Vagina Marketing

Warning: this rant was inspired by my friend Jenn Whinnem and some bullshit I’ve read and seen in the last couple weeks. If my ‘feminist politics’ get your boxers, briefs, thongs or granny panties in a twist, feel free to bounce rate out of here.

Vagina Marketing

How does one go about marketing the vagina? That was my question to Jenn, along with the ‘joke’ that it’s illegal to do so save Nevada. See this is about the marketing of the word vagina.

Words change meaning. In Kate and Leopold Liev Schriber couldn’t stop laughing at how commonplace the word Erection was used back in old timey, sephia-toned days for something other selling boners to middle aged men.

Words have connotations. There’s the riddle designed to show gender bias, about the doctor who’s Dun Dun DUN! also a Mother, the kind that’s a woman. With ovaries.

The brain trust at Summer’s Eve is at again, because their last round of douchey stupidity wasn’t dumb enough. The meme of their latest blight on marketing:

Vaginas are awesome!


Look people, stop squirming. You wouldn’t be here without a vagina, unless you’re a clone, were hatched in a lab or are possibly an alien. It’s a word, a part of the anatomy. I’m more squeaked out by the word bowels, so let’s pretend to not be 12 years old or Butthead’s 2nd cousin, thrice removed. Ahem.

They have cast a Cat on a Mission, a CAT PUPPET as spokesperson for this ‘viral’ atrocity. Bad tongue in cheek meta puns, OMG.

SpokesKITTY Carlton is supposed to make the WORD Vaginal synonymous with Awesome. The point is “to get women talking about their bodies in an open way,” according to their press release. And this shit will somehow help them sell crap.

Western civilization is doomed

Time capsule: Jersey Shore, Viagra, E-Harmony, KY ‘for women’, overpriced cars, junk food, no-effort diets, teeth whitening. We’re apparently the most vapid, narcissistic, selfish little trolls and sadly much of this crap is being ‘marketed’ to and/or ‘for’ women. Piffle.

Thinking about Cialis, Viagra ads, all ripe for the mocking – thank YouTube. They’ll use terms like ‘ED’ or ‘erectile disfunction’ but don’t dare use the words penis, flacid, limp, impotent, soft or anything else that might dare suggest the lack of a man reaction is anything other than a serious medical problem. Guess you don’t make money making dudes feel crappy about themselves, worrying about penile freshness? IDK. - Having a vagina doesn't stop me from believing that my balls are bigger than yours.
Women on the other hand, it’s some inferiority on their parts – which marketers exploit to sell them crap – if they can’t pass the freshness test or experience that pleasure moment. See also, KY and its Intense ‘for women’ ads that are in fact, also very much about and for men.

Summer’s Eve has decided that the way to remove the ‘stigma’ of the word vagina – quoting from their press release – is to invent “a fun way to give it a new, positive place in today’s vernacular.”

Because the word vagina itself is so offensively negative?! I get what they wanted to do, but think this is pretty much a dumb, offensive way to go about doing it. That or I just don’t get their brand of funny.

The part I skipped

Same week I saw this: the courts decided that violence towards women was cool to sell to kids, provided the scantily-clad women covered their naughiest of digitally-enhanced, jiggling NIPPLE and VAGINA bits. Yes, I am over simplifying. I’m also skipping another 1,200 word diatribe on cultural values and who is responsible when a child of 12 buys a ‘game’ in which the object is to shoot, kill, curse, steal, fight and/or abuse women.

Instead, I’ll ask the marketers “to women for women” WTH my version of a game would be like, if it will be totally Vaginal and when can I expect it to hit shelves? Oh if I score points by buying shoes, you’re all fired. Blah blah tell me what you think blah.

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44 thoughts on “Vagina Marketing

  1. Hi Davina! I found this particular post via Shonali. How funny. You are right though about the marketing for men and women when it comes to ahem sensitive subjects. Saw the stupidest ad the other day on tv for pads. It was supposed to be sarcastic but was just plain dumb. Shoot wish I could remember which brand it was for.

    Not certain what the problem is with the word vagina. So much better than so many other words used!

    And no you didn’t get my hanky panky thongs in a twist! (they are simply the best undies BTW)
    ExpatDoctorMom recently posted..The Doctor is In!

    1. Was flattered Shonali highlighted this post, and gotta give a h/t to Jenn Whinnem for calling this to my attention. “Stupidest” – that’s the word I think of when it comes to a lot of ads, but especially the ones aimed at me. Not just that the ads themselves are dumb, but that they are also treating their consumers as if they’re morons.

      It’s a weird thing Rajka, the two sides of the coin: on one side, we’re squeamish about the word ‘vagina’ and yet, the other it’s all sex sells, and one story, article, feature after another about how to find love, improve sex life, blah blah. Panky thongs.. no idea and not looking it up, so Google can’t sell that info to some unsuspecting marketer. 😉

  2. Wow, I thought my headlines were cool, this one is pure awesome.

    Yes, men worry about penis smell, at least the uncut ones. That smegma when heated by tighty whiteys is the equivalent to a dirty woman’s foul odor…So I’ve heard…

    As for marketing the vagina, well I’d say it markets itself. The porn word seems to do just fine. It’s the disturbing underbelly and back alley topics that keeps the vagina from rolling off the tongue in a playful way….(double entendres for the win)

    As for video games, really Davina, do you want to censor creative art? You know better than that. If the kids buy the game, it’s the parent’s responsibility to monitor their kids violence intake which applies to both men and women.

    Lastly, nobody would buy a video game where the player sits on a couch watching Sex and The City, eating Ice Cream and crying about how John is such an asshole when he takes his Cialis when I’m not in the mood bullshit.


    1. You used a good word Brad: PORN. Lots of folks spice up blogs with that one, Food Porn, I follow Chart Porn, I watch some travel porn.. so many uses and that word does just fine, even in some conservative, corporate places. Yes it’s up to the parent who gives a kid money and/or lets them play the games.. no quibble w/ you, just skipped that rant. No longer a SATC fan, though I have to admit I got a few laughs the first few seasons. And you’ve illustrated my point as that is not a game for me, not even close.. and yet too many marketers think it would be. Glad you stopped by today.

  3. I wonder how much money they spent on this. What a waste.

    I hate cutesy pseudo-little girl voices. Talking vaginas don’t interest me, any more than talking penises do. I think I just set myself up with that one…

    I also automatically zone out press releases that introduce the company as “the leading…” – I mean, really? How do you know it’s leading? I’d never heard of the brand before this and none of this would make me go out and buy any of their products.

    And I have news for them – Eve Ensler is the Gloria Steinem of vaginas.

    OK, I’ll stop now.
    Shonali Burke recently posted..How Arena Stage Uses Initiators to Grow its Audience

    1. Yay! You can comment. And heh. 🙂 This is dumb, offensive and I really wonder how much money has been wasted and continued.. unique URL, vids, ‘viral’ shenanigans, press releases via wire services, etc. Thanks.

        1. Agreed, I liked Shonali’s comment too. I’ve searched a little, can only find a couple of plugins that use ‘thumbs up/down’ and I don’t want the thumb or the negative option. I’ll keep looking. 🙂

    1. This. Forget my outrage as a woman being treated like an idiot, THIS! Just like that print ad last year, someone thought this was a good idea, put money behind it. Did they test, did the testing work? IDK but yeah this is anything but ‘fun.’ Thanks Marianne.

  4. I almost don’t know where to put my face when I read you Davina..and at the same time I’m clapping like some wild banshee on steroids…you are too much in the best possibe way. A little off topic, but I was talking with some girlfriends about the difference in how they market products to men and women. With us its all “tap into the insecurities”, like shit..we have enough of them. With the guys it;s like ” ego ego ego”. Your social, political, no BS observations are simply brilliant
    Stacey Herbert recently posted..Stop Being A Pussy – Cat

    1. That’s just it Stacey. Beer companies, car companies, ESPN… they don’t go ‘now how do we make this about men?’ and ‘what would a ‘man’ think is funny?’ as if they’re trying to solve a riddle. They just write funny. And yet when it is women as the target audience, some marketers put on dunce caps and outthink themselves in the most horrific, predatory, manipulative ways. They decide that my XX chromosomes are in fact the problem and what makes me a dumb consumer?! IDK .. but you are correct, it’s bullshit. And thanks for your kind words.. ‘clapping like a banshee’ .. I’ll take it!

  5. Okay, yes, I’m the one who urged Davina to blog about this. Here’s why. She wrote a great send up of the Summer’s Eve campaign previously, and then did another post about why marketing to women is usually terrible – she was hoping the Old Spice Guy could tell her why marketing to men was funny, but women’s is terrible. It was those 2 posts that got me paying attention to Davina as a blogger. It’s nothing I haven’t read in Bitch Magazine (OMG did I actually say that word? HEAVENS), but it was delightful and refreshing to read in a world of same ole same ole marketing blogs. Respect to my friends, but as @soulati wrote today, it’s an echo chamber.

    But let’s think about Davina’s post for a minute. It is OH SO SHOCKING to say the word “vagina” here – but totally acceptable for someone to write a post “Lose Your Blogging Virginity Like a Slut” ? Give me a break. We can invoke a word used to punish women for their sexuality to rack up the retweets, but not use the word commonly accepted in the English language as being the “dictionary/medicaal” word for that body part. Yeah okay.

    The REAL outrage here is not the word “vagina.” The REAL outrage is that Summer’s Eve has armored themselves in a campaign that aims to make the vagina acceptable….to profit off a product that is all about how unacceptable the vagina is (hurry up, make it smell like a gardenia already). HYPOCRISY.

    At any rate, you’re a gem to humor me Davina. Loved seeing your take on it.

    1. Thank you Jenn. Slut, virginity, asshole, douchebag! See, I ain’t shy. Plenty of ‘to F-bomb or not to F-bomb?’ posts out there, but VAGINA has folks running for the vapors. Hypocrisy indeed.

      It’s insulting to me to tell me there is something wrong with a word that is a basic, clinical term for my body, to mock its misuse and derision.. then try to use that to sell me crap. As a marketer I think, how much money are they spending, who thought this would really help them? Happy to humor you, I thought it made a fun blog post – but then, this is my kind of ‘humor’ isn’t it. 😉

    2. Jenn, I love it when you get riled up!
      Davina, I loved the rant.
      I hated that viral video, it was actually more of a vile video. Come on. Really? Who are they marketing to here? Prepubescent boys? College kids who will think it’s hilarious? Not sure, but it missed the mark with me (and I have the said body part).

      I’ve been remiss in coming by, Davina. H/t to Bill for his v-bomb on Jayme’s blog post today or I woulda missed it!
      Erica Allison recently posted..Big Lesson from Triberr: It’s All About the Relationships!

      1. Was JUST over there sticking up for Bill, didn’t get a chance to earlier. Happy his comment sent you this way Erica. And I’m very glad Jenn pointed me this direction as damn this is dumb. Did you read that press release, like seriously, they think it’s a good idea?! To spend actual money on this? Much of the ‘to women for women’ ads miss the mark with me too b/c they pander, they insult.. they just suck. FWIW.

  6. So Mr. Bill took this post and tried to insert the word “vagina” only into his comments on my blog. When someone chastised, he blamed your blog, and then I hastily reminded him that my blog is not your blog. Follow me?

    I see Klout scores heading higher for your key word rich tome. Woah.
    Jayme Soulati recently posted..Do You Amplify the Echo Chamber?

    1. I saw where he wrote that, just trying not to over comment.. should I stop by and stick up for him? Not sure about my Klout score changing, but it’ll be fun to see if my expertise changes. BTW, you’re the first woman to say HI here.. just an observation.

      1. And, at the end of the day, we’re all friends. Bill and Davina, King and Queen, I commend you for your raucousness and stirring the pot everywhere. I never blog about body parts; not sure I ever will; however, I can admire those who do and hold them in the highest regard. Love you both.
        Jayme Soulati recently posted..Do You Amplify the Echo Chamber?

  7. Davina you hear about ED because of the power behind the word penis. Really, the last thing you want to do is unleash the power of the penis because it is a mighty force capable of moving mountains, freeing slaves from bondage and all sorts of other penile purposes.

    Damn, you got me giggling like a school boy who can’t help but shout penis, penis, penis all over the school yard.

    And now that I have done wonders for your SEO I bid you adieu. 😉
    Jack @ TheJackB recently posted..He Put A Gun To My Head

    1. I cannot wait for the spammers to go after this Jack. Quick, someone tell jokes about free porn. 😉 What is it with the words that make us giggle? Grey’s Anatomy spawned that ‘vajayjay’ euphemism, which was cute for maybe 5 seconds, then got dumb as everyone started using it. IDK.. only so many eyerolls to go around.

      1. Many years ago I got into trouble for telling someone at a party that I had Tourette’s syndrome. It was tasteless, but I have to admit it was a fun evening.

  8. Uh, I think I’m moist after reading this; does that count?

    It’s like the joke w/ two little kids (boy & girl) playing outside. He says ‘show me yours, and I’ll show you mine’. They pull down their pants and he brags ‘I have one of ‘these’ and you don’t’. Upset, the girl runs home crying. Next day they are playing and same scenario occurs. He says ‘show me yours, and I’ll show you mine’. They pull down their pants and the boys brags again. Only this time the girl says ‘that’s nothing, my mom says as long as I have one of ‘these’, I can’t get as many of ‘those’ that I want’………………..doh……….

    Oh wait, this was supposed to be a post on marketing? I don’t know, it’s kind of like watching porn w/ someone else; it all makes me uncomfortable………..:).

    I gotta go before I totally kill your post; obviously I don’t have one intelligent thing to say. I just know you started it………..
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Take me to your leader

    1. Yeah, there’s a difference. It’s a funny joke, so there’s that Bill. I won’t add one of my own as damn this get comment thread could get away from me in a hurry. As far as marketing goes, of course you’ll never please everyone but somehow this stuff just strikes me as dumb, or treating me as dumb. Which I try not to be. 🙂

  9. The names and synonyms are all slurs, interestingly not only English but pretty much across the languages I know.
    Words have power and this says it all.

    I never saw your writing as feminist rant, wonder which posts have got you all upset Davina?
    John Falchetto recently posted..How to get past challenges

    1. It’s not that I consider my writing to be feminist, but once in a while a topic like this sparks something along those lines. It’s not a post that has me upset John, and clearly I’m not all that tweaked as I am making fun of it with my jokes and jabs. I don’t like being marketed ‘down’ to as if because I’m a woman, I am therefore an idiot or there’s something wrong with me that can only be fixed by buying crap. Yes I realize that’s consumerism and how it goes, but there are some instances when 1) I know I’m the target of said ads and 2) it’s done so poorly it pushes my buttons the wrong way. For wine I will.

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