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“Tampon is not a dirty word, and neither is vagina."
March 18, 2010 11:31 AM   Subscribe

After decades of selling tampons and "sanitary products" with ads containing nebulous, euphemistic images and language, Kotex launched a new product line, 'U by Kotex' and a 'Declaration of Real Talk Campaign' to encourage girls and women to speak about menstruation without embarrassment. Ironically, their ad was rejected by the major US television networks for mentioning the word 'vagina'. Here's the 'safe for the viewing public' version. / YT channel.

For every person who signs up at their website, Kotex will make a $1 donation to Girls For A Change.
posted by zarq (193 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Couple of relevant quotes:

From the Boston Herald link:
Andrew Meurer, vp, Kimberly-Clark: "We live in a society that's created shame and embarrassment around periods and vaginal health, and it really restricts honest dialogue. Today's advertising is very paternalistic and euphemistic. You've got blue goo demos, you have women all stereotyped in white, and you've got euphemisms like 'Mother Nature coming to give you a gift.'"
And from Salon.com:
"Kotex may be using all this empowerment to sell their bitchin' new pads in a cool black box, but if somewhere in the package they're also selling girls on the notion that their bodies and their functions are nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be afraid of, and they're no damn field of daisies either, that's just fine. It might even be worth doing cartwheels over."

posted by zarq at 11:32 AM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Even the Queen
posted by DU at 11:36 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If this will get rid of that awkward "turn away from the tv and make nonsensical small talk as soon as a commercial starts talking about 'light days' or 'heavy flow' or 'feeling free to go swimming at any time'" reaction then I'm all for it. No, dude, I haven't been wondering what's up with the weather lately.
posted by sallybrown at 11:39 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


DUDE
Is that what that's a picture of?

MAUDE
In a sense, yes...
My art has been commended as being
strongly vaginal. Which bothers
some men. The word itself makes
some men uncomfortable. Vagina.

DUDE
Oh yeah?

MAUDE
Yes, they don't like hearing it and
find it difficult to say. Whereas
without batting an eye a man will
refer to his "dick" or his "rod" or
his "Johnson".

DUDE
"Johnson"?
posted by CitoyenK at 11:41 AM on March 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


You've come a long way, baby.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:42 AM on March 18, 2010


Even the commercial with the words "down there" was rejected, when during any given football game, you might see 20 or 30 penis pill commercials talking about "erectile dysfunction" or "that CERTAIN part of the male anatomy" or "see a size increase guaranteed!" .. Retarded. Besides, Chappelle had the right idea with ROCA Pads!
posted by ReeMonster at 11:42 AM on March 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Is this something I would have to have a TV... and a Nielson box to effectively boycott over?

Once in a while I think we are making real progress in this country at the grand social movement of not being idiots, and then 3 major networks disabuse that notion by refusing to allow the word vagina on television.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:43 AM on March 18, 2010


What I don't understand is how this campaign relates to the product. The ad is cute, but from what I can see, you made the tampon box black and made the wrappers cute bright colors.
Oh goodie. I always wanted to talk freely about my period, and now that my tampon wrapper matches my purse, I really feel like I can.
posted by slow graffiti at 11:43 AM on March 18, 2010


Tangenitally related (see what I did there?): Sarah Haskins on "down there" euphemisms (Previously)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:47 AM on March 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


Just to get this out of the way: Annuale, MAD TV's John Madden Vagisil Parody.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:47 AM on March 18, 2010


You're a young lady now, so no more boys pants and hair in pigtales. (Kotex brochures and ads from decades past, via theora55 over on MetaChat).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:47 AM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Frankly, as long as they still want me to wear a goddamn plastic diaper and/or expensive one-use inserts, the feminine care industry can lick me. "Down there".

Cloth pads or a Diva Cup are much cheaper over the long run, way more comfortable, and better for me and for the environment. The only thing they're not better for is profits for Kotex... which is, I suppose, why they think a black box and "lipstick colors" counts as "real talk" about menstrual products.
posted by vorfeed at 11:48 AM on March 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


Oh no! If we start being able to talk openly about our periods, how will we ever convince boys that we all have secret powers??
posted by Mizu at 11:48 AM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


the ad is actually kind of funny but the box looks like it has caffeinated gum in it or some shit
posted by nathancaswell at 11:49 AM on March 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:49 AM on March 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


OK, I'm just waiting to see if the same people who insist we should employ euphemistic talk so as not to offend anyone is going to see that this sort of thing is what you find further down that road. Probably not, since THEY are not offended by 'vagina', so why would anyone else be? "No, we're a different kind of offended! One that should count, unlike this one!"

Saying 'vagina' is offensive to some people. But saying 'girlie's secret po-po garden' or something similar is ok. Even though they mean the same damn thing. Isn't that retarded? I mean moronic? I mean.....uh....whackity-doodly-crackity-whoo?

Anytime we actually talk about what we're talking about instead of around it so as not to hurt the ineffable 'feelings' of some (often uninvolved) party, then it's good, imho.
posted by umberto at 11:50 AM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Har, the Boston Herald article gave me a JetBlue ad.
posted by mkb at 11:52 AM on March 18, 2010


What an amazing, earth-shattering discovery!

Supporting Kotex supports this guy. I don't want him anywhere near my cooch, and neither should you.

Diva Cup, Diva Cup, Diva Cup.
posted by Madamina at 11:57 AM on March 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


I Have A Good Attitude About Menstruation from the Kids in the Hall.
posted by electroboy at 11:57 AM on March 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


Also: VAGINA.
posted by Madamina at 11:57 AM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


OK, I'm just waiting to see if the same people who insist we should employ euphemistic talk so as not to offend anyone is going to see that this sort of thing is what you find further down that road. Probably not, since THEY are not offended by 'vagina', so why would anyone else be? "No, we're a different kind of offended! One that should count, unlike this one!"

Not saying "retarded" when you actually mean "bad" ("that idea is bad" versus "that idea is retarded") is not "employ[ing] euphemistic talk," though, it's asking people to say what they actually mean. (Just as "that idea is gay" doesn't actually mean "that idea is attracted to people of its same gender.")

Maybe these situations would be analogous if vaginas started to speak and told everyone that using the word "vagina" in a pejorative way was offensive to them. But I'm thinking that's unlikely to occur.

Other than that, "I don't like hearing the word vagina" =/= "I don't like people using my sexual orientation pejoratively to mean 'lame.'"
posted by sallybrown at 11:58 AM on March 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


I have never understood the culture of squick about menstruation. It's something half the human population does and it's just a natural part of life.

Then again, surveys indicate that about 80% of people pick their noses and we act like that's weird, so sometimes I start to believe that people choose to be squicked out by things.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:58 AM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Obligatory Kids In The Hall sketch.
posted by mhum at 11:59 AM on March 18, 2010


Gosh darnit.
posted by mhum at 11:59 AM on March 18, 2010


"No, we're a different kind of offended! One that should count, unlike this one!"
posted by umberto at 11:59 AM on March 18, 2010


In the UK we get adverts talking about restoring your vagina's natural pH levels.
posted by dng at 12:01 PM on March 18, 2010


I was terrified as a kid talking about it and the fact that it started when I was 9 didn't help. My mom would put these bulky pads wrapped in handkerchiefs and safety pin them inside my uniform vest. No 9 year old carried a purse back then so that's all we could do. Lovely dysmennorrhea and menorraghea left me with embarassing accidents in front of the whole school (thanks to a teacher who made me stand up in front of everyone). It left me mordified.

Now my favorite joke is a yo mamma joke.

Yo mamma is so poor and nasty, she uses a tampon as a tea bag.
Thank you, thank you very much.

Oh yea and

VAGINA.
posted by stormpooper at 12:02 PM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The "Reality Check" ad is pretty funny.

Also, unless your 14 you probably shouldn't use retarded as a way to say something is bad. That's just gay.
posted by chunking express at 12:03 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


'girlie's secret po-po garden'

Great band name!
posted by stormpooper at 12:03 PM on March 18, 2010


"No, we're a different kind of offended! One that should count, unlike this one!"

At the risk of derailing, I'd like to point out that there are actual things that we should legitimately be offended by. Genocide, for example. Racism. The strong exploiting the weak.

Saying your same dumb jibe a second time doesn't persuade anyone of anything. Please stop.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:04 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the UK we get adverts talking about restoring your vagina's natural pH levels.

Oh, I've seen ads for that in the US too. Except they don't say "vagina" either.

Nor do they say "sex." (The ad copy coyly suggests that you can use it "after intimacy".)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:07 PM on March 18, 2010


'Maybe these situations would be analogous if vaginas started to speak and told everyone that using the word "vagina" in a pejorative way was offensive to them. But I'm thinking that's unlikely to occur.'

Nobody seemed to bat an eye about Forgetting Sarah Marshall's "I can see your vagina from here!"
posted by mkb at 12:07 PM on March 18, 2010


Other than that, "I don't like hearing the word vagina" =/= "I don't like people using my sexual orientation pejoratively to mean 'lame.'"

Not to nitpick here, but anti-ablists would rather you not refer to things you dislike as "lame."
posted by stinker at 12:08 PM on March 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm not against a bit of euphemism in TV advertising. I don't really want to hear 'it'll really leave your anus clean' everytime there's an advert for toilet paper for example.
posted by selton at 12:08 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is exactly what we invented the word "va-jay-jay" for, Kotex.
posted by rusty at 12:10 PM on March 18, 2010


Pillow-soft Quilted Metafilter: It'll really leave your anus clean.
posted by rusty at 12:11 PM on March 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


(Not to be confused with NASA's Outer Planets Spacecraft Recovery Program, "It'll really leave Uranus clean!")
posted by rusty at 12:13 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh! Hip and edgy marketing! I NOTICED this ad! Seeing these ads and buying these products is EMPOWERING ladies!

I don't have a problem with this kind of language, but acting like they're doing something brave and bold is ridiculous. It's an advertisement.
posted by delmoi at 12:14 PM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Re: "Girlie's secret po-po garden" - po-po is common slang for the police (at least in the US).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:18 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually think this is awesome. Especially since their petitiony thing just says that you should talk "openly and without embarrassment about periods and vaginal care with your friends and family . . . " I think that's a terrific goal, even if it's being promoted to sell a specific product.

So, metafilter, let's talk! I couldn't for the life of me figure out tampons until I was 18 and tried OBs for the first time. I went out to a movie with some friends and I remember my (female) friend acting all embarrassed when I proudly told her I was wearing a tampon (I was excited! I'd been trying for years!). I used tampons through college, switched to sea sponges in grad school, and finally got a diva cup this year. I'm wearing it right now! And I love it!

Also: vagina. Also, also: PepsiBlueLiquidInMyUnderwear.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:21 PM on March 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Didn't Kotex make quite a few of the ads that they are now lambasting?

Just saying.
posted by Talanvor at 12:23 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Very amusing. Glad I never argue.
posted by surrendering monkey at 12:25 PM on March 18, 2010


No, see you laugh at racism. It feeds off your outrage. Outrage, in general, is highly nutritious and keeps many things alive that would perish if not so well fed.

And you can scoff at my dumb jibe, but I can think of nothing that points it up more than the poster who pointed out that my first detractor used 'lame.' Cause...hey, that's lost it's offensive connotation. Because we use it.

See how that works, there? Just like secrets and vampires and sacred scrolls covered with nonsense, everything loses power in the sunlight. Otherwise, just keep empowering the badness....
posted by umberto at 12:28 PM on March 18, 2010


Oh, and speaking of embarrassment about periods--when I got mine for the first time at nearly 12, my mother offered to show me how to put a tampon in. I was mortified, and as you can probably tell, I'm generally not a person who is mortified by such things. In the event of any eventual daughters, I'm curious: is there a way to avoid totally embarrassing a 12-y-o girl and still help her with this stuff? Any mefites successfully navigate that?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:29 PM on March 18, 2010


PhoBWanKenobi... more like FloBWanKenobi... amirite? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
posted by nathancaswell at 12:32 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


"No, we're a different kind of offended! One that should count, unlike this one!"

So you're saying anyone who gets offended about anything should be given as much accommodation as is given to the person/group who is most justifiably offended by something?

In other words, if we lived in a world where racial slurs were considered gravely offensive, and for that reason you refrained from using them, I could tell you the word "pencil" gravely offended me and you would stop using the word "pencil" as well?
posted by sallybrown at 12:32 PM on March 18, 2010


My mom used my dry erase tablet from school to help explain both periods (which my sister had just started and were imminent for me) and ovarian cysts (which my aunt was dealing with at the time). I was embarrassed about it, but really grateful for the explanation.

A couple years later, when I did start my period, she also offered to show me how tampons worked. She demonstrated on herself. It was the first time I ever saw a woman's vulva (including my own; I had never looked). It was awkward, but fascinating.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:34 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, see you laugh at racism. It feeds off your outrage. Outrage, in general, is highly nutritious and keeps many things alive that would perish if not so well fed.

Oh, you're saying because all offenses are basically equal no one should be offended by anything? We should all just laugh it off, right? It's great that you've been able to get through life this way, but not everyone is that privileged.
posted by sallybrown at 12:35 PM on March 18, 2010


Didn't Kotex make quite a few of the ads that they are now lambasting?

Yes, this is apparently a new marketing direction for the company.
posted by zarq at 12:36 PM on March 18, 2010


Vagina offends me because it's Latin for "sheath". I'm not a fucking carrying case for your penis.
posted by Partario at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2010 [24 favorites]


Oh no! If we start being able to talk openly about our periods, how will we ever convince boys that we all have secret powers??
posted by Mizu at 2:48 PM on March 18


You control our heart rates with your eyes.

You control our minds with your smile.

You can make us read poetry.

Voluntarily.

On our own.

And like it.

Your whispers command more attention than a king's edict.

There is more energy in the delicate touch of your hand than on the face of the sun.

And what's worst of all, you have the power to make a horrible song by the Pet Shop Boys one of the most endearing and meaningful songs I've heard in my life.

We know all about your secret powers, and how powerless we are against them.

Isn't it wonderful?
posted by Pastabagel at 12:45 PM on March 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


Vagina offends me because it's Latin for "sheath".

"Penis" is latin for "tail". My cock is not a tail.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:45 PM on March 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


No, see you laugh at racism. It feeds off your outrage. Outrage, in general, is highly nutritious and keeps many things alive that would perish if not so well fed.

Maybe in your world where racism is a couple of guys sitting on a street corner complaining about strangers, but when racism is lynchings and Apartheid and genocide, I don't really feel like laughing. I must be too sensitive.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:46 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whew! Am I glad we bought that TiVo box.
posted by Drasher at 12:48 PM on March 18, 2010


"Penis" is latin for "tail". My cock is not a tail.

Touche.
posted by Partario at 12:49 PM on March 18, 2010


mmmmm cocktail.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:52 PM on March 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


When I was a kid, we always watched The Cosby Show. I was so confused when there was a Very Special Episode where Rudy got her first period.

"What does that even mean? How do you "get" a punctuation mark? I just don't understand!"
posted by kmz at 12:56 PM on March 18, 2010


I'm saying that people who use the word 'gay' to mean something other than same-sex interests but who are offended by the use of 'vagina' have just as valid a point as you do. Which --to me, personally-- is not a very valid point. To me.

Again --to me-- it comes down to what you feel is important and offensive. You want to justify being offended by something not really meant to be offensive. At least not in the sense that you are offended. You don't care how it was intended. To you, intent of usage is meaningless, it is the fact of the 'word' that matters. That seems cosmetic and utterly bullshit to me, but hey. We all have our quirks.
posted by umberto at 1:00 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, we always watched The Cosby Show. I was so confused when there was a Very Special Episode where Rudy got her first period.

"What does that even mean? How do you "get" a punctuation mark? I just don't understand!
"

Um, duh, you need the punctuation mark so someday you can give birth to your own little sub sandwich.
posted by sallybrown at 1:02 PM on March 18, 2010


Yeah, when you get too sensitive, the sense of humor is the first thing to go. Don't let that happen. Hey, if man is the animal that laughs, and we stop laughing...ain't nothin' left but the animals, eh?

I think laughing in the face of evil is probably the most demeaning thing you can do to it. But again, maybe being all serious-facey all the time is better. It certainly makes one feel more important, that's true.
posted by umberto at 1:04 PM on March 18, 2010


umberto, please MeMail me if you want to take this discussion further. It's a serious derail, and I don't really want to take up any more time in this thread trying to explain why you aren't the arbiter of what other people should find offensive.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:08 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


i want a commercial about feminine hygiene products that uses the phrase "shark week" and talks about how IT SOAKS UP BLOOD.

also, i am SO HAPPY about my hysterectomy. i used to have all kinds of spotting issues and unpredictable/irregular menstrual periods.

the time i got my period when i went off on a high school camping/hiking trip was pretty awesome. HI MY CROTCH IS COVERED IN BLOOD. PLEASE DON'T STARE.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:09 PM on March 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


"Penis" is latin for "tail".

Cool. I gotta remember that for when some guy says he's "gonna get some tail".
posted by qvantamon at 1:14 PM on March 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


I feel like the Diva Cup is the Ron Paul of menstrual products: popular on the internet, will save you money, but just doesn't appeal to the general public.
posted by betweenthebars at 1:21 PM on March 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


Mizu: Oh no! If we start being able to talk openly about our periods, how will we ever convince boys that we all have secret powers??

To some of us...like my 'thrown by the smallest unplanned situation' ass... reminding me that you live with periods on a regular basis seems awfully darn close to a super power. (And please don't mistake my flippancy for gynophobia; I mean that in the most cliched 'yay grrl power' way you could take it.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:32 PM on March 18, 2010


Announcer: (Eric Idle) Are you embarrassed easily? I am. But it's nothing to worry about, it's all part of growing up and being British. This course is designed to eliminate embarrassment, to enable you to talk freely about rude objects, to look at awkward and embarrassing things and to point at people's privates. The course has been designed by Dr. Carl Gruber of the 'Institute of Going a Bit Red' in Helsinki. Here he himself introduces the course.

Dr Gruber: (Michael Palin) Hello my name is Carl Gruber. Thank you for inviting me into your home. My method is the result of six years work here at the institute in which subjects were exposed to simulated embarrassment predicaments over a prolonged fart. Period! Time! (sound of him farting). Sorry. Lesson one, Words. Do any of these words (farts) embarrass you?
posted by kcds at 1:34 PM on March 18, 2010


I feel like the Diva Cup is the Ron Paul of menstrual products: popular on the internet, will save you money, but just doesn't appeal to the general public.

Just a guess, but that could be because they're made by a small company without a huge advertising budget.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:34 PM on March 18, 2010


Man, I just cannot get a Diva Cup (or the cheap version I have) to sit correctly. I finally just gave up.
Oh, and speaking of embarrassment about periods--when I got mine for the first time at nearly 12, my mother offered to show me how to put a tampon in. I was mortified, and as you can probably tell, I'm generally not a person who is mortified by such things. In the event of any eventual daughters, I'm curious: is there a way to avoid totally embarrassing a 12-y-o girl and still help her with this stuff? Any mefites successfully navigate that?
Up to a point, parents are embarrassing because they exist, so there's probably no perfect embarrassment-free method of anything. In my case, though, I'd been briefed beforehand, so when I started I just thought "huh, so that's what they meant by 'spotting'" and went to the cupboard and got a pad. My mother noticed the change in supplies the next day and asked me about it, and I said that yeah, my period had started. She then told my brothers and father that I was "becoming a woman" and took me out to buy a new outfit and have a women's-afternoon-out lunch together. That was about it. At the time, I was mildly embarrassed that she was making such a "huge freaking deal" about it, but in retrospect, I appreciate the rite of passage. I think the key to keeping trauma to a minimum is to explain what's going to happen ahead of time, and then not have anyone flip out when the time comes. (It probably helps that my brothers had an "eh, whatever" response rather than deciding it was something that needed teasing about or being grossed out.)

Nobody ever showed me how to use a tampon; I just read the instructions on the box, had one false start, and then carried on.
When I was a kid, we always watched The Cosby Show. I was so confused when there was a Very Special Episode where Rudy got her first period.

"What does that even mean? How do you "get" a punctuation mark? I just don't understand!"
I had a girl at camp once ask if I'd had my "end of the sentence" yet, which baffled me, and she had to ask several times. When I got it, I thought she was the weirdest person ever. "You mean, have I had my period? No, not yet. Have you?" Seriously, 'period' is practically already a euphemism.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:37 PM on March 18, 2010


When I hear secret po-po garden I think of a bunch of cops shamefully looking over their shoulder as the weed the marigolds.

vagina.
posted by Mick at 1:42 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just a guess, but that could be because they're made by a small company without a huge advertising budget.

I also wonder if some women think they're going to leak or be messy. I dated someone in the 90's who tried a Mooncup, had trouble getting it to sit properly, and went back to tampons because she didn't want to have to worry about leakage.
posted by zarq at 1:44 PM on March 18, 2010


I actually think this is awesome. Especially since their petitiony thing just says that you should talk "openly and without embarrassment about periods and vaginal care with your friends and family . . . " I think that's a terrific goal, even if it's being promoted to sell a specific product.

That's an admirable goal, but has nothing to do with what they actually did.

There's a big difference between telling things as they are, and playing the tired old "let's be knowingly cynical about misleading advertising" card.

That same strategy, designed to insinuate the advertiser & their product into a position of cameraderie alongside their advertising-weary & media-savvy young target market, has been used dozens of times for big-name clients - perhaps most notably in the campaign:

"PepsiBlue will not make you a sports star, it won't make you more attractive to the opposite sex. When I'm thirsty, I obey my thirst! Drink PepsiBlue!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:50 PM on March 18, 2010


I used to use my keeper (like the diva cup) and loved it, but I found public bathrooms to be difficult. OB's still get a little blood on my finger, but i found the keeper was a little too messy for public bathrooms. I sometimes didn't get the seal just right, but I also preferred to rinse between emptyings. correlation/causation?

I like the idea of talking openly. I don't love the idea of it coming from a corporation, but if a company wants to backhandedly market themselves to progressive women and slowly sell the rest of the public on the 21st century, then I'll take it.

VAGINA. There, that wasn't so hard, was it?
posted by Sweetdefenestration at 1:52 PM on March 18, 2010


To you, intent of usage is meaningless, it is the fact of the 'word' that matters. That seems cosmetic and utterly bullshit to me, but hey.

It's a serious derail

I think it has a lot to do with whether we should be able to say "vagina" on TV, though.

Where umberto and I disagree is that I think the effects of usage on the listener matter (in addition to the intent of the speaker).

Umberto, how do you factor in how a word affects the listener? I use the word "ignorant" when one person says something harmful without realizing that it is harmful. She may not realize she's causing harm because she doesn't yet know something--but we argue if she did know that something, she would stop using the harmful word. That doesn't mean the offensiveness of the word changes with the speaker's intent, so what else could it correlate to? The listener.

You can certainly argue that the listener should not take offense (i.e. tell her to laugh it off). For example, it would be ridiculous of me to expect you to stop saying "pencil" because it grievously offends me. There is nothing inherently offensive about using "pencil." Anything offensive comes from my mind rather than the word itself. You explaining that could lead to my no longer being offended.

I do agree that intent of usage matters. While I would argue something can still be offensive if spoken in full ignorance, I think the speaker does not bear the responsibility for harm in those situations (though I think that would be very rare). If the speaker uses "gay" to mean "uncool" and has no conception of the word "gay" outside that meaning, perhaps he bears little blame. If the speaker knows that using "gay" to mean "uncool" is harmful to some people, but does it anyways (semi-unthinkingly, even) because everyone in his community does, then the speaker bears more of the blame. If the speaker uses "gay" to mean "uncool" in front of someone he knows will take grievous offense, and he does so to inflict that offense, then I think the speaker is even more blameworthy.

But in all three situations, I think the use of the word "gay" to mean "uncool" can be considered offensive, because it stems from equating an immutable characteristic with something inherently negative. The offensiveness comes from equating these two things, and it's present beyond the listener's mind whether or not the specific speaker knows about it. It would be hard to argue this is irrational, as in the case with "pencil."

The "vagina" issue (to get back on track) is even more complicated, because (if you are right), some people take grievous offense to the use of the word, and other people take grievous offense to a ban on using the word. As a possessor of the organ in question, it makes me angry that someone thinks my body part is unspeakable--so inherently offensive that any mention of it should be blocked from television. Euphemisms ("va-jay-jay") further distort the potency of the actual word (that word we can't say), twisting it from a physiological term to profanity.

Is the vagina issue the pencil situation or the "gay=uncool" situation? Why are people objecting to it, and in what situations? Kotex is not trying to use the word "vagina" to mean anything other than "vagina." People who object are objecting to hearing the plain word itself in its accepted usage. I would argue this means they are irrational in objecting, and that anything offensive attached to the word "vagina" (it's dirty, it's involved in sex, it's impolite) comes from their own minds. Just like with me and "pencil." Even if Kotex knows this and persists in trying to say "vagina" on TV, that shouldn't make the word offensive, because objecting to its use is irrational.
posted by sallybrown at 1:52 PM on March 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


I see they passed on using the whole "tampons can also be used as nunchucks" idea.

Damn.
posted by stormpooper at 1:54 PM on March 18, 2010


I also wonder if some women think they're going to leak or be messy. I dated someone in the 90's who tried a Mooncup, had trouble getting it to sit properly, and went back to tampons because she didn't want to have to worry about leakage.

Hmm, my sister had the same experience with a Mooncup. I wonder if that was more common with them. I haven't had any problems at all with the DivaCup unless I leave it in for, like, twelve hours, which is the upper limit of what's recommended (and much better than a tampon). However, my attitude is probably different about leakage after using sea sponges. Those would leak whenever I coughed or sneezed. Awkward!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:56 PM on March 18, 2010


I feel like the Diva Cup is the Ron Paul of menstrual products: popular on the internet, will save you money, but just doesn't appeal to the general public.

I agree, but I also can't help thinking that the "doesn't appeal to the general public" part is largely a result of marketing. Before the advent of "convenient" disposable products, nobody would have thought it was weird and/or gross to bleed onto something, wash it out, and then do it over again... because that's what women did.

The DivaCup idea is not new -- the first such cups came out in the 30s. What's new is the internet. The level playing field it provides allows ideas like this to compete with huge companies like Kotex.
posted by vorfeed at 1:57 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a big difference between telling things as they are, and playing the tired old "let's be knowingly cynical about misleading advertising" card.

Is it? Did you watch the video where they explain how to insert a tampon using a giant stuffed vagina? It seemed pretty frank and straight-forward to me, and world's better than, say, Dove's "Campaign for Real beauty."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:57 PM on March 18, 2010


...I proudly told her I was wearing a tampon...

Do people wear tampons? Curious.

I don't have periods, but I sometimes use sanitary pads, because, you know, it's sanitary. I'm happy for people to use the word vagina in adverts for them, but as long as they cease using the word napkin. I've also seen them called serviettes in some weird foreign back-translation, which was a real WTF? moment.

Also: FANNY, CUNT, LADYGARDEN.
posted by Sova at 1:58 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I used to use my keeper (like the diva cup) and loved it, but I found public bathrooms to be difficult. OB's still get a little blood on my finger, but i found the keeper was a little too messy for public bathrooms. I sometimes didn't get the seal just right, but I also preferred to rinse between emptyings. correlation/causation?

When I'm in public/non-private bathrooms, I generally just wad up some TP and clean it out, using the TP as a barrier between my hand and the cup. This seems to do the job fine, and keep my hands clean, but I'm not really that finicky about rinsing it. I only rinse it between removal and insertion at home, but haven't found (or at least noticed) any difference between getting it to seal perfectly.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:01 PM on March 18, 2010


would we have preferred the Aussie U-Kotex Beaver movement?

Kotex, has been scandalously boundary-pushing before. This is not so different from pushing the red button back in 2000.

Still waiting for the red liquid, btw.
posted by Sweetdefenestration at 2:02 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never realized until I read this article a while ago that TV commercials for feminine hygiene products never actually mentioned the word "menstruation." I was further surprised just a few months ago when I was caught unaware and had to buy a pad from a machine in a public restroom. I can't even remember if it was Kotex or Always or what company, but I do remember the odd material of the packaging, and then reading the notes on the packaging stating that was special "non-crinkling" plastic, so women wouldn't be "outed" when opening and then scrunching up the protective covering on their sanitary pad. OK, I'm not particularly militant when it comes to a woman's monthly cycle (I don't pay homage to the Moon Goddess involved or anything), but I do think it's counterproductive to manufacture "silent" feminine products that encourage young girls to be ashamed of menstruation. OK, sure, I'd be embarrassed if Aunt Flo came a-callin' in the middle of Geometry class and I was wearing white slacks, but when you're unwrapping a product in the ladies' room you're surrounded by other females who are aware of Mother Nature's processes and could surely care less if they heard the crinkling of cellophane in an adjacent stall.
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:04 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm curious: is there a way to avoid totally embarrassing a 12-y-o girl and still help her with this stuff? Any mefites successfully navigate that?

You get your friend's cooler-than-yours mom, your youngest grownup aunt, your mom's cooler-than-her best friend who's like an aunt, or maybe an older female cousin, etc. to stand outside the bathroom door and talk you through it, I think.
posted by desuetude at 2:05 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's a particular tampon ad I've seen that has one of the more literal representations of a period I've seen in a commercial. I don't know which company, but it used a big red dot in the commercial. It's not offensive or anything, but it was a bit "TMI" in my opinion. I don't particularly want to see brown streaks in my TP ads, I don't particularly want to see boogers in my kleenex ads. I'm OK with the kittens and puppies, even if it doesn't really make sense. So long as I'm ranting, I'd also add: no more cartoon bears with cling-ons please. And if parents really have to "inspect" their childrens' butts with that kind of scrutiny after they've done their business, I'm putting parenthood off another few years.

That said, I was unaware of the embarassment people face when talking about it. I guess it's a good thing if they're trying to make it a more comfortable conversation.
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:08 PM on March 18, 2010


Did you watch the video where they explain how to insert a tampon using a giant stuffed vagina?

Wouldn't it be easier to just use your hand, or an applicator?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:08 PM on March 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


but seriously: no, i didn't see that video. which link is it hidden in?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:08 PM on March 18, 2010


It's on the YouTube Channel Link. The other ones there are worth a watch, too--the do some light "social experiments" where they try to get people (adults!) to say "vagina" using a Rorschach test.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:11 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a big difference between telling things as they are, and playing the tired old "let's be knowingly cynical about misleading advertising" card.

So here's the thing... Kotex is a 90 year-old company. They've been marketing their products to women for nearly a century. In all that time, they've used euphemisms about vaginal health, body parts and a natural body function in their ads and marketing materials. In doing so, they have directly contributed to a pervasive, damaging meme that vaginas are somehow dirty and menstruation is a terrible, taboo subject that shouldn't be spoken about in polite company.

I posted this story because even though the company has an ulterior financial motive, for the first time in 90 years, Kotex is actually acknowledging their advertising has been doing a disservice to three generations of women and are taking steps to change it. Then, when they tried to do the right thing by their customers, the major television networks here in the US said, "Not so fast!" In a way, they have only themselves to blame for that. So now they have work to do.

But I won't condemn them for trying to promote positive female body images to girls and women. As Martha would say, that's a good thing.
posted by zarq at 2:12 PM on March 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


I bought the Diva Cup after reading all the songs of praise on MetaFilter - and I HATED IT. There, I said it. Someone had to.

*sits back, waits for lynching*
posted by widdershins at 2:24 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


widdershins, sorry we led you astray! What didn't you like about it?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:26 PM on March 18, 2010


Hmm, my sister had the same experience with a Mooncup. I wonder if that was more common with them.

Don't know. She was pretty disappointed. A cup is healthier than a tampon, and she did say it was more comfortable.

I haven't had any problems at all with the DivaCup unless I leave it in for, like, twelve hours, which is the upper limit of what's recommended (and much better than a tampon). However, my attitude is probably different about leakage after using sea sponges. Those would leak whenever I coughed or sneezed. Awkward!

Cool. I had no idea that sea sponges were marketed for that purpose. I wonder if they were used as a vaginal insert before modern feminine hygiene products were invented.
posted by zarq at 2:30 PM on March 18, 2010


PhoBWanKenobi: I just didn't like having to reach up my bloody vagina to get it in and out. I had the same problem with sponges and diaphragms, particularly after sex when my vagina would be full of sperm and lubrication. I'm not normally squicked out by natural secretions - I have no problem with menstrual blood/sperm/whatever per se, nor my vagina, it's the fumbling around and getting my hand all bloody/slimy part. I also thought that while wearing the cup was comfortable, the insertion and removal were not. So - not for me, I guess...
posted by widdershins at 2:52 PM on March 18, 2010


TMI warning...


The Instead, Diva, Keeper and Moon cups can all be left in place for up to 12 hours. Even if you see blood on the toilet paper when wiping after urinating during the day (say, at work), that doesn't mean that the cup is full and needs to be emptied. (The blood on the TP is a result of you bearing down while urinating; it temporarily displaces the cup.) If you insert the cup in the morning before you leave for your day (whether it be work, errands, school, whatever) you should be fine and have no need to empty it until you get home. Many women overestimate the amount of blood they lose during their period based on how many pads/tampons they use during a day. Most cups are designed to hold 2 ounces of fluid, which is the average amount most healthy women lose over the course of three days. However, just like laughing too hard or coughing or certain other activities might cause women to leak urine, likewise they might temporarily dislodge the cup and cause a bit of leakage. That doesn't mean that the cup is full and needs to be emptied, but it does mean that it's a good idea to also wear a mini-pad or panty liner as extra insurance.
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:57 PM on March 18, 2010


How to insert a tampon (youtube video). Their demonstration had my in hysterics (er, no pun intended) the first time I saw it.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 3:02 PM on March 18, 2010



Re: "Girlie's secret po-po garden" - po-po is common slang for the police (at least in the US)


So that's where I left them!
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:04 PM on March 18, 2010


I bet I'm the only guy who made it this far in this thread.
posted by digsrus at 3:11 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


In this ad from 1985, Courtney Cox becomes the first person to say "period" to refer to a menstrual period on network TV.
posted by jonp72 at 3:12 PM on March 18, 2010


People who object are objecting to hearing the plain word itself in its accepted usage. I would argue this means they are irrational in objecting, and that anything offensive attached to the word "vagina" (it's dirty, it's involved in sex, it's impolite) comes from their own minds.

My kids watch the Uterus Puppet Show on Saturdays.

Well, not every Saturday.

My wife and I have never been regular synagogue goers. But now that our kids are getting older, about one Saturday morning a month we take them to a "Tot Shabbat" program at our shul. Honestly, they don't get much out of it yet, but we get a chance to catch up with friends and relax while they're watching the (slightly) older kids sing songs, learn a lesson or two and play games. Mostly they sit quietly, or wander around and wait for the challah, juice and cookie at the end.

Part of the service is what my wife and I have now nicknamed the 'Uterus Puppet Show.' A very sweet elderly lady puts on a puppet show for the kids -- a story based on that week's torah portion (the parsha). She simplifies it drastically of course. It's kind of cute to watch, in a low budget "man, those puppets must be older than me!" sort of way.

Last Fall, a couple I hadn't seen before brought their kids to the service and the mom seemed to really get into the activities. She was sitting next to me, encouraging her kids to participate, singing and clapping along, etc. Then the puppet show started. In the story, at the ripe old age of 89, Sarah (wife of Abraham) is told she's going to have a baby: "Abraham! G-d says he's going to put a baby in my uterus!" The mom gasped loudly. Several minutes later: "Abraham! Isn't it wonderful! I have a baby in my uterus!" From my left, there was another gasp. And then a low hiss, "Does she have to be so graphic?!" After the service ended, she gathered up her kids and left. Haven't seen her since.

In subsequent weeks, any time a character in the stories became pregnant: "I have a baby in my uterus!"

You never know what a person is going to find offensive. Personally, I don't draw the line at the proper names of various body parts. How else would you describe pregnancy to a bunch of kids? "She has a baby in her tummy?" Please. My kids can handle learning body parts and their functions without euphemisms. Or at least they will... that is, as soon as they're speaking in full sentences. In the meantime, there's always the Uterus Puppet Show. :)
posted by zarq at 3:18 PM on March 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


It always amuses me when I go to the pharmacy to buy tampax, and they offer to double-bag it for me, in case anyone should see! *GASP* My womanly shame! Srsly, if humans of both sexes are unembarrassed to publicly purchase toilet paper, which they use every day to wipe the shit off of their asses WHILE SITTING DOWN KTHXBIE, why should there be any kind of stigma associated with a little bit of blood?

(It also never fails to amuse me that somehow, ridiculously and Victorianishly, women are expected to be afraid of, or even faint at, the sight of blood. Because, you know, it's so unfamiliar to us. Meanwhile, male friends of mine - both straight and gay - when gently touched on the back of the hand with a wrapped, unused tampon, will shriek like schoolgirls receiving a vigorous tentacle probe. Yes, I do this a lot.)

I was excited to try the Diva cup when I first found out about it, but it occurred to me that changing it in public bathrooms would be gross and unpleasant, not because I'm afraid of my own blood, but because lots of public restrooms don't have soap, and there is NO fucking way I'm going to stick a finger or two inside myself with grotendous unwashed NYC subway pole/doorhandle/wtf ever hands. Ugh, just thinking about it could give you a flaming yeast infection. So yeah, no cup for me.
posted by elizardbits at 3:21 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like seeing "vagina" at the end of comments. Maybe we should use it instead of "hamburger".

VAGINA
posted by msalt at 3:22 PM on March 18, 2010


I'm very surprised that there are people who take offense to the word "vagina." It's akin to being offended by the word "appendix." Makes no sense to take offense, none at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:53 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was seven or eight, and visiting my dad and stepmom for the summer.

We were watching TV, and an ad for tampons came on. I asked my dad what they were for.

He rustled his newspaper and refused to look at me, or the TV, or anything else.

"Something for women," he mumbled.

That night, as I was getting ready for bed, my stepmother came into my room. She had a book with her. I wish I could remember what the title was, but I can't - but it was a sex ed book (my stepmother taught home ec and sex education). She left the book on my bed and told me to come to her if I had any questions. That was pretty great.
posted by rtha at 3:56 PM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I first moved to Japan, I did not know the words for "tampon" or "period," so when the time came for shopping, I went to Happy Drug, found a female clerk, and said "女の時間?" "Woman time?" She knew exactly what I meant, took me to the aisle with all of the pads and tampons, and then stood there, shooing away any men who happened to wander by as I stood there trying to read the packages.

The Diva Cup has never really fit into my schedule, and now I'm away for most of the day and the public restroom I use is not very nice. Soap was apparently a victim of the budget cuts.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:00 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


My mother, a registered nurse!, was so embarrassed about the menstral cycle she could only say "kotex" and "tampax" through a clenched jaw. I wasn't allowed to use tampax because she thought it was inappropriate for unwed teenagers so for a few years I struggled along with the kotex pads. Hiking and heavy periods do not mix well when you are only using old-fashioned pads the size and shape of a block of velveeta cheese. Oh the chafing. Finally, I stole some of her tampax and used them on the sly. Not much better. Tampax were too long and no matter how I positioned it, the damn thing would hang out about 1/2 inch. The portruding part hurt when I sat down plus it soaked up urine when I peed. Most days I would have to wear a tampax and a pad to catch the overflow.

Then OB hit the market. Miracle product, really. I could kiss the feet of the designer because it made a huge difference in my life. Not only did it fit, it was super absorbent so no more hourly trips to the bathroom on my heaviest days. Of course super absorbency had its downside, toxic shock for some poor souls, but for me it was only good.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:01 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I use Instead, the cheap disposable cup. I go off label with them, though; I use one per cycle, instead of changing them every twelve hours. One of the things I LOVE about them is that I can empty them without removing or touching them! I sit down to pee, I bear down really hard, the thing empties out, I kegel super-hard, it snaps back up under my pubic bone, I wipe SITTING DOWN AS GOD INTENDED, and go about my day. It's fabulous.
posted by KathrynT at 4:07 PM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have half a box of Instead in my cupboard at home because I never could get it inserted right. Strange. I had a cervical cap for a few years so you would think I could manage. This is why I never bought a Diva Cup.

Also, I just watched that How to Insert a Tampon video and it reminded me of how much I hate applicators. Especially plastic ones. Maybe it is because I have a tilted uterus but using an applicator just ensures that the tampon ends up positioned badly. Plus I have been known to pinch myself with an applicator. Don't ask me how, it is inexplicable. Fingers work every time.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:12 PM on March 18, 2010


I wonder if the word "invaginate" can be used on the air. I was going over a science text and I saw a reference in which a cell was described as being invaginated. I felt oddly embarassed by that.
posted by anniecat at 4:28 PM on March 18, 2010


Plus I have been known to pinch myself with an applicator. Don't ask me how, it is inexplicable.

You're not the only one! Some of the plastic applicators seem like they were *designed* to pinch.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:37 PM on March 18, 2010


I'm leaking out my cooch all over a pad right now! And no longer afraid for the world to know! This is wonderful! Why even bother with slacks?? Menses!! Menses!! Everywhere!! For us all!! Lalalalala!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:45 PM on March 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


Oriole Adams - If you insert the cup in the morning before you leave for your day (whether it be work, errands, school, whatever) you should be fine and have no need to empty it until you get home.

Yeah, no. For some people, yes. On some days, yes. At other times, no that really was BRIGHT RED OVERFLOWING BLOOD IN MY KNICKERS AND MY TROUSERS AND HOW DID IT GET ON MY SHIRT??? after three and a half hours. Oops. I don't have a copper IUD any more and have reverted to a much nicer fiveish hours on a bad day, longer the rest of the time. Some people aren't so lucky, and have much heavier periods. Cup sizes range from about 10 ml to about 30 ml, that's a maximum of 1 fluid ounce, rather than the 2 you mention. I my UK Mooncup, which doesn't leak, and has made my life so much easier.
posted by Lebannen at 5:12 PM on March 18, 2010


The best period ever was the one I passed entirely at home, just making frequent trips to the toilet or tub. No sticky, chafey anything. It would be so fucking rad if we always just got our periods as meditative time, and were free to commune with our selves. Also, servants. And unlimited froyo.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:13 PM on March 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


So last year I go to the drugstore to get tampons. The cardboard flap on the box is a little ripped, but I figure they're tampons, who cares if they are a little banged up. When I get the front of the line to pay for them, the cashier notices the slightly opened box as well. Without comment, she opens the box, removes the toxic-shock syndrome pamphlet atop the contents and starts to count the tampons. I tried explaining that it hadn't looked opened, just banged up and I didn't care. She ignores me and continues her inventory. 16 Super, 16 Regular, 8 lite. She counts them all. There are three men in line who are not looking at me. There is one woman behind me who I briefly made eye contact with before we both started to silently crack up. This goes on for an eternity.
The cashier finishes her task, puts the TSS pamphlet back in the box and rings me up. I pay. She then puts the box in a BROWN PAPER BAG instead of the regular transparent white Walgreens plastic bag because obviously she cares SO MUCH about my DELICATE SENSIBILITIES after you know MANHANDLING each and EVERY ONE of my FORTY tampons.
I thanked her and left.
posted by 8dot3 at 5:18 PM on March 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


anniecat: I wonder if the word "invaginate" can be used on the air. I was going over a science text and I saw a reference in which a cell was described as being invaginated. I felt oddly embarassed by that.

One of the projects I'm working on is coordination for a news segment for a national network program. Happened to be on the phone with the medical producer this evening and decided to ask her this. The answer was: "Possibly. Although we'd probably ask a doctor who used that word in an interview to choose a simpler one more of our viewers would understand without having to have it explained."
posted by zarq at 5:22 PM on March 18, 2010


I'm a new Dive-Ette. Thanks to metafilter. It took a cycle or two to get the hang of it, and it was touch and go for a while, but now, I'm a convert!! Yay cups!!
posted by pearlybob at 5:32 PM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


My mom used my dry erase tablet from school to help explain both periods (which my sister had just started and were imminent for me) and ovarian cysts (which my aunt was dealing with at the time). I was embarrassed about it, but really grateful for the explanation.

I'm imaginging orchodraco's mom as a victorian school marm rolling out a board with a pointer and saying "Today girls, we shall discuss Men-Stru-At-Ion- write it out, and provide word orgin please."

It's still way better than the info some people get about their own bodies, some middle Victorian women were kept in the dark on how exactly new life came into the world and I knew at least one guy who thought he somehow got an S.T.D from kissing cause he had a "discharge" after ..which was ejaculate ...cause he was excited ...and 24.

anyway, VAGINAS! LABIA! Biology is so interesting!
posted by The Whelk at 5:40 PM on March 18, 2010


Also, wrt the Diva/Moon/Keeper and public restrooms: I put mine in in the morning and I don't have to empty it until the next morning. I've never had to take it out in public.
posted by stinker at 6:05 PM on March 18, 2010


Anything that provides honest answers and means less girls will use Yahoo! Answers as their source is okay by me.

Vagina.
posted by MaritaCov at 6:06 PM on March 18, 2010


"There are a lot of words that are... they're not bad words, no words are bad, but some people start using 'em a lot to hurt other people, and then they become bad, they become hard to use. There's words that I love that I can't use 'cause other people use 'em wrong, to hurt other people. Like the word "cunt" is a beautiful word..."
posted by Rhaomi at 6:13 PM on March 18, 2010


I've never had to take it out in public.

Yeah, I'd need one the size of the Stanley Cup to keep it in for 12h; I bleed through a super tampax pretty much every hour on my first day. Pleh.

...just google imaged the stanley cup. ouch.
posted by elizardbits at 6:24 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait a minute wait a minute.

I swear to God I've heard vagina on the air, specifically in the pilot episode of 30 Rock:

Pete: Standards has a problem with that Michael Jackson bit.

Liz Lemon (Tina Fey): Why?

Pete: Apparently you can't say he's got a vagina.
posted by anniecat at 6:28 PM on March 18, 2010


I think it was the origin of Vajayjay Anniecat, that the producers told the writers of Grey's Anatomy that they could only use a limited number of "borderline" words an episode, they since they used up their quota they had to invent a stand in for Vagina.

Which is, when you think about it in any detail, so fucked up it's not funny.

also WHY DO I KNOW THIS?
posted by The Whelk at 6:35 PM on March 18, 2010


Also on 30 Rock's Valentine's Day episode from the first season, Jenna returned to work after performing for "Vagina Day" and Toofer asked her if that was an off-shoot of the Vagina Monologues (no, it was women who had never been asked to perform in the Vagina Monologues talking about their vaginas to the homeless as performance art). They cut Joy Behar doing a soliloquay about her vagina and calling it an ugly flower.
posted by anniecat at 6:35 PM on March 18, 2010


So I'm sitting here at my desk reading these comments and for some reason said "vagina" out loud in a sort of dramatic whisper and who should walk by but a guy I hate, who gave me an angry look.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:05 PM on March 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


"...their ad was rejected by the major US television networks for mentioning the word 'vagina'."

Interesting, that Jezebel just posted a bit from Tyra, "The Menstrual Show," in which the 3 short clips mentioned the word "vagina" at least 8 times (including a clip in which a 13 year old prefers the term 'vagina' while her mother prefers some other censored slang word, and one resounding audience-wide VAGINAAAA at the end of the last clip), and numerous "vaginal," and other anatomical references. Is the censoring of the ad during prime-time? Or in certain contexts? Are medical and/body specials ok? Because WTF? Holy inconsistent vagina, batman.
posted by raztaj at 7:15 PM on March 18, 2010


I bought the Diva Cup after reading all the songs of praise on MetaFilter - and I HATED IT. There, I said it. Someone had to.

Sing it, sister!

Well, it wasn't Metafilter in my case, but same deal.

I bought it, I tried it, I couldn't get the damn thing to unfold the way it was supposed to. And after trying and trying and getting more and more frustrated, I gave up completely. There's a part of me that gets irked at all the Cup proselytizing (which always comes up every time periods are the subject of discussion) - like it's the choice all Real Women make, and I owe it to the planet to use it, and if I don't like it then I'm just not doing it right.

I also was never able to find tampons comfortable, even though I tried them on and off for years. I guess I'm just not comfortable with inserts of any kind. Sometimes I feel like the only person in the entire universe who uses pads. I am so unhip.
posted by Salieri at 7:20 PM on March 18, 2010


I also was never able to find tampons comfortable, even though I tried them on and off for years. I guess I'm just not comfortable with inserts of any kind. Sometimes I feel like the only person in the entire universe who uses pads. I am so unhip.

If you feel left out, you can always buy lunapads. Mine have seahorses on them!

But anyway, I'm glad for any woman who finds stuff that works right for her. I think that's why I love the cup so much--it works perfectly for me, and there's something genuinely liberating about that. Back in high school, when I still used pads, I felt the same way when I discovered that the ones with the "cottony soft cover" were better for me than the ultra-thin plasticky ones that my mom bought. Because honestly (and this is one thing that I think even bad tampon commercials are right about), there's nothing worse than feeling totally uncomfortable when you have your period.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:28 PM on March 18, 2010


The day I graduated from high school, we had an Honors Assembly during the afternoon, in the hot steaming sweltering gym. At some point I noticed I felt kind of wet, but I felt wet all over--I was sweating like crazy.

I was on my way to the stage to pick up an award, and one of the volunteer moms helping to herd us around took me aside and whispered, "My dear, I think I should tell you that you have a little dirt on the back of your gown."

My baby blue graduation gown, did I mention that?

Anyway, I thought, "What the hell? Why is she telling me this?" I figure I got a little dust off the car on it or something, and I'd sponge it off before coming back that night for graduation proper.

A little while later, I figure out (I don't remember how; maybe a friend saw and said something?) that what she meant by "a little dirt" was "a veritable river of blood flowing down the back of your baby-blue gown." I had been across the stage at least twice with blood--not just drops, but big smears and trails and dried blotches--all down my back by then.

I went into the bathroom and wept; my parents wondered what had happened to me when I missed picking up a couple more awards; a friend's mom happened upon me, helped me compose myself, and sent me home.

Where my mother found me a little while later, weeping on the bed next to my wadded-up, blood-soaked gown.

She studies the scene for a moment, and then says, "Well, look on the bright side, Susan. At least everybody knows you're not graduating pregnant."
posted by not that girl at 7:37 PM on March 18, 2010 [35 favorites]


Interesting, that Jezebel just posted a bit from Tyra, "The Menstrual Show," in which the 3 short clips mentioned the word "vagina" at least 8 times (including a clip in which a 13 year old prefers the term 'vagina' while her mother prefers some other censored slang word, and one resounding audience-wide VAGINAAAA at the end of the last clip), and numerous "vaginal," and other anatomical references. Is the censoring of the ad during prime-time? Or in certain contexts? Are medical and/body specials ok? Because WTF? Holy inconsistent vagina, batman.

Tyra's a syndicated show, produced not by one of the major television networks, but by her own production company: Bankable Productions. The show is distributed to television stations throughout the country (mostly Warner Bros stations for their CW network, some independents and a few network affiliates looking to fill time slots) and then each station chooses which episodes they would like to air. Stations that take in syndicated programming have a bit more freedom than those which are strictly network affiliates, receiving shows produced and distributed by their network. Network affiliates are (with minimal leeway,) bound to broadcast their associated network's programming.

So because it's a syndicated show, the choice to air a particular episode rests squarely with the station owners.
posted by zarq at 7:58 PM on March 18, 2010


not that girl, please write a short story with this scene. It's begging for it.
posted by TrarNoir at 8:21 PM on March 18, 2010


One summer day when I was out running an errand at a drug store, I was suddenly waved into an aisle by one of the workers. "Miss, you help please?" she said, gesturing meekly. I followed her, puzzled.

I followed her into the aisle with the tampons and pads, where a middle-aged man stood, forlornly, in front of them all. He'd stopped her earlier, and she'd been trying to help, but there was a bit too much of a language barrier. She asked if maybe I could advise him.

He gave me the rest of the story; he was a cop from the nearby precinct, on his lunch break, and his fourteen-year-old daughter had called from home asking if he could pick up some...."supplies" for her. "But, see, her mother usually gets this, so I don't know specifics" he said. "But her mother's out visiting her sister, so she had to call me..."

I asked him a couple questions, and then got to the heart of the problem -- the poor guy was actually completely overwhelmed with the number of options he had to choose from. His daughter, who'd been too embarrassed to to go into much detail with her dad, just told him she wanted "maxi" something - and since he'd never actually been into the tampon aisle before, he was thinking there were just going to be a couple types to choose from and that would be that. But when the poor guy got to the store he was suddenly confronted with different lengths and wings and leak-proof walls and ultra-thin absorbancy and quilted-vs.-non and was thus utterly paralyzed by the task.

I think I just explained what a couple of the different features were, suggested something fairly basic, and gently sent him on his way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 PM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


also vagina is only the part between the vulva and the cervix. Is there a name for the whole thing?
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 8:38 PM on March 18, 2010


The blue water people are gonna be upset.
posted by jonmc at 9:07 PM on March 18, 2010


I just have to say, I love this thread.

I may be the only person here who doesn't like O.B. or the various cups. I need an applicator. I also remember, at 12, my mother offering to show me how to use a tampon. Horror. I was into horseback riding at the time, and all ad cliches aside, a tampon was necessary. I should have practiced *before* the outhouse at the competition. Ugh.
posted by aclevername at 9:21 PM on March 18, 2010


I was scared to use tampons for a few years for fear I wouldn't be able to get them out. Because my sixth-grade teacher, who was basically wonderful throughout the "special unit on the reproductive system," demonstrated how tampons work during the girls only day by plunking one into a cup of water, at which point it swelled to a horrifying girth.

I hatehatehated all feminine product commercials growing up. I hated that they're called "sanitary" products, I hated the euphemisms, I hated the smiling sporty tennis-playing girls in white. The whole thing just embarrassed the living shit outta me as an adolescent.
posted by desuetude at 9:48 PM on March 18, 2010


I am really enjoying this thread too. It's a very nice parallel to part of a book I read recently on adolesence (FWIW, Terri Apter's Altered Loves: mothers and daughters during adolescence). She made the point (which resonated very strongly for me) that getting your period is sold to girls as this wonderful yet mysterious rite of passage into womanhood and whilst we're given some basic instruction and strong sense that it's something that needs to be hidden, no one ever really tells us that we have go through to manage the thing day to day: the smell, the blood, the colour, etc., even though we're all managing the same thing. And there's the commiseration conversations between friends on how we feel and times we've been embarassed, but rarely a visceral discussion of what's actually happening.

So this thread is continuing that resonance for me and the idea of making it all a little less taboo is really very appealing.
posted by prettypretty at 10:18 PM on March 18, 2010


> The whole thing just embarrassed the living shit outta me as an adolescent.

That just reminded me: my faaavorite thing to do as a pre-teen was to sideline someone, furrow my brow a little, place my hand on their arm, and slowly say, "Hey, desuetude, do you ever feel... you know, not so fresh?" and just wait for their response, biting my lip.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:27 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> no one ever really tells us that we have go through to manage the thing day to day: the smell, the blood, the colour, etc.

Oh, this? Personal moisturized wipes. I think I buy the cottonelle ones. OMG game-changer. Your hoohoo will thank you.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:31 PM on March 18, 2010


and just wait for their response, biting my lip.

"What? Da sewer chewed?!? WTF are you talking about & why do you have to be so freaking weird all the time?!???"
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:04 PM on March 18, 2010


The Instead cup changed my life. I never liked wearing a diaper and the dryness of tampons made insertion and removal painful after about the second day. The cup doesn't hurt, is easy to remove and replace, and makes my light days feel like there's no period at all. When I first discovered them I tried to get every woman I knew to use them and most had problems. I wish everyone could experience the sense of freedom and relief I did (and still do every time). Too bad it doesn't seem to work like that.
posted by irisclara at 11:32 PM on March 18, 2010


It's official. Metafilter is a girlzone now.
posted by prolific at 4:00 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


YES. ALL HAIL THE HIVE VAGINA.
posted by elizardbits at 5:51 AM on March 19, 2010


Oh, and in my house we call a vagina a peach. Because it's soft, juicy and fuzzy and you peeee out of it.

What?
posted by widdershins at 6:02 AM on March 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, not that girl, you lived through every woman's nightmare. Thank you. I feel like you took one for the team. I, too, had a least one bleed through incident at school, but I had my coat with me so that wasn't too bad (although my classmates and teachers wondered why I felt the need to wear my coat inside the class room.)

But when the poor guy got to the store he was suddenly confronted with different lengths and wings and leak-proof walls and ultra-thin absorbancy and quilted-vs.-non and was thus utterly paralyzed by the task.

IN Lost Continent Bill Bryson describes killing some time by searching the shelves for the pads which advertised Funnel Dot TechnologyTM. Needless to say the store clerks were giving him funny looks.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:39 AM on March 19, 2010


another TMI.

Nothing traumatizes a girl like being forced to go to coed gymnastics with your period. You tell your mom over and over you don't want to go when you have your period. She said tough shit, be social (gentle soul, isn't she?). This was before 'wings' so it was a messy scene.

"Ok girls and boys, time for summersaults with splits."

Shit.

The gym teacher made me do it despite my protest. Well I did it and low and behold here's this 9 year old with red inner thighs. I don't remember any looks, gasps, sighs, screams.

I remember the teacher immediately grabbing me, pulling me in the bathroom, and in near tears tell me how a young girl reaches maturity when their body sheds it's lining and all that crap.

I told her "yea I know. I TOLD YOU I didn't want to do the summersault! Now call my mom to come get me."

No one in that class ever heard from me again. God I hated years 9-25 when my period was the most painful, messy, near hemorraging thing I've ever experienced. Thank fucking god for birth control to fix all of that. Now I'm not fainting once a month because of anemia.

If I ever have a girl, I will never put her through that crap.

Now I only deal with horrible, mind blowing PMS/PMDD. Thank you estrogen.

VAAAAAGGGGIIINNNAAAAAAAAA POWERS ACTIVATE. SHAPE OF...A HAPPY TAMPON (or as a professer from India called it, a "tampoon".)
posted by stormpooper at 7:04 AM on March 19, 2010


Weirdly, though I never had trouble with my peers or my family, I had trouble, a bit, with adults. I recall having unusually bad cramps once and having to tell a (male) teacher that I had to go to the nurse. He hedged, wanting to know exactly what was wrong. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Because I have. to go. to the nurse." He let me go. I suspect he picked up the subtext there.

The worst, though, was when I was giving a camping preparedness speech to a group of younger girl scouts. We had a sort of jamboree thing, and it was my job, as one of the senior scouts, to give the juniors (5th/6th grade) the bit about what goes into a first aid kit. One of the things that goes into a first aid kit is a pad, because, well, particularly for girls that age, you want to have one available. (Also, the cotton kind can double as a bandage in a real emergency). As I hit that part of the speech, I suddenly noticed that my partner had abandoned me. I realized that if there had not been a group of mothers standing in the back, I'd have been perfectly willing to be frank, but I was paralyzed by the fear that one of the mothers might be horribly repressed and have a freak-out. So I just pointed it out as something else to add with no explanation and moved on. I'm still not sure if that was smart or just cowardly.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:39 AM on March 19, 2010


I love all these stories.

When did I learn about the red menace? When someone (my mother, presumably) left a book on my bed with 1970s style line drawings of earth motherish naked ladies and text like "It's healthy, it's natural, and we ALL do it! Yippee!"

Oh, and then there was the little "your changing body" talk in 6th grade, where the school nurse asked us to anonymously submit any questions and three different girls (out of 15) asked "Is there a way to not get my period?"

But of course it wasn't until I was playing tennis, in full tennis whites, at high noon on a summer weekend at a packed country club that it actually came. Yippee.
posted by sallybrown at 8:01 AM on March 19, 2010


Oh, and then there was the little "your changing body" talk in 6th grade, where the school nurse asked us to anonymously submit any questions and three different girls (out of 15) asked "Is there a way to not get my period?"

Man, that makes me really wish I could find the educational video they made us watch in 5th grade. It was called "I Got It!" and was about a girl who goes to camp out in another girl's backyard and gets her period in the middle of the night. In the morning, her friend's dad comes home with a big pack of tampons (to which our heroine is like, weird, gross, but then her friend tells her it's only natural and no biggie) and then her friend's mom makes pancakes shaped like a uterus.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:13 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sweetdefenestration: "Still waiting for the red liquid, btw."

I remember reading -- but cannot find and might not have it quite right -- a Dykes to Watch Out For strip where one of the women suggested commercials should use crushed tomatoes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2010


HIVE VAGINA

It's covered in beeeeeees!!!

Angry bees? In my vagina?!

The buzzing... Is not unpleasant.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:41 AM on March 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


God, I just remembered this.

When I was in college (it was the 80s), I was politically active in a bunch of causes. One of them was women's issues - the college I went to was among the last of its kind to admit women, and there was still a strong vibe of "Old School FUCK YEAH" boyzone to it. We went about our education/consciousness-raising/protests with a (now) embarrassing mix of earnestness and rage all tangled up in po-mo academic language. If I could go back and pinch my younger self's cheek, I totally would.

So we decided to have an action at the big homecoming festivities. Homecoming's a big deal. There are mini-reunions for alums, and a parade (with the guys on teeny motorcycles even) and it all culminates with a huge bonfire in the middle of the Green (and then, of course, the football game the next day). There are speeches before the bonfire is lit. We figured that this was a good time and place to call attention to women's issues. It was fall. It was near Halloween.

We got together the night before the bonfire to craft our statement of purpose and figure out exactly what we were going to do. We decided that since it was so close to Halloween, we would do something to honor crones/wisewomen, and because of something we'd all been reading, we decided to call our ad hoc group W.I.T.C.H - as an allusion to and in honor of the original Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, but in our case, we would be the Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from...Hanover.

The night of the bonfire, we printed out a bunch of copies of our statement of purpose and gathered our protest props. We were dressed in black, and some or all of us had witch hats on, and we painted our faces so we wouldn't be recognized. Since it was Halloween-ish, none of this stood out.

We went and mingled with the crowd that had gathered for the speeches. When the president of the college began, we moved closer to the front, and when he started talking about the awesome football team blah blah we burst out of the crowd, flung our flyers to the wind, and....

launched tampons dyed red with food coloring, and eggs (ova! the source of all life! created by womyn's bodies!) and shouted some things and then ran away.

We were dead serious about it, and we also found the whole thing hilarious. There was a predictable amount of outrage on campus over the next few days.
posted by rtha at 10:00 AM on March 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


Holy god, you learn some things reading metafilter.
posted by ServSci at 11:05 AM on March 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Critical Mense.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:56 PM on March 19, 2010


rtha, I want to thank you for sharing that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:08 PM on March 19, 2010


I think I'm way too late to this thread, but I just wanted to add that my husband and I have started to call tampons plugs. I'm sure someone can interpret it negatively, but it's completely slipped into our lexicon. As in "Hold on honey, I need to run and take my plug out if this is going any further" or "When you're at the store, can you get me a 40pack of plugs?"
posted by lizjohn at 3:41 PM on March 19, 2010


OKAY. I could not for the fucking life of me recall my favourite high school euphemism for menstruation, so I was forced to email my high school BFF, to whom I have not spoken since she moved to the wilds of Jersey with her husband and had a bunch of kids. She was both delighted to hear from me and even more delighted to remind me of the most awesome of euphemistic phrases, "RIDING THE COTTON PONY".

Metafilter: vaginally reconnecting you to old friends since 1999.
posted by elizardbits at 4:28 PM on March 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're welcome. A friend from college was cleaning out some old stuff she had and she sent me some copies of an underground paper called the womyn's re/view (I know, right??!) that we used to work on. One issue is devoted to menstruation. I should scan it and put it on flickr or something because holy cow, it's awesome.
posted by rtha at 4:32 PM on March 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


omg rtha, please please please!
posted by ocherdraco at 4:34 PM on March 19, 2010


DO IT.
posted by The Whelk at 4:38 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I'll see what I can do next week, when I can use the big fancy scanner at work!
posted by rtha at 4:45 PM on March 19, 2010


Oh, elizardbits, the euphemisms! I forgot those...

My junior-high friends and I would usually only refer to periods in the context of why one or another of us didn't take part in the P.D. swimming classes, so our term was "medical reasons". ("You weren't at gym today, what happened?" "Medical reasons." "Ahhhhhh, got it.")

We only ran into a problem with that once -- sometimes one or another male friend would sit with us at lunch (usually my friend David, a kid from my street I'd known since we were six). One day, we had the usual "so, gym?" "Medical reasons." "Got it," conversation. And the rest of us girls were going on to discuss math or whatever, when the guy curiously asked, "what medical reasons?"

We sat in frozen horrified silence for a second, before one of us finally said something like, "uh...she hurt her arm."

"oh, okay," the guy said, turning back to his sandwich as the rest of us sagged with relief.

The punch line is that only three short years later, usually us same group of girls would loudly bitch about our periods at lunch once a month, embarrassment be damned.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 PM on March 19, 2010


Very late to the party, but happy to catch up. Here's a popular clip from my (art school) university years, with a walking, singing, vulva. Sadly, the whole thing is not available online.
posted by Cuke at 7:06 PM on March 19, 2010


Diva Cup, Diva Cup, Diva Cup.

They should have called them Muff Divas.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:06 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


YES. ALL HAIL THE HIVE VAGINA.

Apparently yoghurt is good for that.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:48 PM on March 19, 2010


vagina
posted by liza at 8:21 PM on March 19, 2010


Okay, this is hilarious.

Cuke, the video you posted reminded me of something my medievalist best friend showed me when we were in college: the anthropomorphic vulva pilgrimage badge.* For those of you who don't click links, it's a little pin of a vulva on stilts, wearing a hat with three phalli.

What's stranger is that that link, which I found when I googled "vulva pilgrimage badge" just now, is the website of someone I know. Totally weird.

*Explanation of pilgrimage badges.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:38 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


People on my dad's side of the family are predisposed to nosebleeds - I got them constantly when I was younger. My nose would just start bleeding for no reason, or in response to a slight bump. A couple times, I woke up to realize my nose was bleeding, and would have to run to the bathroom for tissue, leaving bloody handprints on the way.

One time, I was cuddling with a girl, feeling all warm and relaxed. Only, after a while, I realized that warm feeling was actually blood leaking from my nose and getting all over her hair.

I was shocked by how cool she was about it - she just calmly got up and went to the bathroom to rinse it off, wasn't upset about it at all, even though I was mortified. It never occurred to me, until reading this thread, that maybe handling involuntarily bleeding on a regular basis made her have a better attitude towards unwanted bodily fluids than I had.

Anyway, making a big shameful deal out of menstruation strikes me as profoundly silly and damaging - hopefully out culture is growing out of it. Also, vagina.
posted by heathkit at 12:45 AM on March 20, 2010


Also, can anyone explain why menstruation is tied to the orbit of the moon? That strikes me as profoundly freaky.
posted by heathkit at 12:48 AM on March 20, 2010


Also, can anyone explain why menstruation is tied to the orbit of the moon? That strikes me as profoundly freaky.

Well given the varying menstrual cycles of primates, and the fact that women's cycles aren't tied to any particular lunar luminance or proximity, I think it's entirely a coincidence.

The Museum of Menstruation. (previously)
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:02 AM on March 20, 2010


For whatever reason my name and address got placed on some marketing list when I was about eleven years old. One of the major brands of tampons/pads sent me two free boxes of their product. The boxes sat waiting for me up on my closet shelf for about a year and a half. In the meantime, I had read and re-read all the instructions inside the boxes, so, when my period came I was prepared. In a way that meant, as odd as it sounds, that I didn't have to tell my mom. Which was a huge relief to me at the time (I knew my mom well enough to know that she would make a huge, inappropriately sentimental deal out of what I considered - even at that very young age - to be a very private thing, that was basically a bodily function). This was in no way shame based. Simply, I didn't want my period to be announced in anyway, nor made into an anecdote for my mom to pass along to aunts (for instance). The whole; "your a woman now" thing. Biologically, yes. But I was smart enough to know that emotionally I was no such thing. So I denied my mom her mother daughter moment, something she's still bitter about to this day. I was probably sixteen when she finally asked if I had gotten my period yet (I feel bad about that sometimes). Meanwhile, I just kept buying the same brand that had been been sent to me in the mail (fabulous marketing ploy?).
posted by marimeko at 7:10 AM on March 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


the whole "can't say VAGINA" controversy reminds me of the incident in some Southern town where the Vagina Monologues were scheduled. Some local prude *gasp*ed at the notion of seeing the word VAGINA on the marquee, and forced them to change it to ... wait for it ... The Hoohaa Monologues. Fortunately, that only lasted two days before VAGINA was put back on the marquee...
posted by kuppajava at 8:55 AM on March 20, 2010


"I'M GOING TO FILL YOUR HOO-HA WITH GOOF JUICE!" (nsfw)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:21 PM on March 20, 2010


And if parents really have to "inspect" their childrens' butts with that kind of scrutiny after they've done their business, I'm putting parenthood off another few years.

Yeah, as a nanny, I definitely have to inspect the four year old's thoroughness. It's not a skill that comes naturally as kids don't really *care* about streak marks or butt health. They really care more about the word "butt" and saying it as often as they can.

I may be the only person here who doesn't like O.B. or the various cups. I need an applicator.

Not the only one. I can't get them in quite right on my own.

Also: my uterus is tilted forward, and apparently my cervix is in a weird place. A weird place in which it wants to control my entire vagina through fascism. I tried the Nuva Ring for a while, my cervix kept pushing it out. Same with any kind of cup, or a tampon if not cleverly shoved up *past* my cervix (for which I need the applicator, or a rocket launcher). It's got some kind of emminent domain issues.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:31 PM on March 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


There was that guy who died of alcohol poisoning 'cause he liked to drink it enematically (not enigmatically). Wouldn't surprise me if there's a woman out there who's filled her hoo-ha with 90 proof juice. (Good gods, the burning, the burning.)
posted by five fresh fish at 6:48 PM on March 20, 2010


it wants to control my entire vagina through fascism

That's what Mussolini said! [nudge wink] Am I right? Am I right? [nudge wink]
posted by five fresh fish at 6:49 PM on March 20, 2010


Your cervix, it's prehensile?

I'm afraid I'm actually picturing this. I feel traumatized.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:52 PM on March 20, 2010


Your cervix, it's prehensile?

Hey, I have one of those, and I'm not even a lady! Exhibit A. Exhibit B.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:54 PM on March 20, 2010


(I also have labia—ON MY FACE!!!!)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:55 PM on March 20, 2010


Wouldn't surprise me if there's a woman out there who's filled her hoo-ha with 90 proof juice.

My ex used to joke about tampons soaked in vodka, which raised way too many questions to ever effectively be funny.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:58 PM on March 20, 2010


There was that guy who died of alcohol poisoning 'cause he liked to drink it enematically (not enigmatically). Wouldn't surprise me if there's a woman out there who's filled her hoo-ha with 90 proof juice. (Good gods, the burning, the burning.)

Sounds disturbing. I have a friend who regretted experimenting with pop rocks, but don't ask me what she was thinking.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:40 PM on March 20, 2010


Also: my uterus is tilted forward, and apparently my cervix is in a weird place. A weird place in which it wants to control my entire vagina through fascism. I tried the Nuva Ring for a while, my cervix kept pushing it out. Same with any kind of cup, or a tampon if not cleverly shoved up *past* my cervix (for which I need the applicator, or a rocket launcher). It's got some kind of emminent domain issues.

....Huh. Mine is tilted in an even quirkier way (not just forward, but to the left -- just like in JFK). But I've had no trouble with caps. Although -- a doctor did tell me once that mine was somewhat....protruberant, which helped.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:59 AM on March 21, 2010


What a bunch of BS? Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. I have to sit through ads about old men's erections. The whole world should have to hear about my vagina.
posted by MEOW at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mooncup is currently conducting a poll on what nicknames women call their vaginas.
posted by zarq at 11:02 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


(I considered posting that as a new FPP, but thought people might think I'm unhealthily obsessed with 'em or something....)
posted by zarq at 11:04 AM on March 23, 2010


my husband and I have started to call tampons plugs.

Oh, good, it's not just us. I have been known to call them "[crudephemism that would upset jessamyn omitted] plugs".

Also, VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA.
posted by immlass at 11:56 AM on March 23, 2010


Friends, there is a stage outside my office building right now that has the words "vajayjay" and "hooha" painted on its backdrop. And now Khloe Kardashian is standing on it in a red dress meant to evoke (one assumes) menstrual blood. Hmmm... those Kardashians sure like their Ks. I wonder what else starts with K? Oh, right: Kotex.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:54 AM on April 14, 2010


Yeah, she's now a spokesperson for them.
posted by zarq at 11:00 AM on April 14, 2010


She just busted down the wall of euphemisms with a hammer. And this was all I could think while she was doing it:

"Ms. Kardashian, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for Kotex and other great Kimberly-Clark brands, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Ms. Kardashian, open this gate! Ms. Kardashian, tear down this wall!"
posted by ocherdraco at 11:04 AM on April 14, 2010


HA!

She's better looking than Reagan was. Trashier, though. :)
posted by zarq at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2010


Awesome. And weird. But awesome!
posted by rtha at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2010


"Hi dolls. I know you were all wondering what my announcement was and now I can finally share. I've joined forces with U by Kotex to bring awareness to the Declaration of Real Talk, a campaign devoted to empowering women to feel comfortable discussing their periods. I did this for Kendall and Kylie because I was disgusted with the information they were bringing home -- they were so uncomfortable talking about something that is natural and I would do anything to protect my baby sisters.

So today I went to Madison Square Park help U by Kotex break down a wall (both literally and figuratively) filled with feminine care euphemisms symbolizing all of the barriers facing young women today. I got to use a sledgehammer and everything LOL." —Khloe Kardashian
posted by ocherdraco at 1:12 PM on April 14, 2010


OK, I take the 'trashy' comment back. It's a good cause, and she's a good person for doing it.
posted by zarq at 1:13 PM on April 14, 2010


She was wearing a menstruation-red dress, though.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:20 PM on April 14, 2010


She was wearing a menstruation-red dress, though.

Subliminal messaging? Metaphor?

A small part of me wants to ask if it was the dress was flowing, but I suspect that would sound hideously tacky.
posted by zarq at 5:10 PM on April 14, 2010


Beautiful Red Dress — Laurie Anderson

Well I was down at the Zig Zag
That's the Zig Zag Bar & Grill
And everybody was talking at once
and it was getting real shrill.
And I've been around the block
But I don't care I'm on a roll - I'm on a wild ride
Cause the moon is full and look out baby -
I'm at high tide.

I've got a beautiful red dress
And you'd look really good
standing beside it..
I've got some beautiful new red shoes
and they look so fine
I've got a hundred and five fever
and it's high tide.

Well just the other day I won the lottery
I mean lots of money
I got so excited I ran into my place and i said:
HEY! Is anybody home?
Nobody answered but I guess that's not too weird
Since I live alone.

I've got a beautiful red dress
And you'd look really good
standing beside it..
Girls?
We can take it And if we can't
we're gonna fake it
We're gonna save ourselves
We're gonna make it And if we don't
we're gonna take it
We're gonna save ourselves
Save ourselves

Well they say women shouldn't be
the president
Cause we go crazy from time to time
Well push my button baby here I come
Yeah look out baby
I'm at high tide

I've got a beatiful red dress
and you'd look really good
standing beside it..
I've got a little jug of red sangria wine
and we could take little sips
from time to time
I've got some bright red drop dead lips
I've got a little red card
and mechanical hips
I've got a hundred and five fever!!!

OK! OK! Hold it!
I just want to say something.
You know, for every dollar a man makes
a woman makes 63 cents.
Now, fifty years ago that was 62 cents.
So, with that kind of luck, it'll be the year 3,888
before we make a buck. But hey, girls?

We can take it And if we can't
we're gonna fake it
We're gonna save ourselves
save ourselves
(Yeah tell it to the judge)
We're gonna make it And if we don't
we're gonna take it
We're gonna save ourselves
save ourselves
We've got a fever of a hundred and five
and look baby
It's high tide.

Well I could just go on and on and on...
But tonight
I've got a headache
posted by five fresh fish at 5:29 PM on April 14, 2010


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