Summer’s Eve has launched its “Hail to the V” campaign, a new series of print, online and television ads telling women to spend more time taking care of their “wunder down under.” According to Summer’s Eve marketing director Angela Bryant, the campaign is “all about empowerment.” You be the judge:
Let me admit that I’m predisposed to dislike any ad campaign by Summer’s Eve. Their products, and the entire douching industry, are based on shaming women into purchasing something that might actually be detrimental to our health. They could launch a “Summer’s Eve loves Planned Parenthood” campaign, and I’d probably still be pissed off by the subtext p.s. Your vagina is dirty.
But as far as I can tell, this commercial from the Summer’s Eve campaign suggests women’s empowerment really springs from our vaginas. I suppose I could find it refreshing (as refreshing as Summer’s Eve cleansing cloths!) to be objectified for a new body part, rather than the same old chest-and-ass routine. But I’m sick of the faux-feminist idea that the only source of women’s power is our sexuality and the sway it holds over men.
Another trio of commercials in the same campaign is not so much faux-empowering as just plain condescending. Narrated by a sideways talking hand-turned-vagina (ladies’ “vertical smile”), they ask women to “show a little love” by soaping up with Summer’s Eve wash in the shower. The series aims for a “between us girls” vibe, like you and your vagina were just catching up over a morning latte.
That’s not to mention the outrageous racial stereotypes the ads use, in a woefully misguided attempt at being inclusive of women of color. As Jessica Valenti put it,
White vaginas hit the gym, vagazzle and say BFF a lot. Black vaginas care about their hair, hitting the club and do neck rolls. Latina vaginas say “aye aye aye,” “boo,” and are concerned about tacky leopard thongs. Did I miss anything?
As if racist talking vaginas weren’t enough, the campaign also has spawned a series of print ads. In the running for weirdest posthumous celeb endorsement, the ads feature historical figures such as Cleopatra and Helen of Troy. Summer’s Eve informs us that when these women weren’t ruling civilizations or making history, they were likely taking care of their “most precious resource.” That being their vaginas, of course.
This isn’t the first time the company has pulled the “strong women douche” card. Last year, the masterminds at Summer’s Eve launched a now-infamous ad suggesting a woman douche before asking for a raise. “Hail to the V” is just another feeble attempt to brand as feminist a company that tells you your body is shameful. Luckily it seems that, just like Summer’s Eve products, this campaign isn’t doing much for women.