New York Subway May Turn Down Ad Campaign for Period Panties (Weight Loss and Breast Enhancement Posters Still Totally Cool)
Thinx, the creators of those panties you can wear during your period if you’re done with tampons, pads, and cups, recently proposed an advertising campaign for the New York City subway as part of their mission to break down “the taboo around menstruation.”
For anyone who’s not familiar with the ads on New York’s subways, it would seem, judging from appearances, that advertisers aren’t asked to meet a family-friendly criteria:
These are everywhere.
But Thinx’s proposed campaign has met with a lot of resistance from Outfront Media, a company that manages a large portion of the MTA’s advertising.
Proposed ads for the campaign feature women wearing Thinx and camisoles or long-sleeved shirts, posed next to evocative imagery like a cracked egg or an opened grapefruit. the campaign’s slogan is “Underwear for women with periods,” you can see the ads themselves over on Mic. In an email exchange obtained by Mic, an Outfront representative told Thinx CEO Mike Agrawal that the ads “seem to have a bit too much skin,” and that the egg and grapefruit “regardless of the context, seems inappropriate.”
It’s particularly hilarious to see Outfront sweat over suggestive food, when the NY Subway also features these breast enhancement ads:
I’m fully raging against this NY subway ad for Doctors Plastic Surgery. Sends a terrible message to women & girls. pic.twitter.com/evAijY6ejN
— Meridith (@strawbgirl) April 25, 2015
When Thinx marketing director Victoria del Rosario asked an Outfront representative why breast grapefruits are okay when Thinx’s suggestive food was not, she was reportedly told:
[…] the grapefruit breasts don’t represent female anatomy.’ I said they represent breasts, obviously. [The rep] told me representing something is different than ‘looking like’ something, and that he misspoke. I [also] asked what, specifically, the egg ‘looked like,’ and he said it looked like male ejaculation or female fluids.
Del Rosario told Mic that, before Thinx submitted its proposal, a representative voiced concern over the slogan “For Women With Periods.” She recounted another conversation with Outfront to Mic:
I stated [to an Outfront rep] that it was extremely disheartening that [certain other ads] could fly, but something for women that speaks directly to women isn’t OK by them. He replied, ‘This is not a women’s issue. Don’t try to make it a women’s rights thing.’
But it’s impossible not to see this as a women’s issue, when Thinx’s implicit messages about menstruation are deemed somehow more shameful than the many ads on the subway that explicitly tell women our bodies are too flabby, too flat, or too old. In addition to countless ads for breast enhancement and other cosmetic surgeries, the MTA also recently featured a Protein World ad asking women if they’re “Beach Body Ready”:
So this woman isn’t showing too much skin for the subway, but menstruating women wearing long-sleeved shirts are? Yep, totally not a women’s issue.
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