Great Sex & Relationships

Periods Aren’t Risqué & Inappropriate

Oh, heaven forbid we should talk openly about issues surrounding uterine tissue that sheds every 28 days.

That was the reaction from the advertising company that manages subway advertising for MTA, New York City’s subway system, when a company called Thinx submitted a series of ads to run on the trains titled: “Underwear for Women with Periods.”

In an article in Mic, a spokesperson from the agency, Outfront Media, is quoted as saying that some of the imagery – a cutaway of a grapefruit, a dripping raw egg, and women wearing full-coverage panties and modest tops (even a turtleneck!) — are too risqué.

AGWDM thinx ad 1

AGWDM thinx ad 2

A grapefruit? Really? But pictures of grapefruits were perfectly acceptable in ads for breast augmentation that were on trains last year.

AGWDM thinx grapefruits

And let’s not forget the bigger than life billboard of Mark Wahlberg grabbing his crotch in a Calvin Klein underwear in the middle of Times Square over 20 years ago. Controversial, yet iconic and successful. I’m pretty sure more people have bought the underwear than the number of people that complained about the billboard and the ad that also ran in several magazines.

AGWDM marky mark calvin klein ad

The other big concern is the use of the word “periods”. The agency feels that word is inappropriate.

How can a human biological function that has occurred to half of the world’s population since the beginning of human evolution be considered inappropriate? Because kids might ask parents, “What are periods?”

Like any kid hasn’t asked that question before? Hell, I remember the time when I was shopping in the supermarket with my kids and my youngest, who was in preschool at the time, pointed at a bunch of shelves stocked with sanitary pads, and asked as loud as he could: “WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS, MOM?” Of course, I told him, just not in the middle of the supermarket. Not because thought it was an inappropriate question; it just required a lot more explanation than I was able to give while trying to get my shopping done. As far as I’m concerned, if a kid can read, he or she is old enough to know what periods are.

When I finally understood what periods were when I was 9 years old, I could never understand why advertisements for tampons and sanitary pads usually featured some woman dressed in all white smiling and running on a beach. In the 39 years I’ve been menstruating, the last thing I’ve ever done is wear all white, let alone smile and scamper about waving a white scarf in the air like a kite like I’m all happy, happy, joy, joy? Bullshit!

For God’s sake, it’s 2015, and we’re still advertising “sanitary products” the way we did 40 years ago? We still think of menstruation as something that’s immodest and shameful? No wonder why women feel embarrassed about themselves, their bodies and their sexuality. This controversy is leaving me with a “not-so-fresh feeling”.

The MTA hasn’t accepted or rejected the ads yet.