‘V’ for vagina

Article by Sophia Anna /
Lip Magazine /
July 18, 2012 /
Click here to view original /

It seems we are up in arms again, after being confronted with two, small clinical words.  Carefree’s latest advertisement features an attractive ‘carefree’ brunette, appearing seemingly naked but tastefully hidden behind an array of flowers.  She approaches the camera with a formal but quirky, direct approach, reminding us that ‘even that bit of discharge in-between our period, is our body working to keep the vagina healthy.’  Pause for a few moments as one ruggedly draws in their breath.  Did she really just mention the V and D word in a Carefree advert?

Most tampon /pad advertisements appear harmlessly less confronting, using images of fresh flowers and models gliding around in flowing dress apparel and that ubiquitous blue liquid poured directly onto white spandex underwear.  A 2010 Libra commercial for example features a supermarket of overly excited women and sharp, hyper music and a quick pan toward all the features of the new Libra tampon, fluidly finished with the catchphrase ‘There’s plenty to get excited about.’

I’m not sure in what situation a tampon is known to cause euphoria (unless it’s fitted with amphetamine) but this society has become so accustomed to euphemisms and prettily concealed innuendos, that any form of sexual confrontation outside of the doctor’s office seems to be labeled shameful and grotesque.

One might argue that we do not need to use the words ‘excrement’ when describing the qualities of expensive toilet paper or ‘penis’ when we speak about the fit of a condom and yes, a woman’s menstruation is a private and intimate matter, but it’s also a biological fact of life.

Author Lauren Rosewarne describes Carefree’s new approach as ‘frank and fearless,’ describing the usual camouflaged commercials as ‘sad indictments’ of our society.  However, Rosewarne also states that ‘frank dialogue about menstruation and discharge’ reminds both sexes of the differences between them, limiting a woman to be perceived and labeled by her ‘mood and capabilities.’ The author makes an important point that seems prevalent in our everyday lives.  How many of us have been told that we are acting ‘bad tempered’ because of ‘that time of the month?’  How many women have been described as ‘emotional’ due to the honest unveiling of how our periods affect hormonal dispositions?

Overall, our inability to accept a commercial that portrays ‘vaginal discharge’ and the vagina as something utterly normal, perhaps speaks in volumes of how well we tolerate all aspects of life.  So far, we are able to tolerate pornography and witness a man ejaculating all over a woman (that’s fine); so far we are able to tolerate watching large troops of soldiers brutally murdering the innocent, on the 6’oclock SBS news (that’s also acceptable); so far we are able to sit across the table from our friends and openly discuss our sex lives; but when it comes to our actual bodies, we seem content hiding behind discreet phrases like ‘down there’ and ‘vajajay.’