Correct me if I am wrong, but it is only about five moments ago that Superdrug were sponsoring the Be Real Campaign For Body Confidence (actually, two years ago but who’s counting) aiming to champion positive body image – particularly amongst young women.
Superdrug is currently running the #TeamMe campaign to help every Briton become the me they want to be. Teaming up with Rebecca Adlington and Stephanie Reid, it’s all about motivation and inspiration.
Superdrug is so strong on positivity that it has a video on its website called ‘How To Love Your Body’. Here’s a quote: “Instead of focusing your energies on the negatives, accept that we aren’t Barbie and Ken dolls, and learn to love your body for what it is.” Well, quite.
Except, while you’re on a positive body roll, feeling good about yourself, perhaps for the first time in a while, don’t forget to whiten your anus and buy tightening cream for your vagina. Being too positive means that you might not buy any pointless stuff. So, just in case you were a little smug about how great things are, Superdrug are about to start selling a brand (made by a woman… of course!..) designed to pick you up on your intimate insecurities. There is a brightening cream (Lighten It) for the aforementioned, a lifting and tightening cream (Tighten It) and various wipes – refreshing and soothing, from memory, as well as a Micellar Intimate Wash.
There is nothing wrong with self-care – wherever you want to do it – but there’s really something wrong with reinforcing the view that any woman needs to be whitened or brightened or lifted or tightened. It’s so enormously unhelpful and not one single gyneacologist or therapist across the land will tell you any of these things are necessary for a happy life. What’s necessary for a happy life is not to be reminded about all the things about you that someone else says needs improving for reasons not given or known. Especially, as a lot of Superdrug’s customers are, you are a young woman and just starting your awareness journey with your body.
There are no penis brightening wipes, no testicle lifting and tightening gel and certainly no man micellar. That tells you all you need to know about the economy of body shaming. The brand creator says, “Our aim is to empower women to feel more body confident and ready to play rather than feel embarrassed about buying a product to fix a problem.” The problem here, my friend, is you. It’s made ‘for women by women’ and for the first time in my life I am saying YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US.
NB: I’ve heard this morning from Superdrug representatives that they’re NOT taking the whitening and tightening creams but will take the wipes and wash although my information directly from the brand was pretty clear that the full range would be available. This is better news but its sanctioning by stealth stocking this brand at all.
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Genuinely horrified by this.
“buying a product to fix a problem.”
What problem? For who? Is this brand creator seriously brazen enough to pretend that the idea that these products are necessary is something that could just arise in a young woman’s mind in a healthy, sex-positive way? This is such a terrible, and utterly depressing range. Are we really not allowed a single part of our body that can be left alone and accepted as it is?
What the hell, this is appalling of Superdrug and what is that brand thinking. Just horrible, makes me want to avoid shopping in Superdrug.
Thank you Jane for calling this out for the utter BS that it is.
Sweet heavens above, what next? I don’t often shop in Superdrug, I may make that never now…
I have mixed feelings about this. It’s always frustrating to see a brand pry on insecurities, but there is a demand out there and the intimate market is a big one – pH balanced products are so much better for your bits, and wipes are so handy when you’re in a gross public loo or festival (take it from experience!) I’ve looked at the messaging around this and they are very careful: “Labia come in all shapes and sizes, but if yours are affecting your body confidence, rather than resort to surgery try this WooWoo gel for a smaller, tighter appearance to your vaginal lips…”
Also we may not be the primary target market, there is a demand out there and I’m all for products helping women with their insecurities / tackling genuine issues. The only two that may be controversial for me are the lightening and tightening products; but lightening is a big market, from my understanding, for WOC in particular and tightening surgery is on the increase. So if they help to break down stigma and avoid more drastic action, I’m all for it.
It’s not careful, in my view, to promote a ‘fix’ in a bottle for confidence issues and to possibly even exacerbate them. Tightening surgery tends to be for internal workings rather than external and rather like face and neck creams or lotions, the effect can only be very minimal. There’s an opportunity here to promote the concept of being happy with all of your body – in the same way that I’d never have a positive thing to say about a slimming cream to ‘help’ your body look ‘better’, I have nothing positive to say about a product that highlights wrongness in the genital area. No issue with wipes – we all know they serve a purpose, but I don’t want to be the person giving any woman cause to worry that her genitals might not be ‘normal’.
Oh my god, I am so angry that somebody thought this was a good idea and was then able to pitch it to Superdrug who think it’s a good idea to put it on their shelves. It is disgusting. I work with young people, some of whom have been taught to call their vaginas their ‘shame’. They do not need this. Nobody needs this. How do I go about trying to stop this. I am incandescent with rage.
That’s bizarre. The micellar I could probably get on board with given the difference in ph between your average bar of soap and my fandukle, but whiten and tighten? Get in the sea.
I would not be a teenager again for all the tea in China.
“There are no penis brightening wipes, no testicle lifting and tightening gel“
Perfectly put. To paraphrase Caitlin Moran, Are the men doing it?
Napoleon, “Josephine I’ll be home in three days, bleach your fanny and nether regions before I return.”
It’s just not as romantic as the orginal, “I return in 3 days don’t wash”.
It is the media that say a woman should be a certain way to be beautiful e.g. a certain age or a certain size a certain look. Beauty is in every age from young to very old. The people who say otherwise are missing out on what is true beauty.
Oh this makes me so worried, depressed and angry. My 14 year old daughter loves Superdrug, and is really into makeup and all the fun you can have with it. I hate the idea that she might come across this rubbish and start to worry that there might be a ‘problem’ with intimate parts of her body that need ‘fixing’. Once again we are being told to feel ashamed and embarrassed about perfectly normal, healthy and natural aspects of the female anatomy.
To say this awful stuff is ’empowering’ is BS of the highest order. I can give them some far more fitting words for their marketing and promotional material: try mercenary, cynical and grasping.
This is so sad-making.
Superdrug should know better.
Sadly these products only join a long line of aesthetic procedures now considered the norm – girls and young women, even older women feel that they can build themselves to a ‘version’ of ‘perfection’ : 3D sculpting (fillers). Botox , surgeries, lazers, lightening … it’s a logical step to think all parts of ourselves should and could look a certain way.
It doesn’t surprise me at all.
Insta and Selfie culture have created narcissists of us all and there does exist a ‘beauty standard’ that many if not most aspire to.
It’s big commercial business too.
I’m just as susceptible as the next woman to bring critical of myself and have had profilo and voluma for example so I’m not immune. I think the sadness is that many younger women see this as a complete normal and don’t even question it.
I would like women to feel they have a choice and a voice for femininity in its whole sense. More gloop for your anus or your vagina or your face isn’t the answer really … I disagree about men and boys here – although these products are not aimed at them they feel equally under pressure to look a certain way. Hard.
WTF Superdrug, seriously?
I’m appalled by this too. I think the difference between these products and make-up/fillers etc is that things we do to our faces are for our own benefit. I love make-up and like thinking “I look nice” as I leave the house. Yes, other people see me, and may agree or disagree, but it’s mostly for me (plus I’m 50 now, so I realise that no-one is looking at me anyway). But these “WooWoo” (srsly?) products are obviously intended to change the user not for the user’s benefit, but for other people’s (alleged) benefit. I had no idea that the “lightening” issue was even a thing. These products are saying “Change yourself not for your own benefit but *solely* for someone else’s”, and that is just so wrong that, as the young people like to say “I can’t even.”
Are the men doing it? No…not yet. Men’s grooming has exploded over the past few years and there’s a strong push on hair removal products men absolutely do not need and are purely aesthetic. As such, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see products equivalent to these Superdrug ones being launched for men in the coming years.
It’s difficult for Superdrug to have that ‘love yourself as you are’ message and then sell an entire shop full of products aimed to make yourself look different. I even think one of the London stores now do botox!
Katie | katieemmabeauty.com
Who on earth would okay this?
Christ on a bike! I am on a Boots boycott because of their ridiculous “silly women, so reckless” shit last year about emergency contraception. Why can’t retailers just get it right! I can’t be wasting time choosing between Boots (contraceptive facists) or Superdrug (anal bleaching promoters) every time I want a new lippy for under a tenner. It’s too tiresome. So, Essence @ Wilkos it is then. For now.
Looks like someone heard Huda. That was rather quick, to make some bags. Was it only couple of months since Huda said something about lightening and tightening vaginas?
Hate hate hate this! What is it with this running down of women’s bits by other so called women entrepreneurs. I’m older and, I like to think wiser, and not conned by any of this crap. Yes…it’s great if you want to buy it for all the right reasons…although I struggle to find any reason anyone would want to bleach their anus!….Not a good move by Superdrig,..how hypocritical.
I don’t understand what the big deal is. What people choose to do down there is their choice. I wouldn’t judge a friend who has a Hollywood or one that does nothing at all. Same goes for make up and someone who chooses no makeup over someone who wears a full face. If an individual wants to lighten or tighten their genitals, that’s their prerogative. Also, surely it’s better they have the option and access to use something safe rather than turn to more drastic options?
Did she?! She also, I believe, doesn’t target her products at older ladies…apparently once you reach 40 you have no interest in makeup.
I agree with you Jane so much! I feel that often brands pick issues that you feel quite insecure about almost to manipulate you into buying the product and in general they advertise it to be “the product that you cannot live without” this may be pushing the boat out a bit but maybe we can live without it maybe there are some of our imperfections that make us us that we perhaps like and do not wish to abolish.
Amen! Here’s another beauty blogger (who lived in the UK for several years) and I caaaaan’t believe they would go there! I understand, it’s everyone’s own choice what they whant to do with their uhm.. places,BUT! Why is it suggested that only women would need these things? Why why why?