Saturday, October 20, 2007

St. Petersburg is gloomy, St. Petersburg is bleak...

To everyone who just finished that off in your head -- congratulations, you are roughly the same age as I and infected with historically mangled, song and dance, animated versions of the Russian revolution.

Fortunately, my underwear is not frozen, because I am a smart young thing who put it on the radiator to dry rather than hanging it out on the enclosed balcony after doing laundry in the bathroom sink because my host mom is gone for the week and neither I nor my host grandmother knows how to operate the washing machine. Laundry is further complicated by everything on the machine being labeled in German.

And actually, the weather isn't too bleak to day. There is some sunshine and one of the fabulously blue Petersburg skies.

But lets talk about some other than the weather. Let's talk about something Russia and the US have in common, shall we? Entirely, f'ing disturbing advertising for feminine hygiene products, or whatever they should be called. Because, they do in fact have most anything you could possibly desire in the way of products to deal with your period now.

Of course, recently in the US we had Always' enlightened "have a happy period!" campaign. And I've seen tampon commercials that just make me think, what on earth? No, I'm just not that happy on my period -- I'm cramping and cranky.

Russian tampon/maxi pad advertising is a little different. Always is a generation or two behind, declaring that they are now "with gel action!" Gel action? What is that? Do I really want gel taking action next to my vagina? The bathrooms at the institute were recently invaded by ads for Tampax tampons, relying on the old trope of a woman on her period being unclean, but Tampax tampons will give you a clean feelings every day. Oh yes, my friends. Sprinked over the poster were little declarations: Я чиста! I'm clean! (Sarcastically, I think to myself that increased access to toilet paper would be nice as well.)

So, here's the question: Which type of advertising annoys me more? The upbeat US marketing that ignores the actual problems that many women experience from their periods. Or "the use our product to clean yourself up because you're dirty" marketing.