Living

Should maxi pad ads trade that blue liquid for red?

The reality of menstruation has never troubled maxi pad and tampon advertisers who always look on the bright side of the cramping, bloating, blood and acute self-hatred that accompanies the shedding of one’s uterine lining each month.

696-03397885d

Masterfile

The reality of menstruation has never troubled maxi pad and tampon advertisers who always look on the bright side of the cramping, bloating, blood and acute self-hatred that accompanies the shedding of one’s uterine lining each month. 

Bless them for it— and full marks for creativity. In advertiser’s hands, getting your period looks like something fun: a chance to do the splits or ride a pummel horse while wearing spandex short-shorts. 
Put one of those blissful, white pant-wearing Always ads in a time capsule and in 1,000 years aliens are going to think menstruation was human society’s rather dour term for what is clearly a week-long party in a woman’s granny panties. 
I can’t really blame advertisers for their whimsy. Who wants to see a screaming woman chasing her dog down the hallway, a soiled maxi clamped in its jaws, when a walk along the beach is so much more appealing?
Always is breaking with tradition, however, and is dipping its big toe in ‘truth in advertising’ territory with a new print ad (see it here via gawker) in which a maxi pad (with wings, of course for how else may a woman soar during that time of month?) displays a little red dot in the centre.  
The dot is significant—or at least the colour of the dot is a big deal. It may just be the first time that red has entered the colour scheme of menstrual advertising, which has traditionally relied on a beaker full of blue liquid to stand in for blood.
A red dot, as any woman (or curious Labrador Retriever) can tell you isn’t exactly an accurate picture of a period either. Thank god for it. Please, Always, stop with the dot. Go no further. Do not speckle that white saddle with anymore of your bloody dots. 
Here’s why: it’s unnecessary. 
I know what happens to that winged beast in the wild and I don’t need to see a National Geographic-style treatment of a maxi pad in a magazine or on TV—ever. This request for illusion in advertising doesn’t just extend to my own bodily functions. I don’t want to see real mucus in cough and cold ads (I prefer my mucus to look like an animated figure, thanks). And I don’t believe that a scratch n’ sniff deodorant experience is necessary to our continuing cultural evolution. 
Unlike my decision to wear pants in summer rather than shorts, this is not evidence of body hatred. It’s simply a concession to decorum, and yes, squeamishness.