This empowering feminist war-cry disguised as an attempt to sell sanitary towels has been doing the Facebook/Twitter rounds lately:
Let’s look at the marketing angle first: someone’s clearly watched the way in which Dove has built a huge brand by being nice to women. If I were a little bit cynical (which I’m definitely not), I would suggest that the kindness is somewhat motivated by the chance that it might generate cash. The Always brand is owned by Proctor and Gamble, who have mined their own seam of pleasantness with this tribute to ‘moms’:
(By the way, is it sexist to connect ‘moms’ to the products made by Proctor and Gamble? Is that not an patronising and assumptive reinforcement of patriarchal gender roles?)
Anyway, being nice to females seems now to be a well-trodden path to selling them things. Is that bad? Can it be justified if a single unconfident little girl is inspired by this ad to gain the confidence she needs to be happy and successful? Well, here’s the real question: do you think Always would have made this ad if thought it would cost them sales? So how genuine is this supposed exercise in altruism?
That aside, does the concept stand up?
‘You ….. like a girl’ is definitely an insult, so I guess they make a good point. But then they seem to link this somewhat spuriously to puberty (supposedly the time when this phrase starts to become an insult), making the connection (I guess) to Always. I don’t know about you, but I would have thought ‘you run like a girl’ becomes negative before then, but if that were the case, what would sanitary towels have to do with the whole thing? (And while we’re at it: ‘Sanitary towels’? Doesn’t that place a negative value on the whole area of menstruation, like it’s something unclean?)
I think this is where we start to realise that someone’s observation that the ‘like a girl’ suffix can cause damage is just one of many unrelated points we could make in the feminine hygiene (negative again?) sector. And anyway, isn’t the prefix ‘man’ (man flu, man bags, man boobs) also negative? Where are the masculists to defend the men from such sexism?. Yes, I am stretching a point, but it is exactly the same point Always is stretching.
Hey, if you want to base your panty liner choice on bollocks like this, be my guest, but I’d have thought that not falling for the patronising, manipulative codswallop of a giant, money-hungry corporation would be far more empowering.
UPDATE: a lady agrees with me.