From Women’s Equality Day to Vaginal Spray

by on September 3, 2010 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture

women equality Betty Friedan 1971

Feminist leader Betty Friedan leads women in support of the ERA, 1971.

Editor: We’re a little late with this post, celebrating Women’s Equality Day of August 26th, but we found it after the day and liked it and wanted to share.

Why are nit-wit women like Fiorina and Palin undermining Women’s liberation?

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt / Progressive Post

I was preparing for my little ritual last week, the one I practice every August 26, Women’s Equality Day, to celebrate our right to vote. … Well, not really to celebrate, but to at least recognize the Constitution’s 19th Amendment, declaring women’s suffrage. Hmmm, nope, not even to recognize it, no, more like to contemplate the 1920 passage of the amendment, because— . Well, I suppose, actually, to rant about it would be more accurate. In fact, to complain bitterly is what I mean. Yep, bitterly — because it took so damn long, and in the end, we had won the vote but we still didn’t have equal rights, and we still don’t have equal rights today.

sarah palin winkInstead, we now have the likes of Sarah Palin, with the wit of a nit, pretending to be feminists yet advocating for our male-dominated Congress to make personal decisions for us; and young women, the likes of my own kiddo, bobbing to iPods in the wake of the women’s civil rights movement as those rights are rippling away; and senatorial wannabes, the likes of Carly Fiorina, sniping at her opponent’s hair among other targets — her hair, not economic recovery or Pacific Rim business alliances or the state of California’s schools, but sniping at Senator Barbara Boxer’s hair, her hair! Ye gods!

I had to stop and take a deep breath.

Yeah, so, I was gearing up for my little ritual last week, my deep, dark mourning for our failure to perpetuate the women’s civil rights movement and achieve true equality — you know, the enjoyment of equal rights and access to all the goodies Sarah Palin’s great nation of ours has to offer those willing to work harder then men for it — when I stumbled upon a story that exemplified our failure in the most putrid of terms, a story about an ad in Woman’s Day magazine.

carly-fiorina-hairNow, it is important to consider the context. Woman’s Day, launched in 1931, has evolved from a grocery store publication for housewives to a magazine for women who might work outside of the house but still spend a lot of time in it — parenting, cleaning, cooking, boinking and trying to lose their saddlebags. The magazine’s folks write that each issue “captivates 21 million readers by inspiring them to Live Well Every Day. Woman’s Day is designed for how we live now — with a strong voice that serves up simple, but sound ideas about health, food, family, relationships, home and style. A streamlined look and integrated media capabilities reflect both the sensibility of our readers and our editorial commitment to fresh thinking. Woman’s Day is truly an indispensable guide to living the best day possible.”

And on the day honoring the enfranchisement of women, what showed up in the new Woman’s Day? An advertisement explaining “Confidence at Work: How to Ask for a Raise.”

Sounds good, right? Eight “simple steps” to “asking a boss for the money we deserve.” It seems a nice complement to Women’s Equality Day.

Except it’s not. And it’s not a compliment to women at all. Take a look at the ad:

vaginal sprayIn essence, this Summer’s Eve ad is telling Woman’s Day readers that if they want to get a raise, they need to deodorize their vaginas.

That’s the best Fleet Laboratories’ Summer’s Eve and Woman’s Day has to offer us? That’s their idea of “fresh thinking,” of “indispensable guidance,” because “staying fresh isn’t always simple”; because, oh no, you have to skulk over to the feminine hygiene products aisle and hide your Summer’s Eve Feminine Wash and Cleansing Cloths between the bananas and the rutabagas so you can kill all the naturally occurring bacteria in your crotch before you ask for the raise that still won’t bring you up to pay equity with the man who has the same job you have, but who has always been paid more, and who has never been told to scrub his scrotum before he asks for a raise?

Do you see? Do you see why I mourn when we should be celebrating?

What were they thinking?

Maybe it’s just a big rightwing ploy to screw with us. It’s plausible. Fleet Labs is based in Lynchburg, Virginia, home to Jerry Falwell’s bastion of misogynistic academagoguery, Liberty University, where you receive six reprimands and a $25 fine for attending a dance or wearing a two-piece bathing suit; twelve reprimands and a $50 fine for watching an R-rated film; thirty reprimands, a $500 fine, thirty hours of disciplinary community service and possible administrative withdrawal for having an abortion — which, by the way, would not be necessary if the students dumped the purity pledges they don’t honor and tried birth control instead, a method more effective than withdrawal.

Anyway, when I trotted to Major Market to buy Woman’s Day and opened it to the offending page, lo and behold, there was actually a two-page spread: confidence via crotch cleansing on the left and “Nurturing” your courage “with a little extra care down there” on the right (emphasis, mine):

So, come on, get it? If you didn’t get it before, do you get it now? Do you see? Do you understand why suffrage is just not enough? Fleet Laboratories paid somewhere in the range of $519,920 for two full-page, four-color ads telling women they stink.

Happy Women’s Equality Day? Pshaw!

I’ll stop demanding equal rights the day Fleet Laboratory stops telling women their crotches smell bad, the day breasts are no longer a marketing strategy, the day we are paid the same as male executives and they stop sharing twat jokes on their Blackberries at board meetings. And, oh, the day Fleet dumps their idiotic ad campaigns and puts the money into a scholarship fund for young women who embrace every bit of themselves, including their vaginas. Yep, that’ll be the day.



Kit-Bacon Gressitt, journalist and free lance writer from Fallbrook, teaches creative writing classes in Fallbrook.

Visit her website:

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

RB September 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm

IMO, there will be no liberation until women stop being marginalized.
Until women have the rights to express their opinions on either side of an issue, as afforded to men, there will be no liberation. People that require women to be left rather than right or Dem rather than Rep are restricting the freedom and liberation of others by their litmus test.


Diane5150 September 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Men have duckbutter. A chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside clump of offal stuck between a man’s scrotum and his anus.

Duckbutter even sounds better than tuna twat.


Marisa September 6, 2010 at 10:41 am

Great article. Thank you. Many women mistakenly believe we have equal rights, which we do not. The ERA was never ratified and the glass ceiling is firmly in place.

I thought the whole douche argument was over… they dangerously remove all the “good” bacteria from your vagina, create an unstable environment which can cause terrible thrush infections, UTIs, etc. … if you think it smells before a douche, wait til a few days after! Now they have done a study that suggests even talcum powder ‘down there’ can lead to ovarian cancer. These adverts are subliminally teaching women (and men) that vagina’s smell….when I am sure we can all agree that there’s a 50/50 chance that the man who might be giving us that job interview probably has skid marks in his tighty whities. :-|

RB, just because Palin and Fiorina are women and SAY they are feminists, does not make them so. They are the female equivalents of an Unlcle Tom. It has nothing to do with them expressing their opinions, but everything to do with them touting themselves as feminists then going completely off the reservation and using sex to sell themselves. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being sexy… for either a man or a woman, but you just don’t see John Thune putting one shoulder forward and winking into the camera with a cocky head tilt…..he’d be laughed out of office.


RB September 7, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Freedom, liberty, equality, and democracy is for all or it is good for none.
If men can be on either side of an issue without their gender credentials being questioned, women should expect nothing less.
Come November, the voters will tell all the candidates it is not about hair or being sexy. “Its the the economy, stupid” (Bill C.).


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