A few weeks ago, this commercial hit my Facebook feed. A girl obsessed with getting her first period on a Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret level fakes getting it, so her mom throws her a period-themed party. The commercial is cute and off-putting and funny.
The Actual Message
Being a woman means being a bitch.
It's on second glance that you realize how weird this commercial is, and the grossness has nothing to do with menses. Listen to how the daughter talks to her mom when asked about her fingernail polish-soaked pad: "What do you think it is? I'm on my ladies' days." Yikes. I don't know about your house, but in my house that tone would get a grounding followed by a lecture followed by a "Who do you think you are?" followed by a whiny Facebook update that didn't mention the child by name but definitely called them out. Then that Facebook update would get promptly deleted because everybody hates passive-aggressive complaining on Facebook. Part of raising kids is making sure they don't grow up to talk to other humans like the other humans are trash, is the point I'm getting to.
The mom in this commercial is way cooler than me, however, so she decides to punish her daughter's lying and bratty tone ... with more lying. She stages an elaborate blood-soaked party and gets everyone this family has ever known in on it. Friends, family, local bakers, and pinata makers, everyone, all in the name of teaching a hormone-addled child one lesson: I'm older so I can out-bitch you. Oh, and I'll humiliate you in the process.
Look at the smug, self-satisfied look the mom gives the camera when the party's over. This is a mom who isn't interested in raising her daughter to be comfortable with her body or confident in the changes she's going through. This is a manipulative, power-hungry woman who is not only asserting herself as the dominant female in the relationship, but teaching her daughter that this is how womanhood works. Through lies, humiliation, and general douchiness. For a company that's trying to normalize talk about periods, they sure are playing up the association with women, periods, and bitchiness.
Looks like she learned her lesson!
In fact, I can't think of a more terrible message for girls hitting middle school: When someone wrongs you, go Mean Girls on them, first with humiliation, then by literally forcing physical contact when they don't want it. The actress who played the daughter in this commercial actually nailed all the feelings of defeat, self-doubt, and disgust that come with living in a world where everything is out of your control, including your own body.
Get used to getting bullied, young lady.
So in that sense, HelloFlo does a great job of capturing young womanhood. Awesome job, guys!
Kristi is a senior editor and columnist for Cracked. For more from her, check out past articles here and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.