I read a headline this past week that really made me pause.

KOTEX has launched a brand new line of feminine products for… Tweens.

Yup, you read that right. Tweens. 9 to 12 year-old preteens in the midst of the awkward in-between childhood and adolescence stage. Under the parameters of an outdated gender binary system, some call it the ‘too old for toys, too young for boys’ demographic.

Perhaps your reactions were similar to mine when I first read that headline? I cringed
. One of the first comments I read was from a woman on Facebook who was complaining about Kotex making ‘glittery tampons’ for pre-teens. WHAT?! Outrageous! But wait… [pause]… Don’t believe everything you read/hear.

Upon further investigation, I found out that what the woman had said was completely inaccurate. Not only is there ZERO glitter in any of Kotex’s products, but tampons aren’t even a part of the new line (which was definitely a conscious decision on Kotex's part). Alas, the only sparkles involved are the ones on the outside
of the box. Sure, they went a bit overboard with the gender stereotypical colors and glittery graphics, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. In the products world, that’s par for the course among girls grades 4-7. That’s not excusing it, but it is the simple explanation.

The more I thought about it, well… Kotex’s new line kind of made sense.


What we REALLY want to talk about is how people are concentrating so much on the sparkles that they’re totally missing out on the most important aspects of this whole thing. What about the positive moves Kotex is making?

Sure, Kotex is looking to make money on an untouched market (which was inevitably going to happen—if they didn’t do it, someone else would have), but they are making some big strides forward for women. They’ve set up an entire website that is dedicated to helping young girls learn about how puberty affects their bodies as well as providing parents with resources for the crucial conversations they’ll need to be having with their daughters.

We live in a society that teaches women to be ashamed and secretive about their periods, and teaches men to cringe, shudder and freak out at the mere mention of such things. Why is this still tolerated? Do we not realize it’s yet another way women are held under the thumb of a patriarchal society? Instead of regarding our menstrual cycles as the miracle that enables us to create life inside of us, they are shoved aside as disgusting and taboo.

As far as I know, Kotex is the only company to publicly challenge these societal stigmas with their current campaign ‘U by Kotex.’ For once, tampons, pads and the packaging that hold them aren’t restricted to pastels and white. U by Kotex includes hugely vibrant colors that shouts, ‘I am not ashamed of my body OR my period!’ I’m not saying there’s anything wrong if you’d rather go for the traditional products or hide a tampon in your sleeve as you walk past your co-workers and into the bathroom, but it’s hard to argue that Kotex’s effort to go in the opposite direction isn’t admirable. It’s about pride for who and what we are as females.

Even cooler is the fact that Kotex has set up an entire website where women and girls are signing a declaration to commit to changing the way society talks about periods. To this, I say ‘Hell, yes!’

Why are more advocates in our circles not embracing this?

The U by Kotex Declaration reads as follows:

I will:

- Celebrate my body and my period as natural, normal and important
- Respect my vagina and know that ‘vagina’ isn’t a dirty word
- Challenge society to think differently about what it means to be a woman
- Talk openly and without embarrassment about periods and vaginal care with my friends and family
- Take good care of myself and encourage my girlfriends to do the same.

How awesome is that?

How many times have you seen a guy squeal or plug his ears when a girl even alluded to her period, cramps or gyno visit? Our periods are definitely a private matter and I’m not at all saying we should send out proud memos to everyone we know about our personal reproductive systems, but we shouldn’t have to feel like we have to whisper about it either. The bold colors of Kotex’s newest lines are a visual manifestation of breaking free of the social stigma and declaring and demanding equal respect. It’s pretty obvious that Kotex isn’t just trying to make a buck on cute products, but they’re giving something back.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t enjoy the less desirable side effects of being a woman during ‘that time of the month.’ I’ve had my fair share of troubles including a recent emergency 4-day hospitalization due to a ruptured ovarian cyst that caused severe internal bleeding and required a blood transfusion. But you know what, I’m still proud to be a woman. I’m still proud that my body was made to create life in a way that is exclusive to our female reproductive system. I consider it an honor.

We may not like it, but there is no denying research that has proven girls are beginning to menstruate younger and younger. According to Pediatrics, approximately 15% of American girls now begin puberty by the age of 7.

That said, let’s be clear… It certainly isn’t KOTEX’s fault that girls’ bodies are entering into puberty at younger ages than previous generations. There are a lot of places to point our fingers or try and place blame, but the feminine products industry isn’t one of them. If you want to assert the real danger here, then direct your attention to the fact that girls’ bodies are changing before they are mentally prepared for it.

The more I think about it, I’m surprised that a company hasn’t come out with smaller sized pad for younger girls before now.

Sometimes, I feel as though I'm programmed to react a specific way to headlines and the latest schticks aimed at women in advertising, but we can’t abandon reason and individuality. Not everyone will agree with me on all of this, but at least I took the time to carefully construct my opinion.

So, what do YOU think?

©2011 REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN, LLC. All rights reserved.



AMAZING news! Victoria's Secret has uncovered the key to one of the world's greatest mysteries!!!

You might want to sit down for this...

*Wait for it......*


*Eye roll*

REALLY??! Gotta love when they spell their manipulating messages out for you right there on the ad.

Now, how 'bout that insane airbrushing.....

©2011 REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN, LLC. All rights reserved.



The Deception: ‘UnREtouched’ VS. Untouched

When news broke yesterday claiming that a makeup company had published the ‘first’ unretouched makeup ad, we knew we had to inform people of the smoke and mirrors behind that claim.

When advertisers declare that an ad has not been airbrushed or retouched, it's important to think through a couple of things before you jump for joy or come to the conclusion that the photo is completely natural.

First of all, ‘unairbrushed’ or ‘unretouched’ does not
equate to ‘au naturale.’ All images published online, in magazines, catalogues and on billboards have been edited or doctored in some way. That’s right – ALL of them. Even images that claim to be ‘unairbrushed’ have been edited in Photoshop or programs like it.

The reason we can make that claim is simple. The most basic qualities of a photo depend on a few fundamental characteristics: exposure, brightness, contrast, sharpness, and color (color correction can make colors more flattering or true to life). In any type of photography, it’s an industry standard to alter and edit these basic components of an image. In addition to its magical editing capabilities like making inches disappear from thighs, or blemishes, pores and wrinkles vanish from faces, it can do wonders for brightening up a dark image.

Allow us to reiterate something we’ve said time and time again…

ALL mainstream images have been retouched. The question is – to what degree
? Let that question be your mantra as you flip through ladies’ magazines. ‘HOW retouched is this ad?’

A few more things to consider:

1. BEAUTY’S LITTLE HELPERS: Models and celebrities have makeup artists, hairdressers, stylists, lighting specialists and professional photographers who specialize in making them look as flawless as possible. Keep in mind that is all BEFORE Photoshop has even entered the picture.

2. LIGHTING: Even when a picture is praised for its limited airbrushing, it’s important to know it’s likely that Photoshop has been replaced with another trick… lighting. Things like wrinkles and cellulite can easily be ‘blown out’ with fancy lighting, which was described by one photographer as having ‘the same effect as Photoshop.’ So really, companies aren’t being completely forthcoming when they claim a model wasn’t retouched. Technically, they can say that if they didn’t use the airbrushing tool in Photoshop, but are they being completely honest? Not really.

3. THERE’S AN UNDERLYING REASON for hopping on the positive anti-airbrushing bandwagon… As is the situation with the ‘Make Up Forever’ ad, it would appear that the model has a pretty flawless, even skin tone to begin with (her youth probably doesn’t hurt the cause either). Notice how smooth her face looks compared to her arm? This was not by accident. Advertisers wanted you to look at the uneven shadows on her arm. That way, you’d believe they left her face just as untouched as her arm, which would then hopefully convince you that their foundation works amazingly well.

The moral of the story is this, RRW ALLIES™: ‘Unretouched’ does not mean ‘untouched.’ Next time a company or magazine comes out with a claim that an image is ‘sans airbrushing,’ try to stop yourself before automatically supporting it and concluding that it’s completely natural and ‘undoctored’ in any way.

This is not to take away from small steps in the right direction, but it is crucial that we are educated on other ways we may be deceived by the images and messages surrounding us. And because advertising and media aren’t going away anytime soon, we’ve got to know how to interpret them for ourselves.

©2011 REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN, LLC. All rights reserved.

Eating Disorders Affect Us All

By Stephanie Covington Armstrong

Author, Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat

Until recently it was a common misconception that only white women suffered from eating disorders. In 2005, The New York Times published an article debunking that myth, stating that Blacks now join the eating disorder mainstream. In the article, psychologist Dr. Gayle Brooks states, "We're noticing a trend of more severe eating disorders among African-American girls.”

As the first African-American woman to write a book detailing the struggle with an eating disorder, I am acutely aware of the social stigmas attached to these issues. Growing up among “strong Black women” I witnessed family members battling depression and other emotional issues, despite attempts to keep problems hidden for fear of failing to live up to the black female archetype. For me, the eating disorder was one thing but the fear of revealing this to my community prolonged my problem. In order for me to heal I had to step outside of my comfort zone and admit that I had a problem. I took that first step towards healing and was able to get to the other side.

Over the past few years, there has been increasing evidence of disordered eating occurring among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Exact statistics on the prevalence of eating disorders among women of color are unavailable. Due to our historically biased view that eating disorders only affect white women, relatively little research has been conducted utilizing participants from racial and ethnic minority groups. Reports of eating disorders among women of color being on the rise may simply reflect an increase in the reporting of these problems rather than actual increases. Three factors affect the rate of reporting among minority women: underreporting of problems by the individual, under and misdiagnosing on the part of the treatment provider, and cultural bias of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV criteria for eating disorders.

In a 2003 study, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, Dr. Ruth Striegel-Moore, professor and chairwoman of psychology at Wesleyan University, found that young black women were as likely as white women to report binge eating. Three years earlier, in a study published in Archives of Family Medicine, she found that black women were as likely as white women to report binge eating or vomiting and were more likely to report fasting and abusing laxatives or diuretics than their white peers.

Dr. Striegel-Moore noted that minority women are less likely to seek treatment than their white counterparts, contributing to the perception of minority women as immune from eating disorders. Therapy is still not widely accepted in many minority communities and financial limitations only exacerbate the problem. Minority women face other barriers to getting care as well, Dr. Striegel- Moore said, including "lack of resources and insurance and not knowing who to contact."

We need to educate ourselves to the dangers of these diseases and their long term affects on our bodies. Early on I believed that needing help was a sign of weakness. Eventually I came to understand that asking for help and support requires strength. In time I was able to heal, emotionally, mentally and physically and to have a healthy, full and productive life. I look back at the years I spent fighting my eating disorder and I’m grateful that the only thing I lost was time.

It is time to talk about it. We need greater awareness and prevention efforts in all communities and access to treatment for all individuals affected. In our eating disorder outreach efforts, we must be attentive to factors affecting minority populations. These factors include differing worldviews, values, and beliefs; patterns of acculturation; effects of oppression; language barriers; and individual differences within every ethnic and racial group.

This National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 20-26, remember that It’s Time to Talk About It. Join the thousands of people across the country doing just one thing to start the conversation in their communities, schools and families. To learn more about the many fun and easy ways that you can be a part of this national movement and to register today, visit the NEDAwareness Week homepage under Programs & Events at

NEDA’s free national Helpline: 800 931-2237


National Eating Disorders Association, (2005). Eating Disorders in Women of Color:
Explanations and Implications.

Am J Psychiatry 160:1326-1331, July (2003) Eating Disorders in White and Black Women. Ruth H. Striegel-Moore, Ph.D., Faith A. Dohm, Ph.D., Helena C. Kraemer, Ph.D., C. Barr Taylor, Ph.D., Stephen Daniels, M.D., Patricia B. Crawford, D.P.H., and George B. Schreiber, D.Sc.

New York Times. Blacks Join the Eating-Disorder Mainstream, by Denise Brodey. September 20, 2005.

©2011 REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN, LLC. All rights reserved.

Tall and Skinny VS. Short and Stout?

*NOTE: RRW™ supports ALL women, regardless of size. Skinny girls are real women, too. We just don’t like it when big corporations tell us being thin is the only way to attain confidence and beauty.*

New York Fashion Week is in full swing thanks in large part to one of their biggest sponsors, PepsiCo, Inc. In addition to getting the usual exposure, Pepsi has used its sponsorship as an opportunity to promote its soon-to-be launched, newly designed Diet Pepsi product – ‘The Skinny Can.’

It’s easy to envision why Pepsi would choose such an event to introduce its cute little can. Where else would there be such an obvious visual correlation between idealized size and beauty (i.e. models on the runway) and a taller, skinnier can of DIET, zero calorie soda? OMG! Perrrfeeect… *sigh*

The AP reports: The can is a "taller, sassier" version of the traditional can that the company says was made in "celebration of beautiful, confident women."

[cue screeching car tires!]

WOAH. Hold it right there. OK. Let’s work out the simple equation for that.

Skinny Can of Diet Pepsi + Woman = Confidence and Beauty

Wow! Is it really just that easy? Sold!

So, correct me if I’m wrong, Pepsi, but essentially you’re saying that taller and thinner women are the only ones who should feel confident in their beauty? Really? Wow.

Let’s try that out in another equation, shall we?

Confident, Beautiful Women = Tall + Thin

Yeeeah. REAL empowering. REAL inclusive.

From all available press and photos, it would seem that everywhere attendees turn, they’re greeted with a reminder from Pepsi that thinner is better.

Picture this – Skinny Can signage strewn about various fashion week venues and shows. Celebrities, designers and models being photographed incessantly holding the thin can acting as if it’s the absolute BEST thing they’ve ever tasted (and hey, who am I to judge – maybe it is?). A hip lounge/bar dubbed ‘The Skinny Bar’ where you can order a ‘Skinny Cocktail’ and hang with the cool crowd. Pepsi logo-covered information displays with ‘Get the Skinny!’ splashed across their signs. VIP gift bags filled with all kinds of goodies including, you guessed it, Skinny Cans!. TV displays made to look like backstage, dressing room mirrors playing looped footage of extraordinarily thin models walking down runways. Get the connection? Drink Diet Pepsi. Look into the mirror.

Let’s be clear, this was all on purpose. When it comes to marketing, don’t think these kinds of details are left out, because they aren’t. Pepsi specifically chose this as their venue for a reason. Everything is looks-based, including their sizist can.

What baffles me is their denial of the ‘thin’ connection. Especially considering the ONLY Pepsi product being produced in ‘The New Skinny Can!’ is a diet soft drink with its advertised ‘ZERO Cals, Carbs & Sug!’ slapped right on the front of the can. In an email, the company wrote:

‘We are sensitive to this interpretation, and that is definitely not our intent.’

Pepsi, we’re calling your bluff. And we’re going to get many, many others to do the same.

Let’s make a deal!

Jill Beraud, Pepsi’s Chief Marketing Officer, has stated that their ‘slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today’s most stylish looks.’

Well, then! If a cute little ACCESSORY is all you’re going for, I think we may have just found our compromise, Pepsi. All of this fuss could go away and you could make lots of money on a product that doesn’t piss off your customers if you go with one of two options.

Option ONE:

You drop this campaign and the new can all together. Immediately.


Option TWO:

You drop the bull about the ‘Skinny Can’ celebrating ‘confident, beautiful women’ and immediately plan to sell regular Pepsi (full of calories, sugar and carbs, oh my!) in your ‘Skinny Can’ as well. That way, we lose the Skinny = Beautiful baggage AND it becomes more about a stylish, trendy little can that has nothing to do with a woman’s size.

Bonus Round!

And a few more ways you could better your campaign:

First – Your plan to have Sofia Vergara as a spokesperson will go MUCH smoother if you show her drinking REAL Pepsi. She’s a woman who openly celebrates her body and having her selling a diet soda pushing the thin ideal isn’t exactly consistent messaging.

Second – We hear you’re planning on providing designer clothing boutiques in cities across the country with mini fridge displays stocked with Diet Pepsi Skinny Cans (yet again, proof that this IS about size). Why don’t you go out on a limb, take a chance, and make THIS empowering move: Stock those fridges with Diet Pepsi and regular Pepsi. The Fashion Industry is not one that generally embraces women of all sizes. Even if you keep the Skinny Can and drop its association with tallness, thinness & beauty, having both products there will send a message. That REAL WOMEN of ANY size can drink your products and be beautiful, stylish and confident.

I may have studied MUSIC Business and Management in college, but I’ll have you know, Pepsi, that in one of my marketing classes, I did a project where you were the chosen company under which I drew up a marketing plan to launch a new drink because you’re a dynamic, innovative, daring brand. Don’t tarnish your name like this. Do the right thing.


Let the folks behind the Diet Pepsi Skinny Can know what YOU think!

Diet Pepsi on Twitter: (Use hashtags #skinnycan #protest #RRW)

Send your Letters/Emails to these email addresses:

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©2011 REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN, LLC. All rights reserved.