Celebrities are gabbing about it openly. A growing number of grooming products cater to it. And a recent TV commercial hails it as "the cradle of life" and "the center of civilization."
The vagina is becoming big business.
A generation that grew up with more graphic language and sexual images in the media is forgoing the decades-old practice of tiptoeing around female genitalia in favor of more open dialogue about it. To reach digital-age 20- and 30-somethings, who also have shortened attention spans, marketers are using ads that are edgier, more frank and sometimes downright shocking.
Our attention spans are too short to understand that when a soft-focus lady frolics in a field of flowers we are supposed to buy tampons. Instead, we get "downright shocking" commercials calling our shit "the cradle of life." Which it only is if you choose to reproduce! But whatever! Because we are so lucky to have people who want to sell us vagina* products to free us from our shame shackles.
"Gen Y people are more relaxed about their bodies, so there's more attention to products that people would have been embarrassed to talk about before," says Deborah Mitchell, executive director for the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin School of Business. "It's part of this trend of women saying, `Hey, we're not embarrassed to talk about this."
The new freedom to talk about the vagina comes as marketers spend more to get women to buy products for the area. Ad spending for feminine hygiene products, including tampons, panty liners and cleansers, was up nearly 30 percent to $218.9 million in 2010 from two years ago, according to Kantar Media.
Us twenty- and thirty-something gals are free to talk about whatever downstairs business we want because of the benevolent tutelage of corporations. I am so grateful they are willing to let us spend our money on their toxic, floral-scented "feminine deodorants." It is such a learning opportunity for us all. Older ladies, stop being so uptight! Take a cue from these racist talking vagina hand puppet things and shove some stuff up in ya:
But another series of ads, which showed people of different races' hands as puppets appearing to talk as though they were a vagina, was deemed racially insensitive and pulled from the air. The company apologized.
"We're really excited about having that kind of publicity and coverage. A month ago nobody was talking about feminine hygiene," says Zahnen, who added that Summer's Eve learned through research that women were ready to have frank discussions about their bodies. "We just wanted to be sure that the conversation is focused on celebrating and empowering women."
Empowered is just the word I would use to describe how I feel watching those commercials, for sure. Pop quiz: does this article mention Sex and the City? Of course it does! Where else would us women under forty have learned about sex positivity and feminism and junk? Between the commercials and the programming, TV is basically like going to feminist college. Suck it, Bryn Mawr.
I guess the important thing is that now we are all liberated and free to discuss our vaginas, sex, and sexuality without worry that talking frankly about HPV on Twitter would make the entire internet jump down your throat to call you a stupid lying slutbag. We've come a long way, babies. Or are we too young to remember that ad?
*Look, I know, it's your vulva, not your vagina. I've given up the fight. I guess I'm a descriptivist, okay?
Hey nerdballs, follow me on Twitter already, sheesh.