On a normal walk down the street in a city like Sydney, anyone would expect to see bus stop advertising featuring titillating images of women. So when I recently noticed some posters of naked women in sensuous poses, I barely even bothered to see what they were for.
But I did stop and look, and right down in the bottom corner I saw that they were for Kotex–and not just any floral-boxed tampons and pads, but for luxurious “U by Kotex Platinum” ones!
Now that’s interesting, I thought: naked, sexualized women selling intimate products to other women.
Naked women, with their long hair flowing from semi-decapitated heads and strategically covering their nipples, following the line of their airbrushed bodies. And here I was, thinking you needed to be wearing underwear for a pad to even stay put.
The U by Kotex Platinum ads are certainly a departure from what we’re used to seeing in advertising for feminine hygiene products—for example, the fantasy of a Tampax commercial, or the sporty, active images of a Playtex ad. Usually, ads for these products involve women who show us how unrestricted we can be, even when having our period.
The new Kotex Platinum ads seem to have fallen into the mindset of the cosmetics industry, where women are shown images of unattainable beauty standards to recognize what they themselves are lacking.
Is Kotex trying to be controversial with Platinum, or is this just what they think women want to see? Am I supposed to look like that when I have my period? How are these images supposed to appeal to women?