In the early 1900s, an enterprising young marketer at a razor company decided to create a new niche market for their products. His target: North American women. He embarked on what is now known as the Great Underarm Campaign. Up to that point, women didn’t shave their underarms or their legs for that matter. The campaign coincided with a new fashion trend, the sleeveless dress. It was launched in Harper’s Bazaar in May of 1915. The gist of the campaign was that it was unhygienic, unfeminine and unhip to have underarm hair. It worked. The belief slowly spread to the masses, showing up in McCall’s magazine in 1917 and then in the Sears Roebuck catalogue with ads for women’s razors and depilatories in 1922. A subsequent campaign got us girls shaving our legs too.
This anti-hair campaign comes to mind everytime I see that Cottonelle commercial promoting the use of “flushable” wipes in addition to toilet paper. I have written about this irresponsible and greed-driven product development previously. We are already drowning in garbage, why add to the waste stream? While there are advertising standards, there are no regulating bodies for product launches. The only way we can rid the marketplace of this travesty is to refuse to buy into their argument. Vote with your dollars. Don’t spend any of your hard-earned cash on this product. Let’s flush this campaign down the toilet instead.
Thanks to the Feminist Fatale for the ads!