Any pearl-clutching over Serena Williams doing Tampax ads seems kind of strange when you consider that the Women's Tennis Association was sponsored by cigarettes — specifically, Virginia Slims — for 20 years.

According to The New York Times, the people at Tampax don't even care that Williams threatened to shove a tennis ball down a line judge's throat.

"We didn't ever consider dropping Serena," said Courtney Schuster, a Tampax brand manager. "She accepted responsibility and apologized for what happened, and we think that demonstrates the strength of her character."

In the '80s, Olympic gymnasts did ads for Stayfree and Tampax, but, writes, Andrew Adam Newman for the Times, "an athlete of Ms. Williams's currency and renown has never been a spokeswoman." The New York Post called the ad (seen above) "uncomfortably graphic" — maybe because, unlike other ladyproduct spots which refer to a mysterious blue liquid, Mother Nature actually uses the word blood.

But the ad is actually pretty damn funny, and shocker: Ladies bleed. Celebs have replaced models on magazine covers and shill everything from Louis Vuitton to Smart Water to Tide pens and eyelash thickeners. Why not menstruation products?

Over on True/Slant, Caitlin Kelly writes:

I love the funny, frank, playful way this ad addresses what every woman knows can be an uncomfortable or embarrassing annoyance. Not your period, but not being ready for it… Women are cool, tough, powerful. And get their periods.


Exactly! So why stop at Serena Williams? Surely Gwyneth Paltrow uses some kind of pantyliners for her GOOP. The Kardashian family must use a heap of Kotex. Where are my Angelina Jolie-approved tampon travel cases?!?!

Serena Williams's Ad Deals Survive Her Outburst on Court [NY Times]
From Bad Blood To Good $$ [NY Post]
New Tampax Ad With Serena Williams Slams Every Woman's Annoyance [True/Slant]