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Curly Nikki

Talking Vaginas: A Little Too Much?

By January 27th, 202148 Comments
by Tracey Wallace of NaturallyCurly.com

I don’t even know where to begin. I mean, we’ve seen curly hair portrayed in a lot of different ways, but Summer’s Eve’s new commercial sent shock waves through the NaturallyCurly office. No joke, we were speechless.

The commercial, if you haven’t yet seen it or heard about it, features a hand puppet playing a talking vagina. Yea, you read that right–a talking vagina. The whole gig is part of their “Hail to the V” campaign claiming, “no one gives you more products to keep your vagina happy.”

Now, as if the talking hand claiming to be our “vertical smile” wasn’t enough, Summer’s Eve produced different commercials for different races, insinuating quite a few stereotypes in both the Black and Hispanic versions.

One of those stereotypes involved the idea that Black women style their hair more often and to display that—yes, I know you see this coming—they put hair on it. They put our beloved natural hair on top of your talking you-know-what. Let’s talk about what they’re insinuating now.

The commercial, which has since been yanked from play, has many people up in arms about how a conservative Dallas advertising agency didn’t see what everyone else did–you know, the insanity of it.

Yet, in the face of adversity, the agency and the company have stood by the advertisement saying only that, “The decision to take the videos down is about acknowledging that there’s backlash here. We want to move beyond that and focus on the greater mission.”

For viewers, moving past the “ay-yi-yi” of the Hispanic hand and what some critics are calling a “jive-talking hand-‘gina with a ‘fro” is just much too difficult.

Stan Richards, the founder of The Richards Group, the advertising agency behind the mayhem, said that the videos were meant to be “relatable,” not offensive, and perhaps to a human without a vagina, they are.

Of course, some critics are saying that Summer’s Eve pulled out too quickly. After all, the brand hasn’t had this much publicity in a while. In fact, one commenter on AdWeek even stated, “Ironically, I wish Summer’s Eve had shown a little more balls.”

In the end, it’s all about what the consumer thinks, here at NaturallyCurly, we’re not so sure either of the companies involved really thought about this one. Or, is it the most genius advertising campaign of all time?

You tell us. Because really, we’re still in shock!

48 Comments

  • MommieDearest says:

    @Tiffany:

    "…it's summer out, and I can't always bathe in the middle of the day, so it's nice to 'freshen up' at times imo. I like that fresh feeling and using something appropriately sensitive, even if the ad was not, works for me.

    Baby wipes work wonderfully, and they are not nearly as expensive.

  • Anonymous says:

    Soooooo I can definitely see how these ads can be offensive to some. I'm not one to take offense easily, but the stereotypes were SO blatant in these commercials it's ridiculous.

    So latina women are "fiesty" and full of attitude? "After flying all day you expect me to be HAPPY??" How dare you? LoL! "The whole giving birth thing? Yea that's ALLLLLL ME"… is there not already the stereotype that hispanic women pop out babies more than any other race? And the leopard thong??? (-_-) Come on.. really?

    And then the black woman… neck roll? They spend too much time on their hair/weaves? All they wanna do is go to the club and do their hair right? "Wunda down unda?" Seriously?

    I mean… it's one thing to push a product. But do it tastefully and be cognizant of the stereotypes you may be perpetuating. That is all.

  • NtrlGAGirl says:

    Okaaaaay! I think these are funny and I'm glad someone is finally recognizing the power of the "vertical smile"! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Honestly, I've seen this "controversy" around the web-ernets and can only think…REALLY???? Is this the advertisement that you want to be worried about? Not that ALL of McD's commercials are "urban" (which I've hated for YEARS!!!! Is that the ONLY way you can relate to black folks?)?? That doesn't bother you??

    I think there are some who are always looking for a reason to be offended and this is just the latest of many. It's not that serious. Actually, it's not serious at all–it's funny as heck.

  • Anonymous says:

    Those products aren't even good for your vagina. Dove soap and water is much better for woman.

  • Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    I think it's kind of funny. It was silly but honestly it's not that serious. People can be really way to sensitive.

  • cassburt88 says:

    Lol! I thought these were kinda funny. I do, however, see how these commercials could be offensive to some people. I'm choosing not to be offended. The really absurd thing to me was the talking vaginas; that's just crazy and I'm surprised they were allowed to put it on TV. Shelly @ 5:47pm was right, we do have to pick and choose our battles. I also love Summer's Even products! They make my vertical smile….Lmao….hahahaha, I just had to say that!

  • Melodee A says:

    Ok, I couldn't get past the first 10 seconds of each of the commercials. Can we say stupid? The stereotypes that they are trying to portray didn't even bother me. What bothererd me is that they are talking about feminine products!

    I can't stand to see any ads on TV promoting ANY feminine prodcuts, every woman should know what to use or buy. If they don't then shame on them and shame on their mothers for not teaching them. Public advertisement is not needed!

    What these commercials said to me is that the approval to release these was probably given by someone who doesn't even have a vagina!

  • Anonymous says:

    Haha! the white woman is the only one to take credit for the world’s population…interesting…

  • Annabel says:

    This is one of the most ignorant, distasteful ads I've seen in a long time. First, I'm not offended as a black woman, but as a woman in general. Yes, we're all walking, clubbing, shopping vaginas without interests and empty brains! Come on, they can do better than this. All I have to say is only a man could have been the head of this campaign, I would be shocked if otherwise. I also viewed the extended version (see second video after black hand puppet). It starts with a deep male voice stating that "men have been fighting for it for years, etc, etc,….it's just that powerful." Out of all of the ideas they could think of really, wars and centuries of genocide and death are all caused by the power of a woman's vagina, really!? Last but not least, I must say I am shocked; I was waiting to see a kung fu kicking, kimono wearing talking hand to represent all the Asian women out there!

  • Ria Scott says:

    Hail to the V is all I can say! Love it!

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not offended. I thought it was funny. I think we naturals should stop blowing everything out of proportion.

  • Tiffany says:

    Maybe I'm not 'reading' this ad right, but honestly, the only reference that really made me cringe was the "vertical smile". The Black and Latina Vajay's were actually funny, albeit stereotypical. This actually did make we want to try it because lets face it, it's summer out, and I can't always bathe in the middle of the day, so it's nice to 'freshen up' at times imo. I like that fresh feeling and using something appropriately sensitive, even if the ad was not, works for me.

  • Anonymous says:

    i liked the commercials. it reminds me of the vagina monologues. i see them as somewhat empowering bc it forces women to speak up abt their vaginas and not b so afraid of them. bc if u think abt it, most women think abt their vaginas in such a negative way, whereas men go around parading their manhood. y cant we do the same? i thought the characters were actually funny. it made them relateable bc there r people like that too. i dont think they were necessary trying to make it a stereotype. i think the mcdonalds commercials r worse.

  • Anonymous says:

    Did anyone notice that the commercial that was supposed to "relate to" African Americans suggested to use the wipes before going to the clubs while the other two commercials suggest using them before going to the gym for a work-out? What's up with that? Talk about stereotypes!

  • MrsWardy88 says:

    Call me oblivious… but I didnt see much wrong with the advertising. Its all about marketing…grabbing the right demographics attention. They all sounded characteristically ethnic. The white v.j.j sounded like "Becky", the latina v.j.j had a latin flair, while the black v.j.j spoke with a home girl-look vernacular. They got our attention didnt they?

    I guess the only thing that bothered me, was how the black vagina had to sweat it out during dropping it like its hot…instead of being irritated on the highway home from work. (or maybe i missed something else)

    Its funny… and I like how they kept the BV's hair natural. We dont perm down there! And they went through different hair styles.

  • Anonymous says:

    Honestly, I don't see the big deal. I thought they were kind of comedic in a cute way. It made me consider purchasing the product. It's just a comercial and I don't see the harm in talking about personal hygiene in a commercial…i mean everything else is talked about on tv. Also, I wasn't offended at all – personally, I don't think it was meant to come off in a negative way.

  • KikiRocksKinks says:

    Being honest, I didn't really see the humor and overall, the commercials are simlpy…well, WHACK!!! Who in the heck can relate to such ridiculousness?

  • Anonymous says:

    Very strange ad. Not feeling it at all. However, I do use the cleansing wipes & cloths & I like them very much. That being said, whatever advertising exec came up with “Hail to the V” as a slogan should find another line of work. Whack!

  • shanee says:

    what anon 10:45 said. did they not pay attention to the other hair types/colors in the ad? this is nothing to be pissed over. find something better to do.

  • Anonymous says:

    is it just me or did anyone else notice that there were more hair types than just natural. what about all the other hair types they showed before the naturally curly one? why is only offensive to put natural hair on the "talking vagina"? secondly, in response to anonymous @8:10 it's not a soap which is why they have the advertisement. As someone who uses Summers Eve, I had no problem with the commercials because I know someone just like everyone they portrayed. Was is the best choice to pick those portrayals, maybe not but there are people black, hispanic and white who act exactly like the commercials. As others said, we have bigger battles to fight. Are we really going to get into an uproar about a summers eve commercial. And what's wrong with teaching girls how to take care of their bodies. There are plenty of young girls who have no idea how to properly cleanse their bodies because their mothers didn't know or didn't take the time to teach them. I am a college administrator and I have had to have conversations with some of my students, particularly black females, because other students have complained about their body or I have noticed it. I take the time to have conversations with them because the last thing they need is their body odor holding them back, we have enough obstacles as it is. And why do we have a problem with the summers eve commercial and but not a problem with condom and sex commercials. Let me stop ranting…

  • AnonymousD says:

    Am I the only one that doesn't find these commercials horribly offensive?? I've seen way worse things on Black Entertainment Television… Hello. It's obviously a satire —- A talking hand for a vagina!? Come on folks, why is everyone so sensitive?? I do agree with the comment that the white vagina should've played more on their stereotypes but other than that, I found it mildly humorus and a bit ridiculous (again, a hand for a vagina). Why can't we lighten up every once in a while. And to the poster that said the curly fro on the "vagina", the creators definitely featured other styles that were "non" black, so to speak.

  • Anonymous says:

    Tacky. They would not make me buy their products. And seriously, don't soap and water do the trick.

  • Anonymous says:

    Of course, some critics are saying that Summer’s Eve "pulled out too quickly" ha ha ha ha ha !!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    vertical smile???!! gimme a break!!! lol

  • Braelynn says:

    All I can say is…wow…HELLA FUNNY!!! What has this world come to? A freakin' talking vagina? Hail to the V…RIIIIIIGHT…

  • Anonymous says:

    Tasteless, at best.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hail to the V? Psh, they can take this ad campaign and shove it lol. Honestly, soap should go nowhere near the V and mine is doing quite fine without Summer's Eve!

  • Anonymous says:

    oh lordy! The commercial is rather uncouth in my opinion. Funny though. Even funnier, some comments on here! Ha! Talking vagina indeed!

  • Keisha says:

    This is pure comedy! Maybe they missed the mark trying to "relate" but I laughed my head off! I think it was very creative… its a product for vaginas that speak from the vaginas perspective… lol too funny

  • Jen says:

    I couldn't care less about a Summer's Eve ad, just like I don't care about the all AA McDonald's commercials. When was the last time they had a non-black person as the main characters in their commercial? Like a person who commented earlier said- we need to pick and choose our battles. I'm just saying there are more important things in my life and some of yours too than to be worried about some ad. You have the right to not like it but is it THAT important and really affecting your daily life? Here's what you can do: Don't but their products. Not enough "action" taken going that route, huh?
    Let's talk about the money spent and lives lost in this war we have been in for too long…. oh you not worried about that because it wasn't your husband they sent home in a pine box.

  • Maria says:

    I hate to admit it, but I thought it was hella funny. I'm Black AND Latina so both were stupid funny to me. I have no idea why they'd do something so dumb but I might actually try this product.

  • T says:

    At least they gave her natural hair. *shrugs*

  • Anonymous says:

    I would have to agree with Shelly. Although I cringed a bit only because of the go to black woman stereotype, I have to say I wasn't too annoyed. There are many things in the world that we should take a stand against and this for me should not be the forefront of our fight. To be completely honest, I did relate to the commercial (don't give me the death stare, hear me out first lol !) The fact that she was black was one reason and I thought I was the only woman in the world who had that dry itchy feeling down there. True story, after watching the videos above I'm taking a trip to my local drug store to purchase the wipes

  • MommieDearest says:

    @LaNeshe

    ITA with you!!!! I said practically the same thing you did on another board a few days ago. I have a real problem with women being reduced to our body parts. The commercials are in bad taste, period. I'm curious if they even ran this by a focus group first. But I'm also shocked that the women executives at Summer's Eve (and I assume there are plenty in decision-making positions) let this see the light of day.
    *smh*

  • Anonymous says:

    Portraying a particular race with qualities from that race isn't offensive to me. If they had showed real women saying similar things instead of a talking "vagina" would everyone still be so shocked?
    I think the commercials are HILARIOUS! As a black woman I say "ummhmm" and "girl" and of course I style my hair all the time! Why would that offend me? It isn't as if they are mocking these qualities, they are simply showing one type of person. And why would a Spanish speaking Latina be offensive? Maybe I just don't get it. We have got to move past such minute, ridiculous debates over vagina wash and focus on true racism, class-ism, and sexism.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nasty, lol. didnt like that at all. N at the "curtains match the blinds" comment…… Nope not at all. I cant believe they put natural hair on top of that. its nice to know how "other" ppl view us. if ur gonna make a talking "va jay jay" commerical. then give it pubic hair, not my type 4 afro. LMAOO…..eewwww. crazy ppl gotta love them 🙂

  • Shanna says:

    I don't think it's too much I actually love it. With that being said I have participated in productions of "The Vagina Monologues" for the past few years and this seems like a monologues that has been pulled right from it. But I think we need things like this, you'd be surprised how many women do not know how to properly care for and clean their vagina's. It might seem laughable to some and most think of it as basic hygiene but there are a lot of little girls who grow up in households where there mothers are afraid to talk to them about cleaning their vajayjays let alone other things concerning their "down theres" lol. Conservative white men control advertisement and they don't want to see commercials about vaginas sadly, I could go on about vagina's all say lol
    -Shanna

  • Anonymous says:

    LOL… smh smh these commercials are a mess!!! Yes, they are stereotypical…but really they are just soooo INAPPROPRIATE hahaha TOO inappropriate. I nearly flipped out of my chair when I saw the commercial with the history clips stating that "Men have fought for it, even died for it…" But really lol who approved these commercials?!

  • Anonymous says:

    I think the advertising agency that developed the ad campaign could stand to diversify its staff. Input from the "target audience" can be really helpful in product development. Instead, they wasted a lot of money only to have the ads pulled.

  • b. says:

    1. Some woman saying "You best be…" is not equal to diversity. Sorry. That's just ridiculous. Our diversity is easily visible if we are visible. Finger wagging and entire paragraphs of spanglish need not apply. Its just extra.

    2. Being critical and having discussion is not the same thing as being overly sensitive either. We are allowed to not like things.

    2. When I saw the ads I died. It was hilarious for all the wrong reasons. I have no idea who that's supposed to be relatable to.

  • Like Water says:

    It's not the different characterizations that are bothering me. What really bothers me is talking vaginas on TV. Where are the talking penises? It seems that it's always OK to put all of women's 'privacy' all over television. Commercials for periods, feminine odors and washes, tampon and pad commercials that give way more information than they need to. We're not stupid. We don't need specialized graphics and diagrams about how periods work. I know men have problems. Where are those products and TMI commercials. You can't show sex or penises on TV, but let's be sure to put a woman's vagina all out there (real or imitated). I'm no prude, believe me, but come on.
    OK, I'll get off my soap box now.

  • LaNeshe says:

    I was offended by the talking vagina, even without anything else. When's the last time u seen a talking penis for some penis cleansing soap or something? The approach of using the vagina hand puppet offended me as a woman, regardless of my race. It's got to be hard for them having a product as sensitive as a vagina wash to be innovative while not being brash, but I think they missed the mark here. I don't want that, that won't make me buy their product, the issue of vaginal cleaners I feel should be approached more delicately lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    why is everybody so damned sensitive nowadays? geez i was laughing because these stereotypes are exaggerations of real people. sorry im black and hispanic and i felt like "haha i know a few people like that!" why must we politicize everything? if it were just a ditzy blond girl would you be offended? no….and the whole "our beloved natural hair" thing is a bit much in my opinion…its just hair…curtains match the blinds..

  • Shelly says:

    I'm sorry I was not offended. Were these stereotypes or just what differentiates one race of women to another race? We spend so much time on hair blogs discussing how diverse our hair is and the moment this diversity is recognize on Madison Avenue we are up in arms about it. We have seen alot worse out there. Pick and choose your battles.

  • Taneica says:

    P.S. I had NO idea that it was supposed to be a talking vagina! *blushing*

  • Taneica says:

    I watched all three commercials a few days ago and found myself very very uncomfortable. To be honest, I am not sure why, but an unabashed commercial that is trying to appeal to me and my…let's call 'em "cash and prizes" is a bit much. But to play devil's advocate, why are people finding these commercials so offensive and why am I finding it so tough to watch the commercials? Dudes talk about their "goods and services" all the time and theyre referenced on tv, in movies and songs all the time! Things that make you go Hmmmmm.

  • Anonymous says:

    Also, to be nit- picky and slightly off topic, if i get to be a neck- rolling black women, and my Latina counterpart gets to be a loud, spanglish- speaker, then it's only fair the white woman is a dumb blonde– I mean since we are doing caricatures. But I guess this is what happens when the wrong people are in control of advertising….

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok, okay I'll be honest: I laughed. But only because this is so ridiculous! Who is this relatable to?? Of all the black stereotype advertising I've seen, I've yet to hear one black person say "man, this is relatable. I'm glad they finally get us." Wtf? Had I seen this on TV and not in a Curly Nikki context I would've definitely been more annoyed. What annoys me most though is that this ad isn't even the worst of it. If we're gonna be up in arms about this– the black-ccent, the neck roll done by the wrist, and the "black woman finger wagging"– we REALLY need to start saying something about those McDonald's ads, which have nothing to do with black- hair granted, but are just about as offensive as they come. I think once we conquer that….

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