Something interesting happened during Catfish: The TV Show on MTV on Wednesday night, and it had nothing to do with that sweet single dad getting duped by a phony using photos of a gorgeous model. (Poor Felipe.)
No, what most caught my attention was a departure from yearrrs of overly sanitized advertising practices. Specifically, when it comes to sanitary napkins.
I have endured the, ahem, full joys of womanhood for almost 20 years, and cannot ever recall having seen anything other than what looked like windshield wiper fluid being poured onto the maxi pads shilled in TV ads. Usually by some shiny haired, smiling woman dressed in white who happens to be mid-pirouette as she explains how much she adores her feminine hygiene products. (We all hate her, by the way. But we still subconsciously want to run out and buy whatever the hell she’s buying, natch.)
But suddenly, as I sat waiting for Nev Schulman to sniff out the truth (the reality-TV version of the truth, at least) MTV aired an ad showing a pinkish-red liquid being poured onto a period pad. If I had blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn’t blink. I saw it, and then I pressed re-wind on my DVR and saw it again.
I then attempted to find news articles referencing this matter to find out if this is simply what everyone’s doing now and I’m only just noticing because I’m behind on my sanitary napkin advert viewing, or if I was maybe imagining things. (If people could see “The Dress” as gold-and-white, anything is possible.)
What I learned is the Kotex ad I saw during Catfish was not actually the first to depict a somewhat scarlet-hued liquid on a maxi pad in a commercial. The brand Always did it a few years ago, though it amounted to a dot of pink rather than a healthy splash of reddish liquid as in the U by Kotex ad. On Twitter, I saw surprisingly few mentions of the ad. This suggests to me that either no one noticed or no one cares, and I’m leaning toward no one noticed – if only because people on Twitter love to talk about stuff they claim not to care about. A lot. (Yes, myself included.)
In any event, many ladies have long LOL’d at the YouTube parody videos for maxi pad ads, which are often gross, hilarious, and unfortunately, far more accurate than the highly sanitized ads put out by the brands actually selling us these products. See a particularly graphic and funny example below. (Disclaimer: This could be considered NSFW, so use your own judgment regarding your personal level of squeamishness and your workplace surfing rules.)
While seeing red instead of blue in a period pad commercial may not be entirely groundbreaking stuff, it does represent a shift. It embraces just a little more truth, just a little more reality. It teaches girls it’s okay if anti-freeze doesn’t come out of your va-jeen once a month. It normalizes the fact that periods happen, which is kind of a good thing, because they do. They happen to nearly every woman who lives, ever has lived and ever will live…for up to 40 years of her life! And make no mistake, guys – they happen to us. We didn’t elect this monthly event into our lives. So, while we’re realllly sorry some of you can’t handle the sight of a little watered-down ketchup on a piece of cotton in a TV commercial because it maybe, sort of, resembles the real life blood that comes from our down-there‘s … try having to deal with it every month like we do. (Too graphic? Nope, sorry. Too human.)
Did I expect to find myself writing an article for the Internet today about seeing someone splash some cherry Kool-Aid on a period pad on TV? Nope. But I guess finding out TV networks are now cool with airing a maxi pad ad using red liquid triggered something in me as a woman. I was compelled to share what I saw in case some of you were too busy musing over the name Paris Roxanne to notice: the red tide has officially rolled into 21st century television. And in a really weird way, that’s kind of cool. (On the other hand, we don’t market toilet paper by showing what ends up on it – THANK ALL THE GODS – so I’m still not quite sure why it is so necessary to do so when advertising feminine products.)
For more random pop culture period pad stories making headlines recently, click here. (No really, there’s at least one more. Click the link. You’ll see.)