Wednesday, September 1, 2010

No, I won't wash my vagina for a raise, thanks.

One of the funniest and most enraging blog posts I saw recently was on Daily Kos citing an amazing advertising message: Want a raise? Wash Your Vagina!

I love when advertisers or companies are so far gone they aren't even seeing the ridiculousness of their message anymore. This ad offers the number one way for a woman to feel more confident. No, not just confident on her next blind date. If she's looking for confidence in asking for a raise at work, she should first and foremost use a chemical douche product. That is the offensive and insulting message Summer's Eve is sharing with women in full-page, made-to-look-like-editorial content ad.

I was shocked and appalled to the point of head-shaking laughter. I don't write enough protest letters lately, so I did this time. Below are my letter and the responses from Summer's Eve and Woman's Day Magazine.

Here is my letter:

There is offensive advertising, and OFFENSIVE advertising. You took the scented cake with the recent full page ad in Woman's Day.

As a business woman, I am appalled that you would suggest women MUST wash with unhealthy intimate soaps and scents in order to get a raise! Appalled. When would you EVER see an ad suggesting men need to wash their genitals in order to get a raise? I'm pretty sure intimate hygiene doesn't go on your CV.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. It's one thing if you simply offered sensitive-skin, non-toxic products for vulva wash for women who want it, but it's entirely offensive to suggest that such a regimen is required at work.

Women have enough anxiety and self hatred about natural, healthy vulva appearance and scent. How dare you also suggest their job depends on it. Shame on you. One more reason I will boycott and bad mouth your products. I own a sexuality resource center and help women
every day feel more confident and better about their bodies. We tell women every day how they do not need to douche or wash with irritating soaps on their vulva. Many of your products lead to
yeast infections and irritation, making women even more susceptible to STIs at times.

I hope you'll pull this ad campaign and seriously re-think your message.

Thank you for your time,
Molly Adler

Here is the response from Summer's Eve:

Dear Ms. Adler,

Thank you for contacting us to express your discontent with the recent
Eve advertisement in Women's Day magazine.

CB Fleet and the Summer's
Eve brand have the utmost respect for women.
While we understand how some may come to an alternative conclusion
regarding our recent advertisement, that was never our intention.
Eve apologizes if this advertisement in any way offended anyone
and will take immediate steps to remove it from further circulation.

Kindest regards,

Eve Feminine Care Specialist

From Woman's Day:

Molly, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Please know that the piece you are referring to is a paid advertisement and in no way reflects the opinions of the Woman’s Day editorial staff and regret that some were offended by the ad. The client is aware of the situation and has taken steps to apologize on their own. Meanwhile, we do hope that you found the editorial in the issue insightful and helpful.

E. M.

I get the sense the Daily Kos post going viral may actually make a difference here. Except for the fact that magazine ads most likely get placed months in advance, I hope they'll think twice about this campaign again. It's always refreshing when media claim no blame in what they allow in advertisements. As a sexuality resource center owner and someone who has to pay for advertising, I know for a fact magazines have a say in what's published in ads.

If you are feeling defensive and thinking of the sensitive wash you have upstairs in your shower right now, don't fret. There is nothing wrong with washing external genitalia with mild or ph-balanced soap. But some feminine washes may do much more harm than good. Internally, it's important to remind women that the vagina is in fact self-cleaning and usually doesn't appreciate harsh soaps, scents and detergents. At Self Serve we found a great line of vulva-friendly products for when you do feel the need to refresh. Perhaps after sex or exercise, though, not necessarily before a job interview.

1 comment:

Kerewin West said...

I love this Molly! Steve was also very impressed. Way to get action out of the media!