Concerns are being raised that girls who are only just reaching puberty are being “exploited” into buying body hair removal products from a major UK manufacturing company.
BeingGirl is a website run by the manufacturers of Tampax and Always sanitary products – Procter & Gamble. The website’s function is to provide advice and information to pubescent girls who are about to start their period. The About You Personal Wellbeing scheme is promoted in thousands of UK schools.
Website is selling hair removal products and sexy underwear
However the website also advertises sexy underwear and sanitary towels that can be worn with thongs and g-strings, as well as body hair removal products that the company manufacturers itself. This has led the Mother’s Union to label the website “clearly a marketing tool” and to demand that girls visiting the website should be informed that they are being sold products and not impartial advice.
Rachel Aston, social policy officer for the Mothers’ Union, expressed doubts as to whether the endorsement of these products was a good idea while girls are at their most vulnerable and easily influenced.
“It’s telling [girls] from the outset that they should be removing hair, so it is reinforcing a particular view of how girls should look”, she said. “It’s not entirely sensitive bombarding girls with the message that when they’ve got their periods they need to be worrying about their legs as well.”
Company defends itself
A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble defended the site’s selling techniques, saying: “BeingGirl is a community website set up for teenage girls to provide advice, support and information throughout this life stage. This is more than just about menstruation – it covers all areas of puberty and development through these formative years, including hair growth and the choices this presents. We are clear on the site that the content is provided by P&G and that we feature our products throughout.
“All the free educational information and materials are provided by P&G, supported by teachers and external category, health and education consultants. This is a programme that is held in very high regard and valued by the schools.”