I hadn't seen the outrageous recent ad by the menstrual pain reliever Midol, but it hasn't gone unnoticed. Unlike this ridiculous ad from the 1960s ("Betty's Gay with Midol", today's marketing geniuses decided that the new slogan for the product should be "Midol, Reverse the Curse."

The ad was described by feministabonita:

The commercial "There is a reason it's called the curse, _____________ ** , cramps and bloating" (commercial shows women in their bras with extended bellies) Then it goes on to blab about Midol…and shows a happy woman running down the beach.

I assume that after we get a euphoric high from taking Midol, we must run around and what not. We feel alive and energetic released from the repressions of menstruation, something that is inconceivable when plagued with cramps and bloating.

See Emily Blog said:

Look, no one said that time of the month is fun- but a curse? It’s a bodily function. Sure, it’s great that women who have really bad symptoms have medications like Midol available to them so that they don’t have to spend the week in bed, but you don’t have to make them feel bad about being a woman. The commercial is supposed to be empowering, but how is telling women that they have a curse on them ever supposed to be empowering?

I actually just received a letter from a reader about this Midol madness. Read the letter -- and the response from the company -- below the fold. Slowmovinghorse had this to say:

I was flipping through Glamour magazine when I saw the newest Midol ad that claims it can "Reverse the Curse." While I entirely support the idea of making REAL menstruation product ads (displaying a woman in pain, say, instead of a bunch of cheery women dancing in white pants), I have to admit this was a little overboard. So I sent the Midol/Bayer company an email that reads:

"I saw an ad in Glamour magazine which said "Midol: Reverse the Curse."

Excuse me...CURSE?

Is it 1888 again and I just didn't realize, or were you attempting to negatively influence women's opinions on a perfectly natural and HEALTHY body function?

Next time you design an ad, please consider the fact that it is 2008, and that your outdated language is detrimental to your customers (who are WOMEN, by the way, and would rather NOT be insulted) and gives the Midol company a bad name.

Too bad, I almost purchased some for this month. Not that you care, because my $8 will not affect your profit.

You say "cramps are the reason a period is called a Curse?"

Hardly. Religion dictates that women were "cursed" with menstruation and painful childbirth as punishment for eating the apple.

I'd be mad at you, but the fact that you have this simple fact wrong is only further indicative of your ignorance."

And the response?

Thank you for taking the time to contact Bayer HealthCare about MIDOL Pain Relief Formula. We appreciate your interest in Bayer HealthCare and our products.

In response to your email, many women easily relate to the colloquial phrase "the curse" to describe the full spectrum of symptoms they may encounter during their menstrual cycle. By using the phrase the "curse" to refer to these symptoms openly in our advertising, we are actually hoping to reinvent the meaning behind the association and help reduce some of the stigma that can be associated with a woman’s period. Midol is a brand that is dedicated to women’s health and is providing relief from the various symptoms women may encounter during their menstrual cycle, including cramps, fatigue and bloating.

Please be assured that your comments will be shared with our management team. Your feedback is vital to our continuous improvement efforts.

If I may be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me.


Gabrielle Trujillo

Consumer Advisor


More ads can be seen and described at http://www.mum.org/midolsads.htm. My personal favorite for rank sexism is this howler from the 70s. This Shaun Cassidy doppelganger is why all the young women who are having PMS need to pop a Midol -- for his sake.