No strings attached: Tampons make you a superhero!

Serena Williams' Tampax commercial is the latest in a hilarious line of feminine hygiene-as-female empowerment ads

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published September 29, 2009 7:30PM (EDT)

Serena Williams' courtside meltdown at the US Open earlier this month may have brought her a smidge of negative attention, but she is still one of the most successful and admired women in the world today. How does she do it?

Tampons. The secret is out, world. (Great! Now everybody will want them.)

A story in today's New York Times discusses a new series of print ads, which will debut this month, featuring the star athlete in her teeny-weeny tennis whites, slamming a ball of fury at a cringing Mother Nature, who proffers a special gift in a red box. (Hint: It’s not a Wilson racquet.) You know why? Because “Serena Williams isn’t about to let Mother Nature’s monthly gift ruin her game.” In the video version, the diminutive Mother Nature notes that Williams “has been blessed with so many gifts. And today I’m going to bless her with mine.” Uh-oh. Watch your back, would-be foot-foul calling judges! Serena’s got her period! 

Williams then proceeds to trounce “Aunt Flo,” in a spot that isn’t afraid to boldly use the phrase “bad blood.”

The new Tampax ads, with their combative “outsmart Mother Nature” message, are just the latest in a long and noble line of feminine protection-as-empowerment advertising. In a message as old as cotton itself, tampon makers want you to know that your monthlies won’t keep you from sunbathing, singing around the campfire, sports, or saving yourself for Mr. Right.

But you know what you can do best of all with tampons? Wear white. That whole "not after Labor Day" rule can kiss your water-retaining ass. You can paddle all the way home in your little alabaster bathing suit. (Or wriggle into a snowy bikini to “find it within.”)

And as Serena knows, nothing says you won’t be walking home with your LaCoste sweater around your waist like that tennis outfit:

Sure, menstruation is the "hassle" you "don't talk about," but with the right tampon, someday you too might have Liev Schreiber's baby:

Or ride the mechanical bull and go dancing and kickboxing and do a perfect mat routine:

Or at least ace cheerleading tryouts:

Because tampons make you brave.

Remember ladies, tampons are so safe and comfortable, you just might forget you're jumping rope with your phone or oversharing with your mom:

So if you've ever wondered how the modern woman is able to hold down a job, get an education, raise a family, and still have time to be a sexually alluring, white-wearing bombshell, it's not magic. It's just that with those little cotton wicks in our yonis, we seem to be do more.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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