D’Arcy Carden got her first period in junior high school while wearing white jeans. Thankfully, the “The Good Place” star doesn’t have the cliché horror story to go along with it — “that would be like the joke that would be written into the movie about puberty or whatever,” she says — but rather a heartwarming story of celebration.
“Three of my best girlfriends… it’s almost like they threw a ‘period surprise party’ in a bathroom stall the next day where they got me like flowers and balloons,” she continues. “It was so sweet and embarrassing. I think I was the first one of us to get my period, so they really, like, sort of celebrated and made fun of me at the same time, and it was very sweet looking back on it.”
Now, she’s sharing her period-positive attitude with the world. The actress has partnered with Playtex for their new Simply Gentle Glide line and stars in an unabashedly hilarious spoof that calls out how excessive the Femcare industry has become.
In the parody-style ad for a fake tampon called “Xtra,” the comedian pokes fun at the idea that tampons need things like “Chilean Alpaca fleece,” “activated charcoal,” and “probiotics” to make them more efficacious, or that they should come in a box that doubles as a vagina steamer. The “Xtra” leak stoppers also (jokingly) sync to your Fitbit, have a “Find my Friends” function, and come with an auto-eject button.
Photo: c/o Playtex
If you’re rolling your eyes right now, don’t worry — Carden is, too.
“There’s a lot of things in my life that are extra, you know when it comes to beauty, or maybe working out, or what I put in my smoothie or whatever, but when it comes to feminine care or tampons, I just want something safe, and gentle, and reliable,” says Carden. “And to me, this is that product. And the fact that we’re doing this video, that’s like funny and unapologetic, is just icing on the cake.”
“Period tech” has become more and more popular over the last few years (raise your hand if you, too, have a Facebook filled with ads for natural tampons), but how necessary is it to have a tampon with all kinds of bells and whistles?
“There is zero science which shows that there is any harm in using a standard tampon, and there is zero science that shows that there is any benefit in wearing a so-called ‘natural’ tampon,” Lauren Streicher, MD, the Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told Glam. “This is marketing. There’s absolutely no reason for women to spend the extra money.”
Carden echoes this sentiment, and at times, feels like the femcare industry is trying to make us think we need to do all of this extra stuff to deal with our periods. “It almost feels like they’re praying on our insecurities and trying to make us feel like we need this or that,” says Carden. “But I know what I need, and it’s what I’ve always needed from a tampon. My period is the same — it’s the same every month and what I need is the same. I need something that will protect from leaks, something that is reliable, something that is gentle, something that I don’t have to think about.”
Sure, there is some technology out there that makes managing our periods slightly easier — like Livia, a device that helps manage cramps, and Period Calendar, which helps track your period — but when it comes to preventing period stains, a regular tampon is just as reliable as ever.