Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Common themes represented here:

Mansplaining/women’s perspective is wrong.  Kotex to girls and women: WHY OH WHY are you fools so embarrassed by your periods?  It’s just you being dumb, it has nothing to do with the demonstrable fact that girls and women are oppressed due to your reproductive SEX.  Sure, menstruation is proof that you are indeed biologically female and therefore inferior; and also that you have FAILED the only thing you are good at — becoming impregnated.  But feeling bad about that is counter productive to your buying this new product (which is the dumbest idea I have ever seen BTW — brightly- or distinctively-wrapped tampons and pads?  WTF?)

See also Handmaidens of the patriarchy — handmaidensplaining!  Let women do the P’s dirty work.

PIV-centric narrativePathologize menstruation.  See above.  Menstruation is pathologized because it benefits men and male power to medically, socially and sexually pathologize demonstrable proof that a pregnancy has not occurred.  Menstruation is also a reliable indicator of biological sex: in this case, that a person is a member of sex class female, also known as the defective and rapeable class.  The only “cure” for menstruation is PIV (and pregnancy).


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4 responses to “Kotex”

  1. aliyah16gurl says :

    These commercials annoy me. As if society really wants females to be proud and not embarrassed by their menstruation … pfft!

  2. Hildegard says :

    Thanks for this analysis and I love this new site. Just like you say, this commercial is pretending to subvert the taboo against discussing menstruation by making fun of women who observe it, when everyone knows the taboo is real and powerful. It’s the common tactic of setting ridiculous standards for women only so everyone can laugh at them for trying their best to comply.

    I’m thinking a lot about the claim that the reason menstruation is pathologized is because it is proof pregnancy hasn’t occurred, and that this normalizes the pregnant state for women. I don’t think I agree 100%, because frankly I think *anything* the female body does that the male body doesn’t do, including both menstruation and pregnancy, is automatically pathologized. In the case of pregnancy, since it is after all proof that the woman has done her part and participated in PIV, and since everyone has to acknowledge that it’s necessary for the “continuation of the species” (ugh), a pregnant woman is cut some slack and gets shunted off into the separate category of motherhood, where different physical standards apply. But the patriarchal institution of pregnancy/motherhood has very little to do with the actual day-to-day physical reality of pregnancy, and on that purely physical level, I honestly think pregnancy is considered just as repulsive and abnormal as menstruation is. There are all kinds of misogynistic jokes about how gross the female body is in pregnancy and during childbirth. Yes it’s true that pregnancy gets medicalized, but that medicalization is just another way of pathologizing it: pregnancy is a peculiar disease that can (read:must) be controlled and managed by the medical machine, but it’s still not “normal,” because only the male body ever gets to be normal.

    It seems like under patriarchy, the only completely acceptable female body is one that is constantly available for PIV but never shows any signs of specifically female physiological function, either because the woman keeps her ovulatory cycle completely secret (as by always hiding her tampons/pads), or because she uses birth control to have her body hormonally “stabilized” (I’ve often heard that word used to describe the effect of birth control, as though the natural ovulatory cycle is inherently unstable). Pregnancy is an excusable condition only on a temporary basis: the woman must afterward return immediately to her pre-pregnant physical shape, and be eagerly willing to engage in PIV again ASAP. Even lactation and nursing need to be hidden.

    Anyway, after looking at the video we get treated to six thumbnails of linked videos, one of which features a woman in a humiliating position on a bike, and is labeled “Girls on Bikes Fail.” We just can’t escape from this woman-hating anywhere.

  3. FCM says :

    i think history would disagree with you hildegard. men control the means of production and they demand that females give birth. of course, the “normalized” female body is just whats normal for females; but females are always defective and pathological when compared to males no matter what.

  4. tiamathydra says :

    I also love this blog and I think the subjects treated here are crucial in many ways to keep women’s slavery. It’s crazy how much men want to believe that menstruation is an illness of ours, and some sort of disability or handicap. Months ago where I was still a fool and still lost energy arguing with dudes, a dude told me that women are less productive when they’re pregnant or lactating as well as on their period because a study recently done in Sweden said so (these studies about us being less productive during our periods tend to appear when there are worries about too many women having good jobs and being in positions of power, the American government also did it when women started studying in universities and then after the IIWW when dirty exploited labor was needed they did another study proving that menstruation is not a handicap) so I told him these studies have political interests behind and if it hasn’t been proved scientifically around the world then how come men are so willing to believe in the fact that our periods (a constant in our adult life) are a disability. The discussion with this guy opened my eyes to the truth that women treating menstruation as if it’s a disease, is really a patriarchal agenda made to benefit men.
    Here there’s a commercial about a rejuvenating cream or whatever bullshit that’s directed to women going through menopause and a woman says ”fight menopause!” as if a natural process of your body is to be fought because it’s evil and faulty. It makes me sick how women are encouraged to experience their own bodily processes and their biology as a sickening problem. And tampons/pads commercials always feature empornulated ”empowerfulized” girls dancing in ridiculous clothes and saying that their product conceals THE SMELL (so obviously everyone watching thinks it must be a horrible smell when actually I’ve never really detected any smell). Yeah, because women’s bodies and fluids are gross and wrong. Patriarchy always makes its handmaidens ask questions like ‘why are we so embarrasses of our periods?’ ‘why are we so judgmental and unfair to other women?’ etc. in order to place the blame on us and making us the agents of it, instead of naming the real agent, which of course is forbidden.