Are we really still complaining about tampon ads?
"Get them up there, girls."
The other day, in the second (!) Liveline escapade of recent weeks, Joe Duffy was met with a series of callers who were none too pleased about a certain tampon ad.
The ad in question, from Tampax, depicts a chat show scenario in which a young girl is asked by a presenter if she can ever feel her tampon. She nods yes before being told that she shouldn't be able to - not if she has inserted it correctly.
The ad then proceeds to explain how to insert a tampon by getting them "up there girls!" to avoid discomfort.
Everybody cheers and gets on with their day. Fin.
If you have yet to see the ad, you can check it out here:
30 seconds of fairly innocuous information advertising, right?
Absolutely, but to read the comments beneath the video - or to listen to the callers on Joe Duffy - one would presume that the ad was anything but.
In fact, you'd almost be forgiven for mistakingly thinking that Tampax had created something monstrous, a piece of advertising that had failed women everywhere, made men sick, and brought shame to those among us who menstruate frequently.
While many people praised the ad for giving young women factual and necessary information, others dubbed it "vulgar," "crude," and "offensive."
One caller even suggested that the ad only be shown after 10pm - the prime time that women begin menstruating, apparently.
But Liveline callers weren't the only ones with issues (though they were the only ones threatening to stop paying their licence fees).
YouTube rips of the ad are too populated with complaints from viewers stating that the ad makes them cringe, that they don't want to see periods portrayed in this way, that they miss the allure of shoving a tampon up your sleeve and stealing away to the bathroom hoping that nobody knows what you're up to.
This, unfortunately, is a crucial part of the reason why so much shame and embarrassment around periods still exists. Not because they're shameful or embarrassing, but because we're told that they should be.
The likelihood is that an ad like this will make a lot of young women feel more comfortable about using tampons, or at least, encourage them to chat about sanitary products openly.
"Not just the tip, up to the grip" would've helped pre-teens like me who had no idea how to insert a tampon and therefore shied away from using them for years.
It would have tackled a lot of the fear and uncertainty that often comes with using a tampon for the first time, normalised it, and - as per the chat show set up in the ad itself - presented it as something that can, indeed, be talked about.
Because it can - and not just after the watershed.