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‘Camp Gyno’: Great Period Ad or the Greatest Period Ad?

‘Camp Gyno’: Great Period Ad or the Greatest Period Ad?

I remember when I first got my period. Sort of. I remember being kind of horrified. I knew what was happening, but it was still kind of perplexing. And Thor forbid I ask anyone about it. Us girls were taught that a girl’s period was something to be hidden and ashamed about, even though approximately half of the population goes through it. And oh boy, those feminine products have to stay out of sight — they’re obscene!

Tampon and pad product advertisements have helped ingrain this shame. I mean, what’s up with that infamous blue liquid used in so many ads over the years? The only girl for whom that might be relevant is Smurfette.

Well, finally we have an awesome new ad that doesn’t shy away from the topic, thanks to Hello Flo:

Whoa. As noted at Buzzfeed, this commercial does everything that classic tampon commercials don’t: the girl says menstruation, vagina, period and gyno! Amazing.

But it’s not just the words said; it’s the whole attitude. This girl is owning her period. It’s her red badge of courage! Her period fills her with power and confidence. It’s not something to be hidden. And she uses her new-found wisdom to help her fellow girls. (OK, so she goes a little power mad, but nobody’s perfect).

This is an awesome, exuberant portrayal of a completely natural and totally not-gross part of life. I love it so much.

As far as I can tell, this commercial has received universally positive reviews. But one blogger points out that there could be some hypocrisy here. On their website, Hello Flo uses phrases like:

“I didn’t want to trek through my office with a practically see-through plastic bag with tampons”

“We do it with care and appreciation for the sensitivity of this purchase.”

“All your tampons and feminine supplies delivered right to your door in a discreet box.”

The blogger equates this with the shaming women are subjected to all the time for daring to have a body that is functioning normally.

And I can see her point. However, I’m having a hard time getting too worked up about it. It’s not unreasonable to think that women might want to keep this kind of thing private. After all, we don’t yet live in a world where we can talk about our periods openly in mixed company. We still live in a world where people actually believe antiquated and disproven links between daily moods and menstrual cycle. I don’t really blame women for wanting to avoid all of that cultural baggage.

But I will admit that there is something a little icky about talking about “the sensitivity of this purchase.” I mean, they’re just tampons, right? It might not hurt for Hello Flo to take the message of awesome empowerment they so effectively portray in the commercial into other aspects of their advertising.

In the end, this doesn’t dampen how fantastic this commercial is. I’m definitely inspired to wear my red badge of courage more proudly in the future.

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Photo Credit: YouTube/Hello Flo

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4:44PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013


12:07AM PDT on Aug 17, 2013

Whoa, that was a disturbing ad!!! What a bossy, crude and obnoxious girl!

Getting your period is not an empowering thing, it's uncomfortable and potentially painful -- although I *am* happy I got it, as this means my body is functioning well. I feel no need to glamorize it the way the author of this article does: it is JUST a bodily function, like sweating or pooping. And my unwillingness to not parade my pads around stems from the same unwillingness to use the restroom with the door open -- it's a *private* moment and sharing it with others serves no purpose whatsoever.

Also, I don't need a study to tell me what I do or do not feel before or during my periods. My pm mood changes are all too real and that's an observation I've made consistently through the years.

10:52AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

This video felt vaguely disturbing to me. What is a need to show girls so obsessed with popularity so they even use their period as a tool to obtain higher status? Why to teach girls be power hungry and competitive towards each other? Besides that, the video didn't show anything how to use tampons for their primary purpose - menstruation. An unaware child watching it may decide they are used for fighting or should be stuck up their nose.

11:57PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Thanks 4 posting

10:03PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Only in America! I really REALLY didn't like the bossy 'power thing
' one bit! Of course, menstrutation is gradually being a more open subject, which is healthy, but do we REALLY want to teach our girl children to be so brash and bazen? We don't have to lose our feminity to be worthwhile! I am afraid that as some of the other comments say... It is mostly about periods being painful and totally inconvenient at best and not about feeling powerful and totally proud of ourselves.!!.. It is just another one of those annoying facts of life. Frankly I thought that comments about the hormonal moods must have been written by a man! Most women get hopping MAD when other people put their ideas or emotions which they consider to be wrong or of no value, as being 'hormonal' as they just give men another excuse for subtly putting us down, which we have been fighting against for aeons!!!

3:06AM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

I agree with Jasper P.

1:04AM PDT on Aug 8, 2013


2:41PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

I am glad that menstruation is not being treated as shameful- but I didn't find my periods to be empowering at all- too full of painful cramps! Sooo glad it's over!

10:51PM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

Never thought that this stuff should be advertised (anymore that Vaigra or condoms), but it really is a cute commercial!

2:02PM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

While this ad is certainly better than previous euphemisms-and-blue-liquid campaigns, I don't think it necessarily encourages women to be more comfortable with our bodies and periods. The message the ad sends is not "this kid is awesome and let's all be cool with vaginas" but "DON'T be like this kid; buy our product instead". Watch all the way through (from 1:20 to the end). The key line, in my opinion, is "How could a camp gyno compete with [our product]?"

Also, did anybody else notice the subtext (0:55) that girls who are comfortable and proud of their periods are mean and have "power going to their heads?

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