I recently got a pitch from a very nice and cheerful PR woman for a new tampon that “corrects” the pH balance of the menstrual fluid. She even sent me some samples, and disappointingly, they are wrapped in plastic and come with a plastic applicator. Her pitch, with the original emphasis: “[The Tampons] are the boldest new innovation in women’s health technology since tampons were first invented in 1929. For the first time, tampons just got smarter. While traditional tampons were designed for leak protection, comfort and convenience they have done nothing to balance pH. Until now. In healthy women, vaginal pH is typically 3.5 to 4.5. The pH of blood is 7.4, so during the menstrual cycle, vaginal pH becomes elevated by menstrual fluids.”
Really? The boldest new innovation in women’s health technology? Bolder than life-saving cancer screening and drugs? Bolder than advances prenatal health? Bolder than the HPV vaccine? I’m sorry, there is no journalist in the world, except maybe someone from a content farm, who would work that angle.
I am sure that if there was something very wrong with my vaginal pH, I would have noticed. And every gyno since I was 12 would have said something. And certainly a kindly visitor to that place would have remarked.
If you are from a Pharmaceutical Company, the Health & Beauty Aid Industrial Complex, or have anything to do with Selling Products to Women, I hope you will read this and then take it back to your leaders:
Stop telling us we smell bad and look ugly, and the only way we can remedy this is by buying your product.
Stop telling us that your improved formula is a miracle so we have to go out and buy a new one.
Stop making us feel too fat, or too less-than by using impossibly thin models.
Stop trying to take our power and our money and our planet with your disposable everything.
Stop telling us that our natural hair or body isn’t OK and that we need to change to what you think we should be.
When you’ve gotten all that (and yes, I realize you are also responsible for Tamoxifen and other life-saving drugs), please work on things that are practical and make us feel terrific. Like this, which I got from a different PR pitch.
Ok – I got two things today! 🙂
1. Your post reminded me of a little rant I went on the other day. I had bought some Kotex, which I don’t normally use, and chanced on the side panel which has “helpful” info on what size tampon you should use when. The guide to help you determine how heavy your flow is, is in…grams. You know, because we’ve all WEIGHED it before! I immediately had a vision of a woman sitting on the toilet with a cupped hand waiting for…how long? Oh who knows? Because the package doesn’t say how many grams per length of time either!
The husband asked me how I would explain it – “Easy,” I said. “If the time from feeling it comin’ to ‘shit I have to change my clothes now!’ is less than a second, that’s a ‘super’ or a ‘maxi super.’ If it’s easier to wash out my panties than be bothered with using anything, that’s a panty liner day.” That’s how we know what size tampon to use P&G! Someone in their marketing department is clueless!
2. Speaking of marketing – the other thing I wanted to say was that while I liked your end rant about not having all this negative crap foisted on us by ad campaigns, *we* need to stop buying it too. The reason companies use these strategies is because they work, and that’s kind of our fault. Yes, we’re programmed to want to be pleasing, but we really need to take responsibility for ourselves and learn to ignore the bs of bad advertising.
One of the best ways I’ve found to feel great about myself when I’m consuming (which I think is key to this – you don’t compulsively buy orange lipstick to make you prettier if you’re already feelin’ fine) is to take a great friend along with you when you shop. She can help shield you from the crap. But you also have to believe her when she says “damn woman! You look so hot I’d hit on you!!” 🙂
The Instead cup seems revolutionary, but my mom switched to them about 13 years ago, and had to switch back to (whatever she used/uses) because the Instead cup wriggled itself too high to get out. She had to go to an OB to have it removed and it scared the bejeezus out of her (and me.) I’m not saying it’s a bad product, but buyers beware! You can lose that sucker and be forced to make an embarrassing visit to the doc.
Thanks, Mia and Kathlyn. I just don’t know if there is even the “perfect product” out there for women, no matter what part of the body you are addressing.