Sep 032011
As Cleopatra used to always say, "All hail my vagina!"

As Cleopatra used to always say, "All hail my vagina!"

As the summer winds down and we watch all the little kiddies head back to school, what should we do with ourselves while anxiously awaiting the return to Washington, D.C. this week of our favorite mentally/ emotionally stunted children grown- ups?

Hmm…I don’t know. Talk about vaginas, I guess?

The vagina ruiners at Summer’s Eve have come up with a brilliant new ad campaign. Unfortunately – brilliant or not – sad nit-picky nerds like me must always have Something To Say about important matters like feminine hygiene commercials.

Okay, fine. So what’s the problem?

Here is the “extended cut” of the commercial, whatever the shit that means:

(My sources have just told me that the “extended” version of something just means that it is “longer” – just like the director’s cut of a movie – only in this case it’s just a crappy ad for vag wash. Thank you, Satan.)

In the style of a dramatic, mock-epic movie trailer, the ad features a series of powerful-looking women in different historical settings. Here is a brief summary (with voice-over in italics):

  • “It’s the cradle of life.” The first scene shows a very maternal-looking, beginning-of-the-world-type figure rocking a baby.
  • “It’s the center of civilization.” Now we see Cleopatra presiding over her minions, arms raised (of course) in a “V.”
  • “Over the ages and throughout the world, men have fought for it…” The scene changes to a forest where two Asian fighters are engaging, as a lovely, doll-like Asian woman – clearly the conquest-to-be – looks on.
  • “…battled for it – even died for it.  One might say it’s the most powerful thing on Earth.” This scene has the exact same dynamic as the last but with a different geographical and historical location: it appears to be set at a joust in maybe England during, oh, I don’t know, the 16th century (pulled almost directly from ass)? Some noble-looking Caucasian lady watches lustily as the two men attempt to butcher each other – for love, of course.
  • “So c’mon, ladies – show it a little love!” And then I’m not sure if there is an actual record screech or if I just hear one in my mind. Flash forward to modern day lady in the All Things Vaginal aisle of the grocery store, deciding then and there at age 40 that she will finally empower herself by washing her vagina! Yay!

First of all, I sort of like the ad – it’s a good combination silly and serious, and it’s a bit edgy, I suppose. (Apparently millions and billions of parents who took their kids to see some Harry Potter movie and got bombarded with this smelly vagina salesmanship thought it was a bit too edgy. I am inclined to agree – it is, at the very least, a demographic-targeting failure.)

There are two shitty messages in this ad. One, of course, is that I don’t think that if you tried you could find an OB/GYN who would recommend the use of any Summer’s Eve product. Dr. Lissa Rankin from Psychology Today:

Let’s start out by stating one thing we all know very clearly. As an OB/GYN physician, I can tell you that Summer’s Eve products are not only unnecessary (who wants their vagina to smell like Delicate Blossom?)  They’re also dangerous and increase the risk of allergic reactions, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and other dermatologic conditions.

This is an incredibly important point. These products are unnecessary and potentially harmful. So how much should you trust this company that advertises based on this incentive of “empowerment,” when their products are clearly not designed with the health and well-being of women as their top priority? Furthermore, these tactics make easy prey of young women who are just growing into their bodies – and may be overloaded with hormones and insecurities already – and play on their fears to (ugh, once again) make them believe that a problem exists where it most likely does not.

The second shitty message is that all of our power lies between our legs. We can give birth, we can seduce and we can cause men to fight over us and…well, I guess that’s just about it.

See, where Summer’s Eve went wrong here is when they tried to combine a feeling of empowerment (conveyed not only in the voice-over, but also in the imagery and heroic symphony) with our ability to manipulate men – oh yeah, and also to procreate (who cares?). (And when I say ability to manipulate men, I mean ability to manipulate men; many women are aware that they can use sex as a weapon, they simply choose not to do so because, well, it’s a shitty thing to do.) And so these three things are what it means to be a powerful woman? It all comes down to the pussy?

I think we are seeing this whole controversial-ad-gets-pulled-from-air scheme more and more. Put out the ad, people get offended, and boom! they’re talking about it all over the teevee and it’s in all the dirty corners of the Internet and you’ve come out on top without spending a dime. Good for you, Summer’s Eve.

Thanks for the douchebags, douchebags!


  One Response to “Summer’s Eve to Ladies: Please Wash Your Ladyparts…for They Are Your Only Source of Power”

Comments (1)
  1. I agree – I can look at it from a PR/marketing perspective and it's a good ad and entertaining. But for us darn trouble-making ladies who think too much, it's pretty awful.

    Your two main points are right on, especially the first one – this product is not safe. They should have to put labels on it just like cigarettes. Granted, Floral Scent Vagina Air Fresheners or whatever probably won't kill you, but it does cause some nasty infections and it's just not a good idea.

    It's so offensive that there's this line of products telling us that our bodies are gross but trying to make us feel good about our womanhood at the same time. Actually, it's pretty ironic that cradle-of-life lady, Cleo, Asian and Medieval chicks definitely didn't use a ladypart cleaning product; and probably bathed once a year at that. Talk about smelly! They seemed to do just fine. Although, of those, only Cleo had any power. One was just having babies in a field and the other two were waiting to find out whose property they got to be.

    I'm still wondering why douches and cleansers and whatnot have existed for so many years, fighting the good fight of making women shave, cleanse, and make-up every outer and interior surface, but there is no widely marketed anus-cleanser available. That's an equal opportunity product. But I guess that's the answer right there.

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