In Which I Substitute an Email Conversation with Liss for a Post

elle: Have u seen the U by Kotex commercials?

Here (Transcripts at bottom):

and here:

and this one (from Australia, it turns out) with the actual BEAVER (it took me a moment to get it--don't tell anyone :-):

(not the one I showed list--turns out, these have been running for a while in Australia and there's a bunch of 'em)

Liss: I hadn't seen them! So, my awesome response is... On the one hand: YES. On the other: NO.


It's like, yeah, I hate those "my period makes me spin in happy circles with my face to the sun" ads. But tampon makers *just not making them* is sufficient. Mocking them strikes me as just an attempt for women to distance themselves from something which has been, rightly or wrongly, associated with femininity and womanhood. Which comes across as just mocking womanhood.

Blurgh. Or am I overthinking this?

elle: you're not overthinking it at all! That second one especially gave me a similar feeling.

As a sidenote: I wonder if the whiteness of those commercials (backgrounds, clothes, etc.) is mocking the association of white with pure and clean OR just the white-ness of the old commercials. (I already know the answer, don't I?)

And that second commercial, with the "attractive," "racially ambiguous" woman taps into something I've seen black women bloggers and writers discuss, where "racially ambiguous" often serves as something other than/better than "black." I don't have the background to discuss this fully yet, but particularly in the hip hop world, with the racially ambiguous "video vixens," you can see it. Seattle Slim explains a lot more here:
Every video or every movie role where a black woman is required seems to go to lighter skinned women. I have no hate towards these women. It makes no sense. I love all of our shades. We are all beautiful. My animosity is to the industry that attempts to pit us against each other and sends the message that anything mixed with white or some other "light-skinned" race is what is acceptable, and even beautiful; full on black is not.
One of the commenters there notes how (black) rappers often rap about their desire for women who are "half" something else.

And I won't even touch the fact that they used the phrase "good hair."

My attempts at transcripts:

Commercial One (Reality Check):
Opens with a young woman sitting in a room, ostensibly being interviewed about her period, while soft music plays in the background.

Woman One: How do I feel about my period? Uhh… We’re like this. (crosses her index and middle fingers)

Cut to a scene of a smiling woman, glancing at butterflies over her shoulder. Back to Woman One.

Woman One: I want to hold really soft things, like my cat.

Cut to a scene of a decidedly unhappy cat. Housecats don’t snarl, I know, but this cat is doing an impression of that. Back to Woman One, who now has her hand over her chest to indicate “emotional,” or something.

Woman One: Makes me feel really pure

Cut to a scene of a woman, dressed in white, releasing butterflies. Back to Woman One.

Woman One: Sometimes, I wanna just run on a beach.

Cut to a scene of a woman running and frolicking on the beach where the waves meet the shore. Back to Woman One.

Woman One: I like to twirl.

Cut to a scene of a woman, twirling in a white dress while clutching flowers. Back to Woman One.

Woman One: Maybe in slow motion.

Cut to a scene of a woman twirling in a white dress on the beach. Back to Woman One.

Woman One: And I do it in my white spandex.

Cut to a scene of a woman, dancing in white spandex. She’s holding a red ball while doing a standing split. Please note: the red spot is in her hands, not in her white-spandex-covered crotch (sorry, couldn’t resist). Back to Woman One.

Woman One: And usually, by the third day, I really just want to dance.

Cut to a scene of three women, dancing randomly. Everyone has on white bottoms. Back to Woman One.

Woman One: The ads on TV are really helpful. Cuz they use that blue liquid.

Cut to a scene of a side by side comparison, in which disembodied hands pour blue liquid on the seats of two pairs of white panties a la the old pad commercials.

Woman One (nodding): And I’m like, “Oh, that’s what’s supposed to happen!”

Screen goes black and the words: “Why Are Tampon Ads So Ridiculous?” appear. Then, boxes of the new U by Kotex products appear with the words “Break the Cycle”

Voiceover: U by Kotex. A new line of pads, tampons, and liners.

Commercial Two (So Obnoxious):
Open on a commercial with a woman, clad in white, walking amongst swirling white curtains.

Woman: Hi, I’m an unbelievably attractive, 18 to 24 year old female. You can relate to me because I am racially ambiguous.

More walking and swirling.

Woman: And I’m in this commercial because market research shows, girls like you love girls like me.

Cut to scenes of her bouncing around in white room with white curtains while wearing a white leotard, then a white cheerleading outfit (complete with white pom-poms).

Woman: (As images of her from several angles flash) Do all these angles make me seem dynamic? (Scene of her blowing bubbles and smiling) Now I’m going to tell you to buy something. Buy the same tampons I use. Because I’m wearing white pants… (The background steadily changes during this time, but it’s always all white) … and I have good hair. (She swings said “good hair.”) You wish you could be me. (said with an attitude and a head snap. Are we supposed to think she’s less racially ambiguous now?)

Screen goes black and the words: “Why Are Tampon Ads So Obnoxious?” appear. Then, boxes of the new U by Kotex products appear with the words “Break the Cycle”

Voiceover: U by Kotex. A new line of pads, tampons, and liners.

Commercial Three (from Australia):

Alarm clock goes off and starts playing a song with the words “New you” sung repeatedly. Camera pans to a dress and necklace on the floor. Camera circles the room long enough for us to identify it as “feminine” (Pink covers, pillow, pink and purple things hanging up, etc). Finally the occupant of the bed is revealed.


Beaver is wearing a sleeping mask and resisting getting up.

Voiceover: Sleep easy with maximum protection. U overnight ultra-thins. For the ultimate care down there.

Beaver’s hand/paw/claw is slapping at the snooze button. A bag of “U” pads rests beside the clock.

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