Unlike some, this advertisement maybe doesn’t seem particularly problematic at first glance. The issue that is held within it, however, is less overt and more in the subtle assumption made by an ad like this. First of all, in most places, sanitary items such as tampons are still taxed as a luxury good and are sold for profit. This prevents many women* all over the world from having access to regular and affordable sanitary items during their period. Even locally, women* who work on the streets or who are low income do not have the appropriate resources during their periods. Along with this, the ad is selling something as a luxury which really should just be a right. Overall, tampon ads can actually be much more condescending then this one however I found that it represented a lot with what’s problematic around selling necessary items to women* as this construct of empowerment. Going down this line of thinking, I started to think about all the women* which are not included or envisioned during the creation of an ad like this. This young white woman* climbing a wall is a pilar of what a ‘good’ woman* is for an ad like this. It is this subtle erasure of the experience of many other women* who are very active without the access to sanitary items, who deal with great deal of issues around their periods while travelling while seeking refuge in other countries, for example. As well as Trans** women* who deal with stigmatization around their genitalia and suffer greatly for it in terms of access of medical support. This includes the experience of sex workers who are stigmatized due to their choice of money earning as they attempt to access health care. As well as Trans** men who still get their period but experience stigma and embarrassment when having to deal with it in the men’s washroom (like the sound of ripping pads etc…). Overall, the biggest issue here is the commercialization of a product which is required by over half of the world’s population, sold at a profit and taxed as a luxury good as well as the erasure of the experience of many women* or people who receive their periods who do not have access to these products and still live active lifestyles. Basic items required for health and safety of women* should not be so heavily commercialized.
The culture jam which I did here is I turned around the concept of the TAMPAX Active brand and changed it to TAMPAX Activism. This is intended to say multiple things. First of all, it is saying that this kind of commercialization of a product so necessary like tampons is disgusting and disgraceful. All women* (The asterix including all identities of women* and those who Identify outside the binary definition of man and individuals who receive their periods) should have access to basic sanitary items, contraception, and health services, not having them sold to them like it was a luxury item. Secondly, it is inciting this idea that white able women*, who these ads are geared towards, should be working towards changing this inequality. TAMPAX Activism IS for the everyday woman* to go out and help all women* achieve accessible products which they require at minimum to live healthy lives. This image worked really well as the woman* in the picture looks determined and hardworking and I thought of her as climbing the wall as if it was her fighting against the patriarchal assumptions in society. As she climbs, she uses her privilege to fight for women* everywhere, to support not only women like her but all women who require support in accessing certain products which support their health and well-being.
*Including all individuals who self identify with the identity of women, trans, queer, gender fluid, gender queer or any others who receive discrimination based off gender identity or expression.
**Self identified understanding of their own definition of trans and trans identity
~~ Lucy Clarkson