XOXO Condoms or “‘Cause Sexual Agency Ain’t Cute Ladies”

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According to a Slate.com article written by Brendan Koerner in 2006-Trojan brand, a subsidiary of Church and Dwight Co. (of Arm & Hammer fame), “account for 70.5 percent of condom sales in drugstores” in the United States.

These include all the different varieties of condom marketed under the Trojan umbrella: Bareskin, Magnum, Ultra Thin, ENZ, Ultra Ribbed, and Groove, to name a few.

 

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Recently, Trojan has promoted a new condom: XOXO. XOXO by Trojan (TM) markets itself as: “Smart. Sexy. Confident.” and points to its “soft touch,” “aloe infused lubricant,” and “low latex odor,” which set it apart from other condoms.

 

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And, that is not all consumer! An added bonus of purchasing the XOXO condom is the handy “Discreet Travel Pack!” An addition which the Trojan ad states will make “both of you more comfortable buying and carrying it,” “it” being an XOXO condom.

Wow! What a treat!

Before I attempt to unpack what this “all” means consumer, please watch in full one of Trojan’s latest XOXO ad campaigns:

“Soft touch,” “aloe infused lubricant,” “low latex odor,” “discreet travel pack (!)”-these are “lady condoms” aren’t they  Trojan?

Because apart from being “Smart. Sexy. Confident.”, just like the XOXO condom, woman are delicate beings who require a “soft touch” form of contraceptive that doesn’t smell terrible and can be hidden both in the aesthetically pleasing purple packet or in the “discreet travel pack.”

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And look at those young, heterosexual, primarily white users! They are so in love and so not embarrassed that they had to purchase a condom. Because the only thing worse than unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection is being embarrassed in a CVS or Walgreens right!?

 

Trojan you are so very wrong. Why? Let me count the ways…

  1. The name. By naming your “feminine condom” XOXO you are not so much appealing to a female audience but rather equating female sexuality as something that can only be preformed in a monogamous relationship, a literal act of love (XOXO being short hand for “hugs and kisses”). Sex can in fact be preformed whenever a woman chooses regardless of relationship status-sex and love are not monogamous ideas.
  2. The package. This may come as a surprise Trojan but, not all women prefer purple.
  3. THE PACKAGE. Namely the-“Discreet travel pack” which has been designed so “both of you more comfortable buying and carrying it.” It is this aspect of the XOXO condom which I find most problematic.

 

Often times sexual health: whether it be to prevent an STD or to prevent unwanted pregnancy, is “left up to the woman.” A woman contacts her doctor for the insertion of a IUD or for a prescription of oral contraceptives.  And many times it is a woman who purchases a package of condoms from a pharmacy. She does these things regardless of whether or not she feels embarrassed by her doctor or pharmacist or cashier or by her fellow consumer. She has done this without the use of discreet, feminine packaging for decades. Why?

Because a woman’s sexual health and sexual agency are not embarrassing. 

And 4. BONUS! XOXO condoms at retailer Target are priced at $16.99 for 24 condoms, or 0.71 cents a condom. Trojan ENZ are price at $14.19 for 36 condoms, or roughly 0.40 cents a condom. Much like other gendered marketing, like Venus VS Gillette razor or Lady Speed Stick VS Speed Stick deodorant bar, companies know that by adding a “feminine” flourish to a product they can charge more for what is often times the same exact product.

Agree with me or not-be discreet with your money, and do not shell out for a purple wrapper. 

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3 thoughts on “XOXO Condoms or “‘Cause Sexual Agency Ain’t Cute Ladies”

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