Period-proof underwear brand, Thinx, recently debuted their first national TV commercial campaign, and men are literally gushing.
The ad spot, aptly titled "MENstruation," proposes an alternate world in which men menstruate, just like women. "If we [read: cisgender men] all had them, maybe we'd be more comfortable with them," the commercial posits. Indeed, as a dude who has never menstruated in his entire life, I'd be lying if I said the commercial didn't make me feel something.
MENstruation | Thinx www.youtube.com
Normally, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about periods. I've been in a relationship with a woman for my entire adult life, meaning that feminine hygiene products have always been a staple in my bathroom, and I'm not a stranger to the concepts of monthly cycles or bloody tampons. I don't think periods are gross in any way, shape, or form––they're just a natural function of roughly 50% of human bodies. But I don't think about them because, well, I only really bleed from my face (and only after very manly street brawls in the rare instance when the other guy lands a lucky shot).
So the idea of bleeding from my...probably wiener or butt (?)...is just a tad disconcerting. Okay, very disconcerting. Watching the Thinx commercial as a cis man is akin to that feeling when you read a Lovecraft novel and see some cosmic horror described as "a sight beyond human comprehension." You try to picture what that sight might entail, but you can't, because it's beyond your comprehension. The Thinx commercial is pretty much that, except instead of feeling it in your brain, you feel it in your wiener or maybe your butt.
Machinations aside, the commercial actually makes a really good point. If guys menstruated, talking about periods would be so much less stigmatized. Seriously, think about farts. Plenty of guys joke about farts. There are real multi-million dollar movies where fart jokes seem to be considered the absolute peak of comedy. Think about it. How many guys do you know who have laughed at their own farts? All of them. Literally all of them.
Poop is funny, too. I'll prove it. This Thanksgiving, go to the bathroom and when you come back, announce: "I just pooped." Somebody at the table will laugh. And even if they don't, nobody will be horrified. At worst, your grandma will say that was impolite. No harm, no foul. Everybody poops. There's a whole book on it.
But if you came back and said, "I just had my period," oh boy, your conservative uncle would probably have a brain aneurysm (which, let's be honest, might be for the best). Why, though? Should sexist Uncle Douglas' delicate sensibilities really dictate the conversations we're allowed to hold? How does it make sense that Viagra commercials can be shown on TV but a tampon string is going TOO FAR! Why can't we talk openly about periods, too?
Needless to say, the Thinx commercial is incredibly controversial amongst a certain demographic, and you know exactly which demographic I'm referring to. On YouTube, the video has been aggressively targeted with downvotes (currently numbering over 7,000), and the Twitter comment section is exactly as messy as one might expect from riled up white people who never learned how to spell properly. One Million Moms (I won't link to them, and as a side note, their organization consists of roughly eight crazy people, as opposed to the one million that their name falsely indicates), an offshoot of the fundamentalist Christian hate group American Family Association, even released an entire manifesto on how the commercial is basically trying to eat Jesus or something.
Except here's the thing: The commercial is actually totally innocuous. It might even be wholesome. Thinx isn't villainizing anybody. It's showing men and women helping one another out, and the entire point is that there's no need to have negative stigma around any of our bodily functions, regardless of whether or not everybody has to deal with them or only women do. What's so wrong about that? Why would literally anybody see that and get offended? Is it bad faith, or are offended parties so insanely fragile that they lead their entire existences in a perpetual state of butthurt?
Oh. I get it now. These dudes are mad about the Thinx commercial because they really do spend their whole lives bleeding from their butts. Everything makes sense now.
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