Too Raunchy? Carefree Ad Causes Controversy For Using The Actual Terms For Lady Parts

July 16, 2012  |  

Carefree’s latest ad campaign hasn’t been online for more than 18 hours and already people are up in arms—for no good reason. In contrast to readers here who wonder why we use the term va-jay-jay as opposed to vagina to describe female reproductive organs, some are questioning and even complaining about Carefree using the anatomically correct term for lady parts in their new ad.

The spot features a woman talking about a not-so-pleasant reality of womanhood, vaginal discharge, and blatantly says the word vagina which people have responded to almost as visceral as they would if it was the n-word. The Advertising Standards Bureau (ABS) told Ninemsn it received comments as soon as the ad went online last night and is already up to a total of five official complaints. Five may not sound like a lot but we’re talking about an ad that’s only been around for a day and the fact that we’re not just talking about clicking a thumbs down icon on YouTube, but people actually taking the time to file formal complaints with the ABS.

ABS didn’t elaborate on what it was about the use of the word “vagina” and the phrase “vaginal discharge” that had people so upset but comments on NineMSN provide a little insight. Some women remarked:

Personally I find it unnecessary… Imagine if you will being the only female child among 3-4 brothers and only a father in the room when this add comes on, it is going to cause major embarrassment for a young girl in a scenario such as this, a little bit of foresight would be nice, seriously take the ad off.

I think these ads should be on at a more appropriate time. I don’t like my young son asking me what these products are for. I will explain it when it is age appropriate.

Were there any women in this marketing te[a]m? How the hell could people think this isn’t offensive. It’s not just the taboo around the words, it’s the demoralization of women and the fact that ads like this keep stopping women gaining respect.

Just to clarify, the ad came on well after 8:30 pm and campaign spokeswoman Debbie Selikman said the purpose of the ad was actually to eliminate the taboo the last commenter alluded to.

“It’s the first time a major brand has had the guts to use real words, not euphemisms or diminutive terms,” Ms Selikman said adding that Carefree’s research found most women wanted ads to refer to their anatomy using proper terminology and that other names for vagina typically had negative connotations and sent the message that women should be ashamed or embarrassed about their bodies.

“[This campaign] shows women have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed about and should be confident of their body.”

If anything, I could see the fact that the woman in the ad is naked as unnecessary but there should be nothing offensive about using the correct terms for female body parts, particularly when nearly every swear word under the sun gets the greenlight by the FCC these days. Perhaps the people who are so stirred up about this ad need to get more in touch with their own bodies.

Check out the ad here. What do you think? Is it a step in the right or the wrong direction?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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