real life

Luxury tampons: for women with fancy vaginas

Isn’t it time you gave your va-jay-jay a special treat? Rewarded it for all its years of (mostly) good service bar the occasional bout of cystitis, thrush or, you know, an ingrown? Then Kotex has JUST the suggestion. Luxury pads and tampons!

I received a package of these – two boxes of tampons and two boxes of pads – from the PR company and yes, they certainly looked posh. More posh than most of my cosmetics and a bit like something you’d buy in one of those fancy shmancy food stores that charge $24 for a small bottle of olive oil.

When I posted this photo on Twitter, I received some very amusing replies which included references to “corporate boxes” and “a tight market”. One person made the shrewd observation that “It is just rebranding by Kotex, young periods get fluro colours, older periods get black and silver!” and MM regular, Angela, wondered “are they going to make Bogan tampons for the vaginas in my neighbourhood?”

Much amusement was had by me reading all this when I was meant to be finishing my column. Thank you Kotex for the diversion.

At The Punch yesterday, Annie Markay wrote about how she thought the whole idea of luxury sanitary products was ridiculous….

“….I spotted the ad last week. Gorgeous girl (mid-body shot only, no bloat evident). Looks like she never scoffs five burgers in a row or yells at her partner. Never gets PMT. And why would she? She’s using luxury tampons – presumably wrought from the pelt of a resting panda, tufts of angora rabbit and a tennis bracelet.

These tampons are so fancy, they’ve given themselves platinum status. It’s “a touch of luxury where you need it most”. Pardon? The only difference I can see is well-designed box (pardon the pun) and a jazzy website with lots of helpful info. It’s time to get a grip. This is one product where practicality and convenience rules.

Sure, the Federal Government has been trying to convince us for years that the humble tampon is the equivalent of, say, a knuckle-dragging diamond. That’s why we still pay GST on them.

But you don’t see feminine hygiene products emblazoned with Chanel’s iconic double C. You don’t see tampon rip-offs at the markets in Hong Kong or Bangkok. I’m yet to have a conversation with a friend (male or female) that started with the words “Did you see X’s tampon? Geez, I wish I could afford one of those.”

And if luxury equals status, the very notion of the trumped-up tampon begs one question: Who would ever know you were using one? Nope, this is marketing gone mad. The final frontier in the push for posh.

And it goes hand-in-hand with a trend that says only the best will do – for everyone, always – because, no matter that we bludged all day at work or bitched about our mates or kicked the cat, we deserve it.

We told daily we’re worth it. We’ve bought into the idea that $500 shoes are a ‘must-have’. That labels are such desirable social currency that we’ll fake it rather than admit we can’t afford – or (gasp!) don’t deserve – the real thing.

But no matter how magnificent the luxury tampon, I can’t see a market for counterfeits any time soon. And I despair that marketers think some women will be so dim as to be sucked in by a bit of premium branding on a product that is, in the end, a necessity.”

There are some excellent points there. What do you think? Would you be tempted to treat your vagina to a box of luxury tampons if it were behaving particularly well? Does branding even matter to you when it comes to pads and tampons?

[thanks Amanda Bugmum]

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