretions with fervor. (Did you catch the word secret embedded in secretions- subliminal hogwash? or blatant directive?)

My second theory is based on the hormone enhanced milk, dairy, and chicken products leading to cause our daughters to mature at a much earlier rate. How else can you get hormone-enhanced prepubescent girls to want to use products in their private parts that they just recently discovered? They are menstruating soon after they are potty trained. Check Out the New Line of U by Kotex* Thin Pads for Girls Today! That is the web based tag. Note the use of the word girls. Are they training sanitary products? We all know this is what separates the girls from the women. This is THE launching of womanhood. I'm surprised they don't come with toys in the box or hidden in the products.

The hormone-enhanced chicken and milk and dairy products might want to consider launching a multi-faceted campaign with the feminine products. Color coded for heavy days. Red dye tampons with reddened chicken fingers and rasberry colored chocolate milk. Blue sanitary pads with blue whipped cream covered cream puffs for those medium to light days. Yellow popcorn chicken and yellow panti-liners for those just-because or you-never-know days. No longer do we need to feel embarrased at the checkout line. Even the men in our lives will feel empowered to buy these products. Soon they will have their own boldly colored products. Did you know jock-itch is secretly cured with athletes foot cream? Why the tricks? I say go out there and sing about jock-itch. Hair-festers, warts, hemoroid suppositories- celebrate, feel the love.

All of this for U but not for me. I'm done- free and clear. The chicken, you can see, never enhanced my development.

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