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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Trojan condoms are bringing shame to female market

Trojan has recently released a new brand of condoms, called “XOXO” targeting women. They boast discreet purple and black packaging, aloe-infused lubricant and thinner latex.

The commercials for XOXO condoms are not the standard condom ads—there is no use of words like “sensation” or “pleasure,” and there is no implication of actual sex, as in Trojan commercials targeted at men.

Overall, I hate gender-based branding, but Trojan’s advertisements, and the difference between their masculine ads and their feminine ads are ridiculous.

In recent Trojan “Bareskin” commercials, rapper Lil’ Dicky is having a hot and heavy hook-up with a girl. She says she wants to have sex on a table “right here, right now.”  Lil’ Dicky takes a moment to say something along the lines of, “Wait girl, lemme get a condom for our mutual sexual health,” after which the couple proceeds to continue making out.

Dustin Nelson for Thrillist calls this kind of Trojan advertisement “tongue-in-cheek,” and it is, both literally and figuratively. The ads for the “XOXO” condoms, meanwhile, lack this sly irony.

The first commercial I saw for the “XOXO” condoms show a bunch of women with pretty hair gazing at sunsets, wearing kooky outfits on the subway, and dancing in their living rooms for no apparent reason. It’s reminiscent of a tampon commercial (which never seem linked to tampons), and starts with a voiceover, “It’s 2017. We’re in the moment where everybody should look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘I have the confidence to be who I wanna be. Why should only men be able to buy condoms?”

There are not any laws against non-men buying condoms.

Sure, in a New York Times interview, Bruce Weiss, Trojan’s vice-president of marketing, admitting they have a harder time reaching female audiences.

“We consistently hear from people as they shop for condoms, especially from women, that they feel the weight of everyone’s eyes on them when they purchase condoms,” said Weiss.

As a woman, I purchase them periodically myself, and usually do not even get a sideways glance.

While I can see embarrassment as an issue for some women, this condom-branding ignores a simple fact: it should not be.

Women should be able to feel comfortable while being responsible, health-conscious sexual beings purchasing their own condoms if they so choose.

The “XOXO” commercials make it seem as though reasonable women are afraid to make a purchase implying they are sexually active.

Obviously, condom branding is not the problem here. The problem is society making women feel ashamed for doing the deed.

This “women should seem like they don’t actually have sex” implication is present all over the “XOXO” advertising campaign, “#trustyourself,” despite it’s phony message of female empowerment. It is also present in the name of the condom itself. Trojan has a line of condoms aimed at men, “Bareskin.” The name conveys something about the sensation aspect of the condom, and works as a double entendre for people in the nude.

“XOXO,” however, traditionally means hugs and kisses.

Newsflash, Trojan: Condoms are not for hugging and kissing. They are used for sex. Women already know this.

Reviews of the condoms themselves can be found on the amusing Trojan website.

If that is not evidence of the Trojan advertisers working around women’s shame rather than confronting it, nothing is.
I am not saying it is Trojan’s sole duty to make our society a place where it’s okay for women to have sex. I am just saying if that is what they are working towards with the “XOXO” condom, they are going about it all wrong. I do not want women purchasing condoms to have to be discreet.

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Trojan condoms are bringing shame to female market