Despite receiving complaints from viewers outraged that an advertisement would refer to a woman’s vagina as a “vagina”, New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority has decided that this commercial for Carefree Acti-Fresh Panty Liners does not violate their code.
Who knows whether viewers would have been as disgusted if the body part in question had been a penis (sometimes referred to as a “penis”). Beyond sexism, this incident illustrates the irrational discomfort Westerners feel with our own sexuality. When even the non-sexual functions of our sexual organs illicit such prudish reactions, we must admit we have a very real problem.
More optimistically, though, the Carefree ad (the first to actually use the words “vagina” and “discharge” together, and possibly the first to even say “vagina”) came in response to research by the company showing women wanted advertisers to stop using euphemisms for the vagina. Maybe women (or people in general) are tiring of the body-shaming that words like “hoo-ha” and “coochie” subtly reinforce.