The month of women’s issues is enjoying its annual (re)cycle. Cat Pritchard unleashes her hormonal wrath on those playful pink plugs.
“Women’s products”. No two words have ever been more softly spoken and loudly packaged since the advent of glow-in-the-dark condoms. Don’t buy into their playful pink trappings. They might as well be “ribbed for her (dis) pleasure” for all the satisfaction they offer women. They serve a function, yes, but I suspect their real purpose is to allow advertising companies to think of more inane ways to put dogs and women in the same energetic storyline. “What if the Labrador gets off the lead and the woman suddenly finds the confidence to chase it across the park?” pipes the male copywriter recently demoted to this account. A more likely scenario would have Acne Amy in loose sweat pants watching romcoms with her cat, her hot water bottle artfully shielding her from stupid questions like “do you want to go out tonight?” If the aim of marketing is to destigmatize this “women’s issue” by creating a block of pink pride in the toiletry aisle, they really haven’t cottoned on to the fact that wrapping every item in bright youthful colours doesn’t help a 13-year-old girl feel less awkward when they fall out of her bag in front of the guy she’s been tweeting. Neon plastic is about as empowering as a huge chunk of kryptonite falling at your feet, rendering your powers of speech useless, while the giggling masses watch the painful scene unfold.
So yes, I have some many feelings about these expensive cotton sticks on a string and none of them sit very comfortably on my uterus. In my view, these products should be soaking up government spend instead of every woman’s monthly reserves. No menstruating women = no children = no country. Period. There I said it. So bloody what? It’s ludicrous to me that, in this connected age, we are still disconnected from the reality that many young girls stay home from school every time they get “the monthly visitor.” How have we turned said visitor into a high school bully who steals their lunch money every month and makes them too scared to go out and play on the playground? Now there’s a stigma worth tackling.
I’m also a bit tired of wincing at the words “women’s products”. Maybe it’s time to put this term through the old commercial spin cycle and see what comes out in the wash. We are, after all, the stronger, all-consuming sex, the China of the gender spend. Why does noone seem to covet our (lighter shade of) “Pink Dollar” unless we have toddlers in tow? So, in the interests of keeping it light and fluffy, here are three “women’s products” I would like to see accrue more commercial interest:
A female-weighted airline: the average woman weighs much less than a man, but do any steel carriers across the seas or skies award us for our aerodynamics and svelte design? No. They punish us for being talented consumers (who keep the economy buoyant) by charging us when our sales bargains don’t squeeze into their anorexic restrictions. Surely one airline will have the foresight (and marketing insight) to offer women at least 20kg extra baggage down below for the weight we save them up above?
All-you-can-treat buffet: There’s a lot of maintenance that comes with being the fairer sex, self inflicted and commercially induced though it may be. That monthly rotation of waxes, haircuts, facials, manicures, eyebrow threading et al adds up to a lot of time and money badly spent. So why not take that old mucho “all-you-can-eat” buffet, give it a feminine makeover and turn it into an all-you-can-treat beauty buffet, where women can make their way through these essential treatments for a limited period and set price. Anyone?
Single-friendly zips: there is no greater reminder of ones single status (after Facebook) than the lonely dress zip, placed with great smugness by some male designer, on the nape of the neck. Surely this zip could be placed where one doesn’t have to dislocate ones elbows to complete the process? What’s the point of a power dress if it doesn’t empower sisters to do it for themselves? Call me old fashioned but I just think that any item of clothing that makes you want to burst into tears from sheer frustration and sadness at having to use a paperclip to get into your party dress, is not a progressive leap for womankind. And please no back zips on a bridesmaids dress. It’s just unnecessary.
Happy women’s month to all the women out there who battle outdated stereotypes and marketing stupidity every day. (Even you Caitlin Jenners).