Amber Rose Positions Periods as a Luxury in This Ad Protesting the ‘Tampon Tax’

Where else would you stick it?

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Fun facts about periods:

They hurt. Your literally feel as if your sex organs are being juiced from the inside.

They are messy. Every woman who’s ever had a period has stained a bedsheet. If she’s lucky, she’s only stained bedsheets, and only bedsheets that belong to her. Over the course of a lifetime, it’s pretty rare to find someone who’s been lucky.

Any visible expression of negative emotion makes people wonder whether you’re on it. So, like the Holy Ghost, periods are pretty much always with you … even when they’re not.

Off birth control, they’re difficult to schedule—a surprise you can count on having every month, usually when it’s least convenient.

They’re expensive.

They’re expensive.

They’re expensive. (Remember: We’re also paid less!)

That’s why Amber Rose keeps her tampons on a diamond chain around her neck.

Brought to you by Period Equity and created pro-bono by J. Walter Thompson New York with The Sweet Shop’s Melanie Bridge, “Periods are not a luxury. Period” is meant to incite as much emotion as awareness. It does it with ludicrous contrast—the better to demonstrate a core basic is not a luxury—and a polarizing figure: Amber Rose, a former stripper and self-proclaimed slut. (More on that later.)

A whopping 36 U.S. states subject women to what’s called a “tampon tax,” which is actually state sales tax. That doesn’t sound like a big deal until you consider two things: State tax can vary, averaging over 6 percent and reaching as high as 10.25 percent in cities like Chicago (once city and county surcharges are included), and the tax excludes items that are considered “necessities,” like food and medicine.

So a tampon tax actually refers to the judgment call that’s been made about what people buy for fun versus what they need. Who decided half the population didn’t need to manage the blood that comes out of their genitals? Probably not women. (In California’s case, it was Governor Jerry Brown.)

The strategic decision to work with Amber Rose will also resonate for the women, young and old, who care about who she is. The American model and actress broke the mainstream when she started dating Kanye West in 2009. People speculated about her stripper past, her gold-digging predilections or—wait for it!—whether she’s a lesbian.

None of this should surprise anyone, except that Rose has made good with the spotlight she’s been given. She’s addressed the rumors head-on, talking about sexuality as a spectrum. She defends other women, notably Blac Chyna, another former stripper whose ex-fiancé shared nude photos of her on the internet because, well, why not.

She’s also decided to reclaim the word slut, best illustrated by her participation in SlutWalk—where she most recently dressed as a totally positive Captain Save a Hoe. (Her new boyfriend, 21 Savage, also supported her … by carrying a sign that reads “I’m a hoe, too.”)

In short, there’s no one better to represent the copy that closes this ad, which reads, “Tell the government where to stick this tax.” Because it doesn’t really matter whether or not the tax impacts you; as Period Equity so neatly expresses, a tampon tax is a tax on half the populace for something that is a necessity—not a preference, like keeping a bottle of Nikka in the cupboard behind your desk.

And if you’re not won by the argument, here’s homework. Read it. Research it. Understand it.

Every woman in your life, including me, is pretty sick of explaining why you can’t jury-rig an everyday solution to menstrual flow in the same way you can replace a Band-Aid—especially when you consider that every GOP attempt to repeal Obamacare removes contraceptive services, arguably one of the easiest ways of either controlling menstruation, or—for some, and short of a yearly pregnancy until menopause—ensuring you don’t have it at all.

Seriously, what do you expect us to do—use rags and sit in a red tent?

Client: Period Equity
Founder: Jennifer Weiss-Wolf
Founder: Laura Strausfeld
Agency: J. Walter Thompson New York
Chief Creative Officer: Brent Choi
Executive Creative Director: Sarah Barclay
Creative Director: Yana Hunt
Copywriter: Danielle White
Copywriter: Christopher Phillips
Head of Production: Anthony Nelson
Agency Producer: Gillian Blain
Global President: Claire Capeci
Account Manager: Adaire Carey
Global Planning Director: Marina Pen
Project Manager: Drazen Kupres
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Melanie Bridge
Executive Producer: Laura Thoel
Bidding Producer: Carolyn Pedrossian
Line Producer: Michelle Stark
Director of Photography: Danny Ruhlmann
Production Designer: Erin Dallesandro
Still Photographer: Howard Wise
Editorial: Beast
Editor: Lindsey Nadolski
Executive Producer: Melissa Lubin
Color Grading: Company 3
Senior Colorist: Sofie Borup
Music: Amber Music
Producer/Music Supervisor: Mike Perri
EP/Music Creative Director: Michelle Curran
Audio Mix: Heard City
Engineer: Jodi Levine
Voice Talent: Lindsey Kaufman

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.