Thursday, July 26, 2012

MadMenses

So, the other day, I decided to tidy up the bathroom and get rid of various recyclable things that have been piling up for...well, a while.  

So, I'm picking stuff up, and I get to an empty box of my "feminine protection" and was immediately confronted by this:
Take Back the Conversation
See how girls are speaking out and starting a new, healthier conversation about periods and vaginal care.
My first question:

We were having a conversation about periods?

My next questions were:  

Who took this conversation away from us, and do we even want it back?!

It was at this point that I put the recycle bin down, took the empty box into the living room, and proceeded to "read" it.  Apparently, I was supposed to be doing this all along.

I found fun "fact or fiction" things like this:



And then there was the all important question:



Don't even get me started about the ultra hip color of the box (black) and the name:



I don't know about you ladies out there, but so far as "feminine protection" is concerned, I'm kind of a "do it and get it over with" gal.  I don't linger.  And that's the thing that struck me. Someone designed this box with the idea that when women take care of that monthly business thing, they really like to savor the experience. Who would think such a thing?  Only one answer:

Men.

So, consider this blog post a letter to those "MadMen" who came up with this concept and designed the packaging.

Gentlemen:

When I look for Women's Sanitary Products, the box design is the last thing I'm interested in.  I'm not going to be reading the package.  I know how to use it, I don't need directions, and I certainly don't need to be entertained.

You see, it's not like a cereal box.  Women aren't going to be perusing the package as if we were sitting at the kitchen table, eating a bowl of Rice Crispies or Raisin Bran.

I don't want to be "engaged" or "informed" by the packaging of my sanitary napkins.  I don't want to guide a cartoon woman through a maze, to help her find the "right kind of feminine protection" for her.  I don't want to read amusing riddles or ponder any "MYTH or fact?" questions.  I just want to use your product and go. Don't make me think about it, and don't make me read about it, because I'm not.

If you're going to put that kind of stuff on my feminine protection packaging, I'm telling you right now: there had better be a prize inside.  I don't care what kind of a prize...it could be jewelry. It could be a sample of Midol, or -- better yet -- chocolate covered pretzels, along with a coupon for a Wendy's PMS Extra Value Meal: a chocolate Frosty and some french fries.

Sincerely,
MaryC

P.S. Oh, and I'm not complaining about this because "I'm on the rag."

34 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

I'm enjoying your recent increase in posts. More, pls.

Carl said...

We were having a conversation about periods?

Doesn't every conversation end in periods?

Carl said...

Except the ones that end in exclamation points. Or question marks. Some might even end in ellipses or semi-colons. Nothing ever ends in a colon.

Anonymous said...

The finest argument against Intelligent Design - the monthly messes.
I am so glad to be through with this and no longer need to buy Feminine Sanitary Protection - with or without wings or informative conversations with packaging.
Suezboo

heydave said...

While i sympathize, inasfar as I can, I may have gotten on the wrong bus today. I'll just back away quietly...

FrJohn said...

Being male, I am not personally involved in this "conversation." I am, however, imagining asking the French version of these questions to my wife in a soothing, Charles Boyer voice.

Lisa Golden said...

Hilarious!

When I was out of work, I started using coupons to stretch those scarce dollars. That meant that sometimes I had to fill out short questionnaires to obtain online coupons.

The feminine hygiene products particularly cracked me up and I think I actually answered a survey about this product with its reading material.

Funnily enough, not a single survey gave the option of clicking "I buy whatever is on sale and has a matching coupon because I'm broke!"

Those marketers were wasting a lot of energy and not asking the right question.

Carl said...

Heydave, make sure to circle the date 28 days in advance from this one on your calendar.

Make it a big bright red circle, too.

Woodrowfan said...

so what's the answer to the shark question?

Ugluks Flea said...

so what's the answer to the shark question?

I would guess the answer would be "probably, but they likely wouldn't care unless you were a sea lion"

Male dolphins, on the other hand, would be of greater concern. They get... ideas.

Chris Vosburg said...

WellSir, round these parts we don't brook backsass from our fillies, and we sure as hell don't take it from our fillies' tampons' ad inserts neither.

Seriously, Mary, I note that myth ou realite is numbered 35, and want to know if there were 34 preceding it in this piece of literature, or it was just a shuffle sort of deal, where you have to menstruate a whole lot to collect the entire set, like chewing a lot of gum to collect the entire set of baseball cards.

It's revolting in either case-- I mean, has anyone every chewed the plank of supposed chewing gum that came with a pack of baseball cards?

Chris Vosburg said...

Woodrow fan ask: so what's the answer to the shark question?

I think I can handle this one.

Shark cartilage was an imagined cancer cure, or an imagined ward against it, in the eighties, and I was introduced to my father's latest wife then (it was his, like, fifth or sixth), with her declaration that she was an enthusiastic advocate. She asked me if I'd ever heard of a shark getting cancer, and I was forced to admit that, well, no, I hadn't, so there. Few logical arguments are as well won as hers was that day.

Phony "shark supplements" were theretofore hawked with miraculous properties, and I imagine this was one of them.

For the record, sharks do get cancer. Whether they menstruate, well, I doubt it, seein' as how they're not mammals.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

This comment thread was much more informative than I imagined it would be.

Chris Vosburg said...

Mary, it wasn't explicitly said in the previous comments, so I'll make it so:

You crack me up. Nicely done.

Scott said...

"It's revolting in either case-- I mean, has anyone every chewed the plank of supposed chewing gum that came with a pack of baseball cards?"

I did, once.

Once.

I doubt that stuff had ever seen the inside of a gum tree, and judging purely on texture and tensile strength, it seemed more like vinyl siding, or those adhesive linoleum tiles by GAF that Henry Fonda used to hawk on TV. So when I didn't simply throw it in the trash -- contributing to the toxicity of the local water table -- I used it to reshingle my sister's dollhouse.

Scott said...

Oh, and as for the other Myths or Facts about Menstruation, I hope they're working from this site, because it's pretty entertaining -- a sort of light-hearted approach, for those "light days" (sample myths: "Dental fillings will fall out if received during menstruation" and "Women with their periods get attacked by bears and sharks more frequently").

Chris Vosburg said...

Hear dat Scott, the damn thing was so fucking hard that I think I may have actually cut myself chewing it. Might as well have trying chewing a razor blade.

I imagine it as easy to produce a chewable piece of gum as an unchewable one., and wonder as a result: what was the marketing strategy here?

Chris Vosburg said...

Tahns for tht Scott. Among the "revelations":

Other people can tell that you have your period.

There is absolutely no way for others to tell, unless you bleed through your white shorts like I did at summer camp because I was so into flirting with Bobby Lackey that I forgot about changing my tampon. So, as long as you stay away from Bobby Lackey, you should be fine.

There's a refreshing honesty to this, and I applaud writer Julie Kraut for it.

maryclev said...

I am, however, imagining asking the French version of these questions to my wife in a soothing, Charles Boyer voice.

That's another thing about feminine products! So far, almost each product I have, be it hair, make-up, what-have-you, has alternate directions and the like in French.

Apparently, these product packagers think women in the US speak either English or French. Spanish? Screw you! German? Out of luck! Russian? You're a Commie!

Interestingly, the only feminine products I have that don't include directions in French (or any other language)are the shaving and deodorant products.

Make your own conclusions about that.

maryclev said...


Chris Vosburg said...

Mary, it wasn't explicitly said in the previous comments, so I'll make it so:

You crack me up. Nicely done.

M. Bouffant said...

I'm enjoying your recent increase in posts. More, pls.


Thank you, Chris and M. Glad you enjoyed it. It's one I've been simmering about for awhile now (it's actually based on an outburst I had at Target while my sister and I were in the Feminine Protection Section) and it felt good to get it out in writing.

And, M- I will try to post more often. In fact I have a related post to this one that is...well. You'll have to wait and see.

Chris Vosburg said...

Mary writes: That's another thing about feminine products! So far, almost each product I have, be it hair, make-up, what-have-you, has alternate directions and the like in French.

[Charles Boyer in Gaslight voice] Oh Paula, Paula, can you not see, it is your madness and only your madness?

You are on the rag, yes?

Scott said...

Doesn't every conversation end in periods?...Except the ones that end in exclamation points. Or question marks.

I don't actually think it's possible for a conversation to end in a question mark, since that would imply someone just walked off and left the other party hanging. Which means that technically it's no longer a "conversation" -- it's a "huff."

heydave said...

OK! Something I know about!

Chris, those pink planks are meant to be shims that you carry around in your wallet, enabling you to be the next bar/restaurant hero when confronted with a shaky table.

Chris Vosburg said...

Yes, as John Emdahl (the ever fetching Rosalind Cash) in ending a series of demands to Buckaroo Banzai, says "end of discussion".to which Jeff Goldblum responds "discussion what discussion?"

Chris Vosburg said...

I apologize Mary, i think we sort of got off topic here.

This was about your vagina [laughing], right?

maryclev said...

I apologize Mary, i think we sort of got off topic here.

This was about your vagina [laughing], right?


Oh, Chris. Sweet, innocent Chris. It's not my vagina; it's OUR vagina!

http://youtu.be/Agfhgn1_yKE

Anonymous said...

@maryclev -

The French is for parts of Canada. I see it on a lot of packages. The choice of using French, Spanish, or both is I think a choice of market targeting and distribution patterns.

gbbalto

Bill S said...

thanks, gbbalto.
Y'know, that's one of those explanations that sounds so simple and obvious, it should have its own category: "Things that make you go DOY!"

Li'l Innocent said...

Maybe the language has shifted (with many other things) since I was part of the product-using demographic for femhyg, but I don't recall the phrase "on your period" being commonplace either on packaging or in normal conversation. We of my generation said "having your period", or "menstruating" if we were feeling haughty and technical.

I think I've come across the "on" construction in a British context. That plus the French translation on Mary's gossipy packagjng makes me wonder if it could have originated in Canada? The whole idea of it suggests that the PR people thought that women would be perusing it the same way many people read while seated on the Bathroom Bowl, in an interlude of privacy and relaxation amid the hurly-burly of 21st century life.

Which is the kind of thing that people whose largest city has a murder rate 1/8th that of Chicago's would come up with.

Li'l Innocent said...

I see gbbalto beat me to it, no doubt while I was googling crime statistics.

Chris Vosburg said...

Mary writes:

Eight miles, huh? I know a guy who --

Okay [hands raised in resignation], I won't make any more vagina jokes.

ckc (not kc) said...

...everything ends in the colon

Debbi said...

Awesome! Hurray!!! :D

Carl said...

@Chris,

Some sharks like bull sharks are viviparous.

I don't know that they menstruate, but they certainly could and it's implied from the fact that they have a complete kit of ovaries and uterus. It seems unlikely they'd produce eggs on demand.