Summer’s Eve thinks your vagina is powerful, really annoying, still dirty

During a drunken skinny dipping escapade in high school, my friends and I came up with names for our vaginas–ones that captured the unique personalities we felt they possessed. We christened them by shouting these names–loudly, at 3 in the morning, to our sleeping neighborhood–as we cannonballed off the diving board.

Somehow I never imagined my vagina was as fucking annoying as the folks at Summer’s Eve seem to think it is.

After pretty much everyone, including us, hated last year’s super douchey ad, the feminine cleansing product company is trying a different tack. Now, they’re urging everyone to “Hail to the V” in a new ad campaign they claim is “about empowerment.”

The campaign includes one series of ads featuring a vagina represented by a talking sideways hand. (Whenever it was in the creative process that someone wrote the phrase “talking sideways hand”? That would have been a good time to step back and reassess.) In addition to the default white vagina, there’s a black vagina and a Latina vagina. Or, at least, that’s what I assume based on the painfully obvious racial stereotypes employed. (“Aye yi yi”? For reals?)

That chatty hand claims to be my vagina but is clearly an impostor, because my vagina would never refer to herself as a “vertical smile,” knows better than to even mention vajazzaling to me, and is too busy complaining about how long it’s been since she’s gotten laid to give a damn about if my cleansing wash is PH-balanced. My vagina is not a whiny little pussy.

Another ad, which apparently aired before the Harry Potter movie this weekend, celebrates the vagina as “the most powerful thing on earth.” Pro tip: Equating women with their vaginas and saying they are powerful because men have fought over them throughout history? Not all that empowering really.

Some have applauded this attempt at a more vagina-positive stance from Summer’s End. Indeed, it’s rare that commercials for feminine products even mention the word “vagina.” Of course, the tagline “Hail the V” is still euphemistic, and they only really embrace the word in the teaser video called “That’s vaginal.” Still, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Bu there’s maybe nothing I hate more than advertising–especially for beauty products–that tries to tap into some bullshit sense of “empowerment.” For fuck’s sake, you’re trying to convince me to buy a product I don’t need. The only way to do that is by provoking anxiety. Be upfront about it, instead of acting like buying Summer’s Eve Cleansing Wash is somehow incidental to your true aim of teaching me about my ladybits and celebrating the vajajay.

It’s just condescending–to me and my very cool vagina.


Video 1: Hail to the V: BFF

Hello from Vagina Land. Population: 3.5 billion and growing. Thanks to us.
Listen, we need to talk. I tried given you subtle hints but you keep ignoring me. Not cool sister. You and me should be BFFs. You take care of me, I take care of you. You know, like side-kicks. I’m not asking for much. Just a little attention in the shower, with some PH-balanced Summer’s Eve Cleansing Wash. And after you hit the gym? Here’s a thought. Hit me with a Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloth. That’s it. I’m not talking a brazilian or vajazzaling. Just a little love for your vertical smile. Summer’s Eve Cleansing Wash and Cloth. Hail to the V!

Video 2: “The V” Extended Cut

It’s the cradle of life
It’s the center of civilization.
Over the ages and throughout the world, men have fought for it, battled for it, even died for it.
One might say, it’s the most powerful thing on Earth.
So, come on, ladies, show it a little love!
Cleansing wash and cloths, from Summer’s Eve. Hail to the V!

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation

  • Travis Mamone

    The worse part is I saw this at the movies yesterday . . . right before Harry Potter! Who in their right mind would advertise some sexist shit like this right before a fucking Harry Potter movie??????

  • Norah Langweiler

    Video 1 – Revised
    Hello from Vagina Land. Population 3.5 billion and growing. Thanks to restrictions on contraception and sex education. Listen, we need to talk. I tried giving you subtle hints but you keep ignoring me. Not cool sister. I’m not asking for much. Just a little attention in the shower. Not with that Summer’s Ever crap. Try using the shower head just a little lower. And when you hit the gym? Here’s a thought. Do some kegels, I need a workout too! That’s it. And don’t even think of a brazilian or vajazzling. I’m perfect just the way I am. Hail your V. Trust your V.

    Video 2 – Revised
    It’s the cradle of life.
    The origin of civilization.
    Over the ages and throughout the world, men have belittled your value by fighting for it, battling for it, and dying for it.
    Some might say, it’s the most powerful thing on earth.
    But those people are men and you know better.
    So come on ladies, show it a little love!
    Don’t buy into bullshit advertising.
    Put the cleansing wash and cloths back on shelf.
    It’s been cleaning itself for eons.
    Hail your V. Trust your V.

    • Jasmine

      Norah, you get a thousand points for this.

    • Verity Khat

      Bwahaha! Hail to the Norah! ^_^

  • Sparrow

    Oh my goodness. Those other two are just so shockingly tone-deaf I don’t even know….

    I mean, seriously, could they have used more lazy offensive stereotypes? And those badly put-on accents just push it over the edge. Who exactly do they think those are supposed to be appealing to?

    At least they said vagina. *sigh*

  • Lynn

    Special thanks to Summer’s Eve for the second ad! Because I don’t get enough reminders that I’m a vagina with legs!

  • Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    Just watched the Latina one. Thank you Summer’s Eve for reminding me yet again that stereotypically I’m either all about the having babies or the “spicy” undergarments (and every connotations that goes with them).

    And by “thank you” I really mean “squirt your product in your eye, Summer’s Eve.”

  • Carolyn

    Wrong. I’ll show my vagina love by masturbating and/or getting some sex, thank you very much. Not by buying your bullshit product.

  • Shaniquequa

    My God you should look at the black and latina version. I can’t even believed these passed as commercials.

    And BTW Summer’s Eve, my vagina has been doing fine with good old fashioned soap and a good old scrub me down. I have received no complaints and my vagina is a very happy person.

  • nicole mercier

    Plus, I don’t want a pH balanced vagina, I want an acidic vagina to foster the presence of natural microflora that defend my vagina from irritation, infection, and dryness.

  • Max Vohra

    I totally agree about that second ad. They were saying men fight wars because they want p*** and it’s all women’s fault.

  • erin

    why are these products still on the shelf? oh yeah, because advertising like this promotes insecurity and stigma, not to mention ragin’ yeast infections… which then in theory makes consumers buy more of these products.

    any doc will tell you to just use water. soap of all kinds is terrible for vaginas.

    also thanks to this company for promoting use of the word “vagina” where they almost definitely mean “vulva”