What does everyone see in this “Camp Gyno” tampon commercial that I don’t? The viral Hello Flo spot has been called the “ad of the year,” according to an in-depth, process interview its creators gave to the Hairpin. I guess portraying a girl’s first period as an event that confers authority and status — even in an obnoxious, Tracy Flick kind of way — is better than the standard shame and embarrassment model of period advertising. And I don’t want to rain on the parade of child actress Macy McGrail, who is clearly bound for greatness, if she can avoid becoming a living meme. But isn’t her character’s frank and uncanny maturity kind of at odds with the painfully twee product the commercial is selling — a monthly menstrual-care package?
While Camp Gyno is proudly making it rain with tampons in the bunk, Hello Flo is one of a number of Birchbox-style monthly subscription services that are out to make periods even more of a secretive, girly ritual than they already are. In exchange for your credit-card number and the date of your last period, Hello Flo sends you candy and an assortment of tampons and pads (personalized for “low,” “medium,” or “heavy” flows) around the time of your period each month. Le Parcel is similar, but comes with chocolate and a mystery present. Juniper assigns you a personal period concierge — a “BFF” in company parlance. All packages come discreetly wrapped, so your doorman won’t know you have a uterus. They’re pretty much the height of the infantilization of female sexuality, second only to these adorbz vibrators.
The Camp Gyno says Hello Flo is like “Santa for your vagina,” and maybe it would be a nice gift for the early developers with one foot firmly stuck in childhood. But once you’re old enough to comprehend the improbability of an immortal old man flying around the world each Christmas Eve, you might realize that the business model here is taking half of a $7 box of tampons and selling it to a woman for $15 because she can’t count the 28 days in between periods. Or ask her dad to put tampons on the grocery list. Or suck it up with some wadded toilet paper for the five-minute drive to Walgreen’s. Or get used to the idea of strangers in line there knowing she’s of child-bearing age. The Camp Gyno would.