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This is the story of how Tampax torpedoed its own brand.
Tampax seems to be on a mission to destroy its brand's goodwill among the target market, as they have taken to Twitter to troll around with what women have dubbed a "rapey" tweet.
Based on the now rather tired meme-format 'we are not the same' that was popular with the kids in 2019, Tampax tweeted: "You're in their DMs. We're in them. We are not the same." (archive)
Women immediately responded to the tweet with disgust. Tampax used to advertise to destigmatize tampons, as some fathers still to this day refuse to allow their daughters to use tampons based on the idea that it's sexualized in some fashion. The Tampax "will I still be a virgin?" ads ran as recently as 1989 battling this exact misconception.
One reply on Twitter read: "Girls are STILL being banned from using tampons by their parents, because their parents see tampons as sexual. We have women posting on relationships reddits that their male partners ask them not to use tampons, for the same reasons. And now we have the manufacturer joining in?"
But Tampax carried on, sharing the "joke" with sister brand Always, which is also owned by Procter and Gamble. "How long have you been saving this one?" Always asked, and Tampax responded, "Since last period." (archive)
Undaunted by the thousands of women who actively and clearly told the brand off, Tampax carried on and even quote-tweeted itself "refused to let twitter shut down before we shared this tweet" (archive) At this point, it began to look as if the brand's replies were written by a teenage boy. Or a malfunctioning copywriting AI, perhaps? "better early than late 😉"
Women are still responding, and now making the hashtag #BoycottTampax (archive) grow at increasing speed. It should extend to #BoyCottProcterandGamble at this point, seeing as the Always brand joined in as well. Procter and Gamble feminine care brands include Just and This is L.
In hundreds of replies, women are pointing out that the sexualization of tampons and the misconception that it somehow makes you "not a virgin" has been an untruth that we've struggled to change the perception of for decades, and now Tampax just brought it all back with one bad tweet. Women still struggle in third-world countries battling period shaming, with all the surrounding untruths about menstrual products.
Who's "their"? Who's "them"?
Are you... sexualizing tampons?
Please get the men out of your marketing team. pic.twitter.com/zRA4oM60AT
— Quian 🏳️🌈 (@PrudenciaWei) November 22, 2022
Well done for sexualising tampons. I'm sure the growing male fetishism market will love this shit. You are fucking disgusting. Glad I've never used your terrible products.
— Shambolic Neutral KPSS 🖕🎃🖤👩💻 (@BradfemlyWalsh) November 22, 2022
Rapey and downright weird. Is this how low the bar is now?
— Gee Bee 🐝 (@humblbumble) November 22, 2022
Oh thank God you were gender neutral in your rapey tweet.
— Bridget Phetasy (@BridgetPhetasy) November 22, 2022
I guess because they are men talking to each other and they can use the whole "don't be a prude" line to silence dissenting women.
— BundlebranchblockMD🦕🦕 (@Bleedinheart2MD) November 22, 2022
Really lost it haven’t you…it’s one thing taking talking about menstruation out of the taboo sphere but another thing to turn the discussion into smutty jokes made by drunk men in a bar.
— Dorothy van Koolwijk 🏳️🌈 (@dvank_van) November 22, 2022
Tampax has previously been in hot water for the unconfirmed possible sponsorship of Dylan Mulvany, TikToker known for the series "X days as a girl". Given these recent tweets, I understand why Procter and Gamble refused to return my calls or reply to emails requesting a comment. I believe now that the sponsorship discussion actually happened, Tampax may have something in the works. The Tweets read as if Dylan Mulvany wrote them, the same tone of voice, all that's missing is "barbie pouch", really.