Posts Tagged ‘Three Stars’

Let me say this first: I love Planned Parenthood. I think they do great stuff. They provide people, especially women, with health care on a sliding-scale basis. In the midst of an abstinence-only education fueled sea of misinformation, they actually provide factual sexual health info. Many of their clinics provide abortions, which is practically heroic given the current political climate.

About a week ago, they introduced new condoms onto the market in the hopes that women would buy them, carry them, and use them, since evidently men are the ones expected to bring the condoms, and people are having unprotected sex when they don’t. That’s all well and good: even though women already take care of the bulk of birth control, remembering to swallow pills every day, or stick patches or their asses, or get bits of metal stuck in their uteri, or get cozy with their cervices while inserting a rubber thingie and a gallon of spermicidal foam. But encouraging women to continue taking control of their sexuality is still a good thing.

The thing is, though, that PP did it by trying to make condoms fashionable and trendy, calling them “Proper Attire,” and though the tag line “Proper Attire: Required For Entry” makes me giggle because I’m twelve, it’s still stupid. Now they’re the “must-have” accessory for the season. They’re for chic, stylish women. Frankly, more chic, stylish, trendy shit is the very last thing I need. I already have every women’s magazine, advertisement and storefront in the world telling me that THESE jeans are no longer acceptable for wear outside my apartment (oh and also they make my ass look fat), that my handbag has the wrong logo on it (the right one will cost me 4k), or that these shoes may as well be from the 1980s for how out of fashion they are. Condoms do not need to do any of that. Condoms need to keep me from getting knocked up or getting a disease, and I will be happy.

Besides, PP has totally missed the point here. The point is not that condoms aren’t pretty enough or stylish enough, the point is that they’re condoms. They get used for sex, and women are still really squeamish about random Target cashiers knowing they have sex. It doesn’t matter how pretty the condom box is, it still looks like a condom box. And until people stop shaming women who not only have sex, but have sex for fun and not babies, buying condoms is going to be off-limits for some women.

Unfortunately, that problem can’t be solved by marketing and clever little turns of phrase. Three stars for the PP fancy condoms.

NB: If the condoms themselves were patterned or polka dotted, not just the boxes, I would totally buy them. In fact, why haven’t condoms gone the way of band aids, with all sorts of exciting colors and patterns and character endorsements? Someone needs to get on that.

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