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Thank You Female Product Companies For Normalizing Human

A Shout-Out To The Changes I've Seen In Female Marketing for Products

By Hope MartinPublished about a month ago 6 min read
Top Story - April 2024
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Thank You Female Product Companies For Normalizing Human
Photo by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

I was born in 1990.

In May, smack dab early mid-year. I am quite LITERALLY the definition of a '90's' kid. I don't remember a lot of commercials from when I was younger, but I do know that growing up women in media were photoshopped, sculpted, and molded to be Barbie perfect.

When I was young, I was very petite. The term used to describe me was "beautiful." People didn't call me cute as a 5-year-old, I was called 'beautiful.' And if you could see my eyes under the 90's/80's bang poof, I was. I was thin and tall, and I had the makings of a model. I did model for a while for JC Pennies (y'all younger than 1995, I know you remember the photos at JC Pennies at the malls).

Then, I hit puberty and that's when we discovered that hormone imbalances ruin lives.

From middle school on, I was chubby because of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), not that anyone understood that. Before 2007, we had never even heard of this. As it turns out like 4/5 of women in my generation have it or endometriosis or both (an exaggerated and unresearched number - but my generation is like the baby boomers of generational endocrine imbalances).

I went from being popular to being an outcast in a year. My body went from being petite and thin, and now at 33 years old, I still have issues with my body and the weird bullhonkey it does to me when a hormone strikes the mood. I never realized people liked me because of my looks until I gained weight (not because of a lifestyle change, but because of a hormonal one). When I found myself with no friends, and suddenly at the end of everyone's jokes, I was confused.

Let me be clear, I was never prom-queen homeroom popular - but I always had a group of girls who followed me around and then a group of boys following them around. These same girls that painted their nails with me, and practiced for the talent show with me, were suddenly pushing me in the hallways and whispering: "Fatty" as they passed. I joined the track team to try and lose weight - and I had no support there. And even though I ran for hours every week I never lost weight.

You can imagine what that does to a pubescent girl who just figured out what 'cramps' are, except she doesn't understand that her cramps are 1000% worse than regular cramps because it's a cyst popping on her fallopian tube.

There are a lot of traumatized women in my generation with a shit-ton of body issues.

The worst part is those same pretty girls whispering these mean things are going home, and staring at themselves in the mirror and crying or starving themselves because of the pressure we were put under to be beautiful.

Disney, Barbie, beauty companies, clothing companies, cosmetic companies, social media, celebrity media, and the pornography industry... it was pretty hardcore in the 90s and early 2000s that 'fat' was ugly, and if you were fat you were most likely just a lazy slob who needed to go to the gym. Even doctors took on this mentality, not yet aware that weight gain and retention could be a symptom, not a cause.

Then the turn of the century happened, and everyone became 'health conscious.'

It wasn't about fat being 'ugly' anymore, it was about 'health.' Just another way for people to cover up their judgment. It wasn't about discrimination, it turned into 'inclusion,' and 'living a healthy lifestyle.' They created super diets and foods meant to brainwash and seduce desperate women into shelling out money. Work-out DVDs were already all the rage in the 90's and 80's, but the internet made the health fad soar.

To this day, getting a doctor to listen to you when you are 'morbidly' obese clinically is like pulling teeth from a chicken. Until you've proven with tangible court-ready evidence, sold your soul to a crossroads demon for the gift of charisma, and have enough money to buy stock in Big Pharma, you're screwed.

Fat people can walk into a hospital bleeding from their eyeballs, a knife in their skull, and a broken leg and the doctors would still say: "You're fine. Just lose some weight and it'll feel better."

Needless to say, there has been a LOT of oppression of women's natural bodies and functions since the dawn of humanity. We're either too skinny, too fat, not symmetric enough, our nose is too big, our tits are too small and our ass is not big enough or too big.

And to many men under the age of 40, all women are just walking vaginas to splash around in.

If you aren't perfect, you are irrelevant. That's how the women in my generation were raised to think. And the generation before that. And the generation... well you get it.

But things are changing - and as a mother of some beautiful girls, I am so freaking glad.

Today I watched a commercial on women's body deodorant. It spoke about how women smelling... is normal. They had a BBW talking about how she's a bigger girl - and it's not just her pits that stink.

They had women in this commercial talking about how women smelling when they sweat was not unusual, it's human. It showed a beautiful athletic woman in the woods sniffing herself, wincing and saying: "Oh yeah, I smell very human right now."

They ended the commercial on a funny note, talking about how you can use it from: "your pits to your bits." A girl was asking another: "Oh, so you can use it on your...." She pauses and it cuts to the BBW, spraying deodorant down the towel she was wrapped in, and smiling.

So, today I am saying thank you to the companies who are embracing the natural humanness of women.

As someone who grew up in the 90s, who has seen the changes of the way society flows around women and the crazy strides of inclusiveness I have seen women making towards each other the last decade has been amazing.

And having commercials that embrace a woman's body, her smell, her female needs and being frank about it, honest about it, I think is a huge help. Girls in my generation felt very isolated. I was lucky enough to have a mom who educated me about my body and the changes I would go through, but I have friends who didn't know that they would have a period of what a period was until...it happened to them!

Imagine going to the ER, telling the doctor you're bleeding from your vagina and you've been bleeding for 3 days and you're in pain, and that doctor looking at you and going: "Yeah... it's called a period.. and it's normal." That's how subjugated topics used to be: it was taboo to acknowledge that you had a period and it was WEIRD to educate your daughters on it.

As a mother, I am going to do my best to be honest with my children about their bodies.

When they are older, they will know what a period is and how to handle it when it happens. They won't be caught off guard or humiliated because they are uneducated. My son will know what a period is, and he will not be embarrassed to go the store for his future girlfriend (or his sisters or his mom) if he needs to buy bloodplugs or girl diapers (tampons and pads for those who don't speak my language).

I will be taking my daughters to the doctor at any signs of endocrine imbalance and if I have to hold a .38 to someone's head I will be fiercely fighting for fair medical treatment and a fast diagnosis.

I hope that companies marketing women's products continue to embrace the humanness and the less-than-perfect parts of our bodies. Normalizing women's bodies instead of sexualizing it is a huge step towards making this world a better place - and making women feel welcome in the world we live in.

tv reviewpop culturefeminismbodybeautyactivism
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About the Creator

Hope Martin

I am a published author of a book called Memoirs of the In-Between. I am doing a rewrite of it, as it needed some polishing. I am a mom, a cook, a homesteader, and a second-generation shaman.

Find me on Medium also!

@kaseyhopemartin

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Comments (3)

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  • Ruth Stewart9 days ago

    This is good. I was born in the sixties, but I feel your pain. I have PCOS too, it's getting better now I'm older but I still get facial hair. Like so much with my body, I'm now embracing it. I'm glad your girls will have it easier! Top story, top Mum. X

  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    Hope, I can't even tell you how much I love and respect this article!!!! Amen and Bravo, girl!

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