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01:57 pm: Rant: Me and My Tampons
Note: This post contains discussion of feminine unmentionables. Those who have issues with this - or who are deeply disturbed by the normal cycles of the female human body - should skip right over this one. (And probably start some therapy, but that's just my guess.)

Recently, the manufacturer of the tampons I buy changed the packaging. For the record, these would be Kotex Security Tampons (note the clever use of "security" right there in the title - I mean, to me that suggests that they shoot mace from time to time, but the important thing is that we girls know we can count on Kotex), brought to us by the fine people at Kimberly-Clark. The package used to have kind of a purple theme going on - you know, the kind that says, "BOYS: DANGER. THIS PRODUCT IS FOR GIRLS. If you purchase it, you will immediately be emasculated by a team of top drugstore surgeons." Kind of unnecessary, because I promise you no male has ever accidentally purchased tampons, just on impulse or whatever, but I was used to it, anyway.

Now the packaging is white, accented with a single red tulip. The message is, "Ladies! This product is to staunch the flow of blood before it reaches your girlish white underthings, or, god forbid, pants." Apparently the manufacturers don't know that the last time any of us wore white during our periods was when we were 13, because frankly their products are not quite that reliable. ("Why is she getting married in red?" "Why do you think?") But, again, whatever. I kind of resented the packaging change, yes. I tried not to look directly at the box, yes. That tulip pissed me off at a time when I was, frankly, already really prone to being kind of bitchy, yes.

But eventually we all get over our resentments. So today, I read the box.

Let's just say the healing didn't begin, okay?

Why? I'm glad you asked.

Let's start with side one. It features the aforementioned tulip (note: not a rose, because they don't want me to start thinking Kotex Security Tampons are for red hot lovin' or anything), some text that indicates that somebody worked very hard - probably got a promotion for it, in fact - choosing fonts, and a thumbnail of the old box.

I'm not sure what that last part is supposed to accomplish. If I didn't know the name of something I'd been inserting into my body for the last few years - um. Actually, that would be just like high school was. My point is, I've grown past that, moved on from it. I know what I'm putting in my twat these days, Kimberly-Clark. I'm damn proud of that, by god! But if I didn't? I really don't think a thumbnail would help that kind of inattention problem.

Side two offers what we might term the "ad text" - in other words, it conveys no information anyone actually needs, and it is printed in a larger font than any information someone might someday need. It begins - and I will just set this off with a carriage return for maximum appreciation:

"Run, jump, play. And don't let a period stop you."

Thank you, Kimberly-Clark. Apparently you have confused me with my dog. My life? Does not so much involve the run-jump-play side of things, but then I also don't lick my own ass on a daily basis, so I'm good with the trade-off, really. My point is, if you asked me to describe my average day - or, hell, my ideal day - the words "Run, jump, play" would not appear. Jesus Christ. Why not just add "chase a spit-covered ball" to the end of that?

The ad text continues (and I'm going to spare you all the various trademark symbols, because I think they detract from the simple beauty of the words):

"Only Kotex Security Tampons are designed with Comfort-Flex blend. When you move, they bend with your body."

Um. Because as we all know, tubes of cotton are so very rigid under normal circumstances. Actually, you know, that could be a decent selling point: "Steel Tampons. For real women who want to ride a diamond-hard shaft all day long."

And the ad text concludes with those special words every special woman wants to hear during her special time of the month:

"So you stay comfortable and forget about leaks. Beautiful."

You're damn right. There's nothing more beautiful, I've always said, than a woman who isn't thinking about leaks. It's my main beauty secret. When I walk into the room, people are drawn to me. "Who is she?" they say. "Why is she so mysteriously compelling?"

And a wise woman answers, "She's not worried about leaks. That's why she's so confident and beautiful." And then she turns to the camera and says, "That's why I use Kotex Security Tampons."

But then the director yells "CUT" and we go back to the real world. Kimberly-Clark, let me just tell you - beauty comes from many sources. But never once in the whole history of man has anyone ever said, "That woman is gorgeous. I wonder what tampon brand she uses?" There is a very good reason for that.

So, by this point, I was - as you might well guess - compelled. This is my definition of can't-put-it-down reading, right here. I turned to side three, which contains the TSS warning. In three languages, Kotex warns me that tampons might kill me, under the heading "ATTENTION: Tampons are associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is a rare but serious disease that may cause death." And there's some text afterwards, printed in itty-bitty type.

I think I can safely say I'm the only person who has ever read this text. I'm not so much thinking of the statement, "You may avoid the risk of getting tampon-associated TSS by not using tampons," which has to be one of the better pieces of advice anyone has ever given me. But, fine, whatever. I realize this was written by someone down in Legal, who probably sat up nights biting his nails and picturing a scenario in which a teenage girl sat on the witness stand, wept, and said, "I didn't know I didn't have to use tampons! And, yeah, the package talked about the disease, but it never said I wouldn't get it if I didn't use them!" Fine. Lawyers are sensitive people, and we have to cater to their needs whenever possible; I know that's a founding principle of our fine society.

No. The part of the text I really object to is the bit where it says, "IMPORTANT: PLASTIC APPLICATORS ARE NON-FLUSHABLE."

First, why was that the only sentence that called for all caps? I notice there wasn't the same urgency about warning me about my possible impending death from tampons. Also - and I think you'll all agree this is interesting - what the fuck does that have to do with TSS? I mean, I'm no English professor, but I have to say I think Kimberly-Clark's transition could use a little work here, maybe some additional discussion to tie it more closely into the theme. And the title - it needs to be reworked to be more inclusive. My suggestion: "ATTENTION: Tampons are associated with both Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and Big Plumber Bills (BPB). TSS is a rare but serious disease that may cause death. BPB will just really piss you off."

And then we have side four, which contains what we might term the practical information. Assuming we have a very generous definition of practical, because one of the things this side has is an "absorbency chart" that asks us to measure our output - output of what is not precisely specified - in terms of grams. I tell you this, and tell you true: any woman who is measuring her period to this degree needs more help than a tampon can provide.

Plus, that woman? That dream customer who did industrious things with beakers and scales before she even considered investing $7.00 in a jumbo box of tampons? She would hate this chart, because it doesn't give a time range. There's no indication of how much time they expect you take to put out, for example, 9-12 grams to qualify for the "Super" range of product. An hour? Your whole period? A month? A year? It doesn't say. Thus, your dream customer - a woman who enjoys thinking of herself as a dog and is incredibly obsessed with her own bodily fluids - will not buy your product, Kimberly-Clark. That is a sad, sad indictment of your product packaging design team, folks.

And then we move on to the instructions, where we discover that the right woman for Kotex Security Tampons is, okay, possessed of her own digital metric bathroom scale (with a sensitivity in grams, naturally), yes, and capable of doing all possible volumetric measurements and calculations, yes, but she is, absolutely and completely, a total moron. Because the instructions feature some amazing. advice.

"Wash your hands first. Take off the tampon's plastic wrap and throw it away, but DON'T FLUSH IT!"

Yes, indeedy. Thank you for the all caps, there. I do hear that some women can only understand things if you shout at them. Of course, those women will have missed the rest of the instructions and will still be staring helplessly at the plastic wrapper, but at least, by god, when they toss that unused tampon and go back to - I don't know, rags, maybe - they'll toss it in the trash. The toilets of this world thank you, Kimberly-Clark. Another case of BPB avoided!

Another choice instruction (and these aren't numbered, just bulleted, so apparently you should feel free to do them in any order you like - if you want to take the tampon out before you put it in, that is fine with the manufacturers):

"To put in the tampon, find a comfortable position either sitting (with your knees apart) or standing with one foot elevated."

I'm not going to criticize the non-parallel construction there. No, I'm really not, though good Christ how I want to. Instead, I'm going to point out that a woman who needs to be told to sit with her knees apart in order to stick something into her vagina - located, as any qualified health professional will tell you, between her legs - is not ready to be using this product.

You know what? Let's just draw a veil over this whole sorry thing. Let's not go into the part where they tell you to "gently glide it toward your lower back," which is the worst description I've ever heard of an action that could best be described with, "insert it the fuck into your cunt, bitches." Let's not discuss the way one of the instructions says, "Gently [And, oh my god, what is with this adverb? Do they really think that we'll be stabbing ourselves with forks down there unless they warn us not to?] remove both tubes, making sure the string is outside your body," and then don't tell you how to make sure the string is outside your body. Good joke on anyone who really needs those instructions, but then, maybe this just indicates that no one in fact does. They're writing for their own amusement, maybe? That would explain why they threw in the last line, which is: "If you have trouble getting the tampon out, see your doctor or clinic for help."

Because, seriously, anyone who is nervous enough to read the instructions is going to stop dead at that last line. This is actually probably why it's in there; it's another clever legal ploy to keep undesirable consumers from using the product. "It could kill me," that person from Legal keeps hearing, "and I might need to go to the doctor after I use it. No, no. This tube of cotton is too dangerous for me!" And another lawsuit is - thank you, Jesus - averted.

So, really, I think we can all give a major round of applause to the team down at Kimberly-Clark, located in Neenah, WI. Maybe we should even call 'em (1-800-335-6839) and let them know they're doing a bitchin' job. Obviously, they could use some hearty thanks for a job well done.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go insert a tube into my vagina. (Don't worry, folks! I'll be very gentle. I probably won't feel a thing.)

Comments

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[User Picture]
From:ficbyzee
Date:May 7th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
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My god I love your rants. So much. So much.

This is why I'm relatively happy using O.B. tamons. No stupid 'feminine' name, no pink or purple or tulip-y box, and best of all no annoying wasteful applicators. I haven't bothered to read the instructions, which are probably as moronic as the ones you ranted about, but I have yet to read instructions for anything under the sun that were remotely useful, so.
[User Picture]
From:littera_abactor
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Thank you.

And, you know, after this little reading experience, I'm seriously considering switching to the Diva Cup. I mean, the name is annoying, but I bet the manufacturers can tell the difference between me and my dog, and that would be a huge step up.

And if that doesn't work, I'll be investigating OB.

(Also, my advice is: read the instructions on everything. Instructions are the most underappreciated form of humor writing in this country.)
[User Picture]
From:littera_abactor
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
(Link)
*eyes your icon with great suspicion*

That wouldn't be an all-natural, running-jumping-playing tulip, now, would it? Okay, I thought not, but right now these are questions I've got to ask.

And thank you! I'm glad I made you laugh.

I'm actually at this point investigating cups, on the grounds that they'd be cheaper and could hardly be more irritating and patronizing, and if not? OB for me. (Although my plumber brother-in-law says you shouldn't flush any part of a tampon, and I always trust a man with a giant snake, so I still won't be flushing them.)
[User Picture]
From:suchthefangirl
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
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I am going to make a confession here. I am very, very old, and in my life, I have bought exactly one box of tampons and half of said box is still sitting in my bathroom, and I had to ask a complete stranger at the store for advice in buying said box. I personally hate the damn things and only bought them so I could swim all month, and eventually gave up swimming cause it was easier. The box (which, gotta admit, I did read) scared the hell out of me, and confirmed all the fears that had kept me from using them for the 30plus years that I could have been. I am a wuss.

Your post, however was very funny.
[User Picture]
From:littera_abactor
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
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For medical reasons - namely, it's the easiest way to check for an imperforate hymen on a girl who refuses to get a pelvic exam (my sister had one, which put me at risk, so my mother issued me a tampon and some instructions in a conversation that left me scarred for life) - I was introduced to tampons at the age of 12.

I hated them. I did my medically prescribed insertion and then went running back to pads.

A few years later, though, I tried them again, and after spending a lot of time wearing what I thought of as diapers, only somehow less dignified, tampons were not nearly so repellant. My point is: I totally sympathize with not liking the fuckers, although (if you ever want to take up swimming again) I promise you using them does get easier.
[User Picture]
From:mamadeb
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC)
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Okay. Tears. I have tears in my eyes from laughing.

That is just beautiful. Like a red tulip.

On the hand.

The Keeper.

I haven't purchased a box of tampons in years. (But I'm still not wearing white during my period.)
[User Picture]
From:mamadeb
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
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On the OTHER hand

sheesh
[User Picture]
From:kassrachel
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
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::dies laughing::

You are awesome.
[User Picture]
From:littera_abactor
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
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*beams*

Thank you!
[User Picture]
From:wychwood
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
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*snorfles so hard*

My sanitary towel packets have these little "inspiring" messages on them about how I'll feel more energetic at certain points in my cycle, and things like that. They aren't quite this bad, but really: not what I want to hear while bleeding profusely!
[User Picture]
From:littera_abactor
Date:May 7th, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
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So you get, like...period fortune cookies? Or is it more like those chocolate hearts that have a Deep, Inspiring Message on the inside of the wrapper? (You know. Like, "Take time for yourself." To which my response is: "If I had time to do that, I wouldn't need the chocolate.")

Attention, manufacturers of period-related gear: nothing you can say is going to make us happier about this whole process, so just keep the words to a minimum, please. If you want to toss in a little vacuum-sealed package of Advil and maybe some chocolate, great. But stop talking.

*moody glare at the entire manufacturing industry*
[User Picture]
From:mtlaise
Date:May 7th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
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Ditto. I found that little thumbnail a little infuriating... Changing the picture on the box will not throw me into such a state of confusion that I stand in front of the shelf of feminine hygiene products in a daze. I am not so distraught at this time of the month that the ability to read escapes me. I AM able to read the word Kotex on the box. And thank you very much, folks, for thinking I'm that stupid!

Anyway, just wanted to say that I love your rants. You can always make me laugh. Thanks!
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
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See, yeah, exactly. That thumbnail just screams, "We discussed this one way too much in a bunch of meetings and we couldn't make up our minds, so we decided to make the worst of a bad lot and pick everything."

Not. Stupid. Just. Menstruating. There is a difference, manufacturers.

(And thanks right back at you! Glad I made you laugh.)
[User Picture]
From:darthfox
Date:May 7th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
[applause]

For some reason, all brands of tampons other than Tampax have always pissed me off. The damn things are wrapped differently so they absorb differently, and the applicators are different shapes, and I AM A CREATURE OF HABIT, dangit, so that's that.

Now someone will come along and tell me that Tambrands is in league with West Virginia White Pride or something and I'll have to find another kind of tampons for political reasons, and my whole life will never be the same, GAH.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC)
(Link)
I am likewise a creature of habit, hence my sulky clinging to Kotex through what was, for me, an incredibly irritating package remodel. Not to mention that they are, like, the worst brand ever for the environment.

I've tried Tampax before, but now I'm thinking either a cup or OB. Maybe something sufficiently different won't scream NO WRONG WRONG to my already grouchy body.
[User Picture]
From:katallison
Date:May 7th, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Menopause rocks. It bears repeating; Menopause. Rocks. Every so often I stroll through the "feminine hygiene" aisle at Target, and I laugh a lighthearted, carefree, no doubt highly annoying laugh.

It would be nice if I could add that I can now wear white pants with impunity -- but actually, between the bifocals and the wrist-arthritis, I'm forever slopping coffee on myself, so that aspect is a wash. But at least no tube insertion, ever again, thank you JEEBUS.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
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I still remember my first period. I was 11, and suddenly - totally without warning! - I had cramps, I was miserable, and I hated my body. And my mother had just shared my sudden acquisition of Special Womanhood with her entire family. (Yes, I got my very first period during a family reunion, and not with the side of the family that gets along, either. This was probably some kind of omen, though I'm still not sure of what.)

And my mother kept trying to reassure me. "It'll be over before you know it!"

"And then it will be back, next month."

"Lots of girls are happy when they get their periods. It means they're growing up!"

"Then lots of girls are crazy." (I was a delightful child.)

And finally she went for, "Well, it goes away. When you're, uh, 40 or 50."

I think right then was when I started looking forward to getting old.
[User Picture]
From:trustanti
Date:May 7th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, god, yes. (Forgive me for jumping in, but yes.)

Possibly the greatest thing about the packaging revision is that it's now completely impossible to describe the box for anyone kind enough to attempt to buy you one. Before I got desperate enough to look the flowers up, I didn't even recognize them. (Kaffir? Cactus Dahlia? Buying feminine hygiene products should not require this much knowledge of botany.)

The website, by the way, has more quality copy.

"Each KOTEX product features a unique red flower on its new package.

Security Tampons:
Tulip, (Lat. Tulipa) is a sign of spring, promising a world alive with color and happiness."

..alive with color and happiness. I.. no. Possibly alive with, like, prescription pain medication and heating pads. (I want to partake in this magical world of jumping, playful, happy periods. Is there a sign-up sheet somewhere?)
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
(Link)
Buying feminine hygiene products should not require this much knowledge of botany.

Very, very true.

...unique red flower...

I don't think this word means what they think it means. I suspect what they actually meant was "different," because the red tulip, at any rate, is NOT UNIQUE. It's just a red tulip, dadgummit.

sign of spring, promising a world alive with color and happiness

Seriously, Kotex, what does that have to do with bleeding? We're getting right back into dog territory, here, in my opinion.

I want to partake in this magical world of jumping, playful, happy periods. Is there a sign-up sheet somewhere?

Well, I tried to find one on that website, but it's pretty bad and I ended up closing the window. Um. Well, maybe we should start an informal signup sheet here, and we can transfer it over when we find the real one. You're first, obviously. I'm second.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, cool! I actually meant to find a tampon donation site when I posted this, because tampons and pads are hell for any women's residential agency, and much much much worse for women living in third world countries. As much as I bitch, I know there are lots of women who would really appreciate the product I'm whining about.

I find the "monthly cycle of fertility upon which our civilization depends" a little alarming, though. (Also comes from Tampontification.) I mean, I know what they're saying, but...I'm just not comfortable carrying the weight of the world on my uterus, you know?

And, yeah. The tulip on the box is very much a not subtle, not good reminder of the way the product itself looks. Yeesh.
[User Picture]
From:prairiedaun
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC)
(Link)
(directed here by commodorified) This is brilliant, thank you.

The first and only time I ever tried tampons, I read the instructions and nearly cried. After a very uncomfortable attempt at insertion, I decided "hells, no," and returned to the relative security of pads.

[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
(Link)
This is brilliant, thank you.

Thank you! (And, um, if you don't know me, then you might not know that [Bad username: littera_abactor> = <lj user=]. I post personal stuff and FF here, but I spend most of my time logged in as TFV, so TFV replies to a lot of LA's comments. Because, um. Well, let's face it - because I'm lazy.)

The first and only time I ever tried tampons, I read the instructions and nearly cried. After a very uncomfortable attempt at insertion, I decided "hells, no," and returned to the relative security of pads.

Tampons do get easier to use, but I totally hear that. I had a somewhat traumatic first brush with tampons (explained in my response to suchthefangirl, if you want the full dose of TMI), and, yeah. Ran right back to pads for several years. But now I much prefer tampons, even if I do spend five days a month thinking, "There has to be a better way."
[User Picture]
From:trolleypup
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thus, your dream customer - a woman who ... is incredibly obsessed with her own bodily fluids - will not buy your product, Kimberly-Clark. That is a sad, sad indictment of your product packaging design team, folks.

That's right, she's already using a Diva Cup. And has spreadsheets and stuff, and journals about them. Because tampons apparently don't let you quantify these girly TMI things.

Excellent rant! As Always!

*goes off to find an icon that isn't a flower or a dog*
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
And has spreadsheets and stuff, and journals about them.

The sad part is, I know you're right.

Excellent rant! As Always!

Thank you!
[User Picture]
From:zebra363
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
(Link)
You've turned that into a letter and send it to Kimberly-Clark, right?
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 8th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
(Link)
Well, no, but only because I'm not sure how to make it more polite while not robbing of its essential message. ("Not. Stupid. Just. Menstruating." Which, seriously, these people need to have tattooed somewhere.)
[User Picture]
From:mellybean71
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
(Link)
For the record-- I did read the TSS warning, several times in fact. Y'see that is the part of the box that faces the toilet on the shelf that is exactly at eye level. Dunno why.

I can *not* use pads. The day the nice lady from Tampax did her little talk at my school was the happiest day of my life. (although Tampax gives me worse cramps) I had a huge battle with Mom over them and had to convince her that a) I wouldn't damage my hymen and 2) I would remember I was wearing one. I think there was some more "Mom-stuff" involved but I don't remember what her other arguments were.

I like OB but they seem to be more expensive. So now that my pharmacy has changed their brand I am a Kotex girl.

Want another fun rant? Try explaing to a male doctor that your cycle *really* shouldn't last over two weeks and that spotting for three weeks before that isn't good either. His solution? Ten days of hormones to stop the bleeding followed by ANOTHER period. Yay.
[User Picture]
From:mellybean71
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)

PS

(Link)
I'm another one of those people that came over 'cause of commodorified. Hi!
[User Picture]
From:resonant8
Date:May 8th, 2006 12:49 am (UTC)
(Link)
This is ... worthy of the subject.

Translation: I'm laughing so hard the cat is looking at me funny.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:May 9th, 2006 01:03 am (UTC)
(Link)
*beams*

Thank you! (And tell your cat that this is Unspayed Girl Business. That's what I told my dog when she was trying to figure out why I was carrying around a box of tubes that crinkled and therefore had to be chew toys. I also told her to be grateful we'd had her spayed, because otherwise she'd be wearing puppy panties twice a year and she would feel my pain, but she wasn't impressed.)
[User Picture]
From:elegia
Date:May 8th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC)
(Link)
This was fantastically hilarious. Reading this seriously made my night. I was directed here by commodorified and I cannot thank her, and you, enough.

At the beginning of my period (right in the middle of mine!) & was so terrified by the Tampax box that I decided to continue using pads until I can get hold of a Mooncup (which I figure is the same as a diva cup).

Unfortunately, I don't think tampon boxes are anymore intelligent than most magazines marketed at women, which assume that all we need to be happy is lose weight, find a sexy man & go shopping. Er, thanks, but some people actually have ambitions & interests which don't revolve around propagating capitalist misogyny. Feminism's got a long way to go if women are to be credited with more intelligence than tampon boxes give them.
[User Picture]
From:littera_abactor
Date:May 9th, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)
(Link)
Reading this seriously made my night.

Yay! Glad to hear it.

I don't think tampon boxes are anymore intelligent than most magazines marketed at women

Definitely true.

I used to say that if I ever saw a magazine at a checkout stand that actually had any story on the cover that I was interested in reading, no matter how slightly, I'd buy it.

That vow ended on the fateful day of shame that I was forced to buy a tabloid because it had a story about a Ford pickup found orbiting Saturn with its engine still running. But my point is, never once did I find a women's magazine that spoke to my own personal interests. Mostly they seemed like the kind of thing I'd read in a doctor's office after I'd already read through all the copies of Field & Stream, and keep in mind that hunting makes me queasy.

So, yeah. I could actually believe that tampon ad execs moonlight as women's magazine editors. It would explain a lot.
[User Picture]
From:fanofall
Date:May 8th, 2006 01:40 am (UTC)
(Link)
I have thought FOR YEARS that the entire feminine hygiene product industry needed to be wiped out and we should start over again. Seriously. "Mom? Do you douche?" is going to go down in history as probably one of the worst ad campaigns ever, if only because their target audience was racing to the television to TURN IT OFF so they wouldn't have to explain douching to their eight-year-old children.

And, seriously, we have to do this, every month, and we don't have a choice (most of the time); is it really necessary to add insult to injury and assume we're STUPID, too?
[User Picture]
From:littera_abactor
Date:May 9th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC)
(Link)
You've broken me. I...I thought, believed, prayed you were making up the "Mom? Do you douche?" ad, but Best Beloved has assured me that, no, that really was on the air. The person who wrote that must've had access to drugs of unparalleled quality and potency. Seriously.

is it really necessary to add insult to injury and assume we're STUPID, too?

Apparently so, but I'm still waiting for a compelling explanation of why. Maybe I could email Kimberly-Clark on that, huh?
[User Picture]
From:limnrix
Date:May 8th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
(Link)
I have just started using the DivaCup instead. And it is good. Although the instructions are, if anything, even more ridiculous, and a bit more complicated. And the marketing is a bit... well... pink, for my tastes.
[User Picture]
From:limnrix
Date:May 8th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
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Actually, I stopped using pads and tampon applicators by my 3rd period. Much, much easier and less wasteful to jam the thing in on its own and not have all the plastic spikiness and "where do I throw this out?" in public restrooms. Of course there was always still "where do I throw out this smelly, blood-soaked cotton wad?" because a minority of bathrooms have disposal units in the stalls. Now it's "is anyone in here that will see me washing a bloody latex cup in the sink? No? Good."

The truth is that most people, let alone women, are stupid and liable to do things that corporations will do everything in their vastly greater power to not be responsible for. This does not require them to give you practical advice, but rather to tell you very loudly what not to do. And to, um, run, jump, and play.
From:vito_excalibur
Date:May 8th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC)
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I, um. I used a tampon for the first time when I was 13, with no help from anybody.

I propose to draw the merciful veil of oblivion over the rest of the whole sorry story, but all I want to say is, those instructions are not for you. Just like the safety lecture at the beginning of the flight is not for you. It's for the benighted grandmother from Bucksnort, TN, who has never travelled anywhere faster than 40 miles an hour in her life, and has to get on a plane for the first time at the age of 87 to go see her grandkids. She needs that bored flight attendant and her stupid-ass instructions. And my stupid 13-year-old ass needed a lot more instructions than came in the stupid tampon box! I know you won't believe me, but let me just say: I am glad they are now emphasizing the "gentle" part of the process. As in, really, if you gotta hammer it in, you're aiming it wrong or something. Would have been useful to know.
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From:littera_abactor
Date:May 9th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
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I, um. I used a tampon for the first time when I was 13, with no help from anybody.

*swoons*

OMG. That's like shaving your legs for the first time with no help from anybody.

And my stupid 13-year-old ass needed a lot more instructions than came in the stupid tampon box! I know you won't believe me, but let me just say: I am glad they are now emphasizing the "gentle" part of the process. As in, really, if you gotta hammer it in, you're aiming it wrong or something. Would have been useful to know.

And let me just repeat: OMG. I'm trying to...imagine this. And I'm, well, mostly failing, but the glimpses I'm getting are enough to traumatize me, never mind 13-year-old you.

And I thought my first experience with tampons was bad. Wow.

*shudders in sympathy*

*crosses legs*
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From:datta
Date:May 8th, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC)
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That was lovely! And I totally get it -- grr, tampons. (You might look in to the DivaCup, I haven't regretted it.)
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From:littera_abactor
Date:May 9th, 2006 03:10 am (UTC)
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Thank you! And, yes. By my next period, I will by god have a Diva Cup.

*departs to submit order*
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From:hjcallipygian
Date:May 8th, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC)
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Best thing about fandom?
But never once in the whole history of man has anyone ever said, "That woman is gorgeous. I wonder what tampon brand she uses?" There is a very good reason for that.
Someone is going to write that very scenario into a story, just for you, and it is going to work. Plot-wise, I mean.
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From:littera_abactor
Date:May 9th, 2006 03:13 am (UTC)
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Like, Tim figuring out he's gay because when he looks at Catwoman, he thinks, "You know, it's not like she isn't gorgeous or whatever, but...wow. With that outfit, she'd better have serious feminine hygiene. I wonder if she uses CatTampons?"

And then he realizes that normal guys don't get beyond, "Whoa. Hot."

Hmmm. No. Needs work.

Frankly, I'm not sure anyone can write that into a story that works.

*dares you*
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
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From:thepouncer
Date:May 8th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
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I have read the toxic shock syndrome information! But then I tend to read each and every word of anything remotely medical that I purchase. If I fill a prescription and it has an insert folded a kajillion times with chemical formulae and molecular diagrams? I read it. I read the packages of my mouthwash. It's probably a sickness, but I prefer to be informed. Not that most of them are actually informative.
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From:littera_abactor
Date:May 9th, 2006 03:17 am (UTC)
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*bonds*

I read the pharmaceutical inserts, too. Also, when they only give me the one that is labeled "for the consumer," I complain, because I want the one for the pharmacist, baby.

Well. Okay. I can admit it. I find pharmaceutical inserts fascinating. I realize that says nothing good about me, but I've made my peace with it.

It's probably a sickness, but I prefer to be informed. Not that most of them are actually informative.

See, I read, like, the toothpaste tube, and also the FBI/Interpol warning that comes on before DVDs, and just...basically, for me, it's that if there's text, I'm going to read it. It's how I react to words.

I even read the End User Agreements you have to click "I accept" on to install your software. And I get some of the best laughs of my life that way. The people who write these things are clearly not expecting us to read them.

So this habit has its good sides. But it's also why it took me five hours to sign our mortgage documents. I was by god going to read every page, thanks.

*owns her textual weirdness*
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From:siriaeve
Date:May 8th, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC)
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This post is so wonderful that it's like poetry in a way. I just read the entire thing out loud to trinityofone, birdsflying, and wychwood, and we would all like to say how much you rock. I shall think of it the next time I am enraged by the Kotex ads here, which involve a woman dressed all in white whose use of tampons allow her to rollerblade through a Mardi Gras parade.
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From:littera_abactor
Date:May 9th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
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we would all like to say how much you rock

YAY! *beams*

I am enraged by the Kotex ads here, which involve a woman dressed all in white whose use of tampons allow her to rollerblade through a Mardi Gras parade.

I...what? No. You're joking, right? Because...no. And also, no. Jesus Christ. My tampons may tell me to run, jump, play, but at least they don't get to that level of degrading.

*kind of wants to see this dreadful ad, though*

*knows that makes her a bad person*

(Hey, here's an excellent idea for the next ad in that series: "Belinda's dream was always to star in a Girls Gone Wild! video, but when her period came just before Spring Break of her senior year, it seemed hopeless. And then she heard about Kotex...")
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