Tampax "believes in a world where women can live without limits," according to the feminine care product line's Facebook page. So why is its new line of "Radiant" tampons so obnoxiously retrograde?
"Sacrifice a beloved skirt to the period gods?! Never!" proclaims one super chic and sassy ad for "Tampax Radiant," a new line of tampons that...hmm...how are tampons radiant? Do they glow in the dark? Can we replace our bike lights with Tampax?
Nope; the chief selling point behind "Tampax Radiant" is that the tampons are discrete, because god forbid any man, child, or small animal ever see you carrying the Object That Must Not Be Named in public.
From Tampax's website:
Tampax Radiant tampons combine Tampax's best-ever same great protection available from Tampax Pearl leak protection plus a one-of-a-kind resealable wrapper for discrete disposal. Our Ultimate Protection Experience.
Advertisements feature a fashion blogger wearing some Claudia Kishi-worthy colors but cheekily shushing her lips, as if to say: "Ladies! Just because it's that time of the month doesn't mean you have to hide." Unless someone hears you crinkle your wrapper, in which case, off to the Red Tent with you!
Here's a photo of the line's uber-girly packaging — ooh, a "Softer, quieter wrapper to keep it a secret" and a "chic little extendable applicator" that looks exactly like every other applicator on the market, except maybe shinier. There's a link to beinggirl.com, a Procter & Gamble site for teenagers about period talk and pores and how embarrassing puberty is.
While Kotex runs clever "Reality Check" ads that make fun of ridiculous tampon advertising tropes — women clad in white spandex dancing on the beach, etc. — these Tampax ads wouldn't look out of place in Mad Men. Which sucks, because I hate how I feel like I have to be so covert when asking a coworker to borrow a tampon or carrying one in my hand on the way to the bathroom.
"It's okay to have your period," I remind myself when I feel oddly embarrassed to admit that I'm bleeding. "You're a woman! You literally make the world go round with your flow!" (I'm good at giving myself pep talks, right?) Tampax's teen-friendly campaign reminds me how that shame definitely stems from adolescence. "Radiant," my ass.