Warning: Post May Be Uncomfortable and Educational for Male Readers

Generally, I don’t find the grocery store interesting. In fact, it makes me sleepy. It’s really quite incredible how fast I start yawning. But that’s another blog post, and possibly, a fascinating medical study. Every once in a while, though, I see something bizarre and I start to wake up.

If I’m taking a photo at the grocery store, it means I’ve found something strange. Take a look at this box of tampons. Think about it for a moment. Every woman knows how valuable tampons are. At least that’s how I’ve always explained the Tampax Pearl line to myself. In this package, it looks like Tampax is bragging about how radiant the plastic is. The Gestalt principle of proximity overpowers everything else when I look at this.


Just in case you’re not familiar with a tampon’s apparatus, the plastic applicator is only used for insertion. It is then discarded. It’s a vessel for the cotton, which silences the woman’s period and becomes her ally. I no more need radiant plastic in my tampons than I need cashmere fibers in my toilet paper.

I see a big missed opportunity here. Tampons offer confidence and freedom. I’m not exaggerating. All my women readers know this. It’s not that I think “radiant” is an inappropriate word for the brand, but I think it’s all wrong for the physical product. Something radiant sends out signals or wavelengths, the opposite of absorption. Radiance draws attention to itself. No good tampon draws attention to itself.

But the word, “radiant” can still work for the brand story. There’s nothing shameful about getting periods. Yet, in some parts of the world, this can halt education for girls. These girls are smart, deserving and radiant. I think tampons are superhero products, but promoting radiant plastic (even accidentally) is just plain weird.

And without the human element, the word “radiant” loses all the context about the women who rely on Tampax. Think about how a package with human graphics would stand out. With packaging and graphics so similar to the other brands, Tampax just looks like a more expensive version of the same thing. We know what tampons look like, so why feature them prominently on the front of the box? This is a very human-centered product. I think the brand should be, too.

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