Women: Ask for a raise, you douche!

Summer's Eve and Women's Day Magazine have advice for American women who may not be earning as much as their male colleagues, and need a bit of confidence-boosting before asking for a raise.

Tip number one? Wash out your ladyparts. Then, go eat something.

No, this isn't a parody. [Daily Kos]


  1. According to #5, she’s working on XXX projects, so I suppose proper hygiene isn’t such a bad idea.

    1. I once built an inbound referral tracking system for a firm I worked for, and we used codes that were like blahXXXfoo. I can’t remember why. No sexual intent whatsoever.

      After quite a while of using xxx, yyy, and zzz codes, we got a complaint from a poor bastard who was a customer of the business. He’d been reprimanded for visiting an “XXX” site because a ?code_link=FOOxxxBAR was captured in the snooping on his habits.


      At least he wasn’t washing his ladyparts.

  2. This ad would have made more sense if they just came out and said what they were insinuating: want a raise? Screw your boss– but before you do that, apply, rinse, repeat!

  3. Why, of course!

    Me, I always scrub down my scrotum with Lava for Men With Baking Soda soap and anoint it with special Metholated Bag Balm before interviews and performance reviews.

  4. #7: Don’t let the conversation stray or get personal. That is, beyond the customary smelling-of-the-vagina.

      1. Outstanding, Cowicide. After all these years (not to mention his demise) I can still hear that in Eazy-E’s voice.

        So, here’s some real advice, from someone who is a boss:

        Unless your boss is actually the one who writes the check to you, he’s not that emotionally invested in it. He might present a token argument for the sake of the company, but if you actually are a good worker, your boss probably knows, and just isn’t under any pressure to fix your salary. Neither is he usually under pressure not to.

        Another observation: it’s not just 80-90% of women who don’t ask for raises. In ~40 man-years of management (10 employees x 4 years), I’ve never been asked for one by one of my male employees, other than perhaps one instance of minor grumbling that the annual raise we gave wasn’t sufficient.

  5. Statistics are that about 80-90 percent of women take whatever is offered them and don’t negotiate their salary when accepting a new job. They also don’t ask for raises, instead they hope all their hard work will be noticed. Kinda like “Make a statement without saying a word” in the fashion world.

    Asking for money is one of the most challenging tasks for women – even women who know they’re very good at what they do. It harkens back to the days when women were seen as “un-feminine” for having anything to do with money and asking.

    It’s actually one of the topics I address in my book, “Testosterone-Free Marketing”

    Denise Michaels

    1. Nice plug, Denise #9. In the America that I live in, you take any job that you can get. Gender is irrelevant.

      Oh, and best title in a while.

      As for Mad Men, it is set in the ’60s. I’m guessing that this ad is not.

      1. In the America that I live in, you take any job that you can get. Gender is irrelevant.

        Pleasantville? Candyland? The United Federation of Planets? The rest of us live in the America where women are paid less than their male counterparts and are less likely to be promoted to top management positions.

        1. I believe that you missed my point, which is that no one negotiates their salary anymore. They’re just happy to have a job.

          I am well aware of gender inequality in pay.

          1. I think that depends a lot on your industry and what kind of jobs you do.

            I think perhaps you buy too much into the media-agenda that there’s a life-crushing-recession.

            The recession doesn’t affect everyone in a negative way, neither does it affect everyone.

        2. If you bring less qualifications, experience and education to the table, make less family sacrifices for the sake of careers, and face less on-the-job danger, it only stands to reason you’d get paid less.

          1. Or if you just happen to be female. Because we all know that every woman has less qualifications, experience, makes less family sacrifice, and faces less danger so we can safely assume that when we see a woman in the workplace she deserves to be paid less.

            Or else she wouldn’t be a woman.


  6. “I’ll bet Helen is going to ask the boss for a raise.”

    “Why do you say that?”

    “Because she smells slightly of vinegar and plum blossoms.”

  7. Honestly, she could just go the cheap way and slip a pine tree air freshener into her undergarments to start the day…

  8. #8 “Focus on the things you’ve done to improve the bottom line.”

    If you know what I mean…

  9. My GF occasionally purchases a women’s magazine for some light reading. This practice has declined, since the common trend we notice is that all these magazine articles presume that the reader is emotionally unstable, incredibly shallow and materialistic and that $200 pants and $1000 dollar handbags are normal expenses.

    Basically this advertisement is a warning, don’t expect to be paid what you are worth until you clean out your cho-cho.

  10. Point number 7 above: “Sabrina, your ladyparts smell great today.” “Sir, please let’s not get personal or stray from the topic of conversation.”

  11. I don’t see what’s so strange about this. I am a man, and I wash my genitals whenever I ask for a raise, and on Thanksgiving and Labor day. Of course, I have never asked for a raise.

  12. Summer’s Eve: Because if you don’t smell like a woman, they’ll think you’re man. And then you’ll get that raise.

    1. Re: pauses. I actually thought this was the best piece of advice they actually gave. Seriously, stop talking when you’re done and ready to close the deal. That doesn’t mean nodding or agreeing, just stop talking and wait. While you’re talking, your opponent knows you can be talked out of it.

      This goes during any negotiation. It forces the other party to respond, removing the opportunity to redirect you.

      1. It is very easy to switch into “can’t stop talking” mode and blow the deal. Learn to be comfortable with silence.

        Personally, I have never asked for a raise. Perhaps because all of my employers fell into one of three categories:

        1. Paid me very well with regular, significant raises
        2. Gave annual but stingy raises at a time when my boss was very much being pressured to not give big raises
        3. Laid me off within a year or I quit within a year

      2. Thanks, Cory. I wasn’t taking the ad seriously, since it’s just general advice written by a copywriter who’s got a client-approved strategy from the planners to make a feminine hygiene product relevant to today’s woman by empathizing with well-known female frustrations. Personally, I find it condescending and patronizing. The ad – not your point about negotiations. It does fit the usual ‘woman’s magazine’ ploy: “Five Ways to Know If He Likes Kissing You.” Or, if you like, the women-are-stupid approach to women.

  13. They should point out the extra motivation for raise-seeking when you purchase unnecessary and expensive ‘hygiene’ products.

  14. “5. Bring quotes from higher-ups, such as, ‘Great job on the XXX project! You made me look good!.’

    Passing by the obvious XXX joke…

    What your “higher-up” means is that you did all the work, and they got all the credit.

  15. and if they say no, simply yell “I DOUCHED MY VAG FOR THIS, DAMMIT!” and throw your Summer’s Eve Feminine Cleansing Cloths at them.

  16. Two things that blow my mind:

    1- Some marketing team brainstormed ideas for creating a douche ad geared towards professional, career-oriented women and NOBODY stepped up to point out how completely absurd the whole concept was (not just the incredibly dumb resulting ad, but the idea of mixing a hoo-hah cleanser with professional self-esteem jive).

    2- Why do so many women STILL buy ‘women’s’ magazines? How come they don’t get sick of that type of insulting, condescending tripe? I’m disgusted just standing in the grocery cash lineup, reading the covers!

    Even if, for some bizarre reason, you ENJOY it, you would only ever need to buy a single issue because they’re always the same:

    – An article about weight or weight loss.

    – A list of what men like in bed.

    – A couple of warm, fuzzy articles about self-esteem.

    – Hundreds of ads for makeup, wrinkle creams, cellulite treatments, diet products and, evidently, salary-boosting douches… Because everything they said in the feel-good articles is glib chatter and you *really need* all that stuff to be, and feel, worthy.

    Sorry, I’m just perpetually amazed- and puzzled- at what these publications can get away with; the contempt and hypocrisy they dish out on their own readership.

  17. Employee:”I’ve worked here for 7 years, can I have a raise?
    Boss:”Who are you? Never mind shut the door on your way out will you?”
    Employee:”Yes boss”
    Boss:”Oh, and do you smell that?”
    Employee:”It’s Summers Eve, and cost me a bloody fortune you bastard”

  18. To those who think the ad is dumb: it depends on what you mean by “dumb.” If, by dumb, you mean that it’s shallow, insulting and borderline evil… then, yes. It’s dumb. If you mean that you think it won’t work — that is, do the job that ads are supposed to do and sell the product — then you are wrong. It will work.

    Ads like this have been around since about the time of the Depression. You link any kind of emotional fear to economic fear and they both get stronger. It doesn’t *matter at all* if your target audience will never, ever ask for a raise. That’s not the point. The point is to associate “being a good worker” and “being employed” and “not getting shit-canned” with using the product.

    In the 30’s, there were ads for coffee that said if you didn’t drink it you’d be sleepy looking and get fired. There were ads for non caffeinated beverages that said if you drank coffee you’d be nervous and say weird stuff and not sleep and be off-your-game and get fired. The phrase “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” originated in a Listerine print ad that blatantly stated that women with bad breath were in danger of not getting a husband (which is an economic issue). As I tell my students, Listerine didn’t invent mouthwash… they invented bad breath.

    We have ads for toilet paper that suggest that if you use the wrong brand you could get sick and miss work. Ads for shoe polish, toothpaste and gum that you need to use so that you keep spiffy on the job.

    This ad isn’t surprising at all. And my guess is that it works pretty well.

    And if you don’t like them apples, try some of these:


    Yes. Lysol.

    1. You are correct, and I think that’s partly why this ad (and comparable nonsense) bothers me so much.

      I guess we have Edward Bernays to thank. He regarded the public as irrational and driven by mob mentality and developed public relations/marketing strategies accordingly.

      The sad part is that he was, in many aspects, right :(

  19. Tactic A: This caffeinated beverage will keep you awake.
    Tactic B: Red Bull Gives You WINGS!®

    Tactic A: This product will make your vagina smell like a pine tree.
    Tactic B: Eve feminine wash will give you the confidence for a RAISE!

  20. Tips number 2 through 8 are all very reasonable. #1 is a bit over the top, but hey, it’s an ad!

    Seriously. Am I the only one who doesn’t find this offensive? Should I have thinner skin?

  21. Didn’t read all the comments, but this article is clearly making the suggestion about sex at work.

  22. I’m a dude working in a female dominated profession (I’m a school librarian), and in my district our salary is negotiated for us by the union, so we don’t even have the option of asking for raises, stinky crotch or not.

  23. “Why am I always a bridesmaid,
    Never the blushing bride?
    Ding! Dong! Wedding bells
    Always ring for other gals.
    But one fine day –
    Please let it be soon –
    I shall wake up in the morning
    On my own honeymoon.”
    Why am I always a bridesmaid, 1917 song by Leigh, Collins, and Morris

    It’s not quite the modern saying, but then Vader never said “Luke, I am your father.” Unless you are saying they were sponsored?

  24. I’m a dude who gets regular, annual raises dependent on performance.

    I never have to ask for a raise.

    I still douche myself weekly just in case our Director surprisingly drops in to ask me what I’m working on.

  25. I don’t think this is that bad; it’s just an allusion to the practice of cleansing yourself before battle that dates back thousands of years. People have recognized since at least ancient Greece that if you take extra effort to clean and groom yourself before a battle then you’ll feel better and do better. That’s the same thing this ad is playing on. They’re not telling you to use the product because if you have a smelly vag you won’t get the job, it’s just saying that if you clean yourself well before the interview you’ll have more self confidence and you’ll probably do better. Which is probably accurate.

    It makes sense too because a job interview is probably the closest that most Americans will ever get being in battle. It’s a single defining moment where their lives will significantly change either way depending on how they do. Far from being degrading to women, I think it’s just giving women the same advice that we’ve traditionally given to men in these sorts of situations since classical times. If they took the same ad and swapped out the soap for axe body spray or whatever I doubt people would be complaining.

  26. I’ve never had to make sure my d**k is clean before I’ve asked for a raise. And my boss has never asked to see it before he said ‘no’.

  27. I dunno. This seems like something out of the 1950’s to me.

    Besides who uses chemical douche these days!? Water people. It’s amazing what a little nice fresh water can do for you. Combined with general hygiene and a lack of disease, water should be the most that is needed for cleaning anything inside there. Hell how hard do you have to scrub your eyeballs? At most you flush them with some saline.

    If your vagina smells so bad that you can detect it at conversational distance you don’t need a douche you need a doctor!

    Also, where I work you don’t *ask* for a raise like that. Male or female. That’s just not the environment here, maybe it depends on the industry? You do it a lot more subtly.

    1. I dunno. This seems like something out of the 1950’s to me.

      The 1950s version tells women to douche for the sake of their marriages, not their careers.

  28. I like how the stated reason that women should douche changes to match the cultural climate at any given time:

    1950s – Douche or your husband won’t love you
    2000s – Douche or you won’t be successful in your career
    2050s – Douche or your application for a spot in the colony ship will be denied

  29. OK, as someone who actually works in advertising, I can totally see how this went down. The conversation between the client and the agency doing their creative probably went something like this:

    Agency: “Hey, everybody knows what your product does and why they should use it, so let’s take this opportunity to build your brand a little bit. Let’s bring a series of helpful tips for women because studies show when people skim magazines they mostly pay attention to lists and ignore ads. So, we provide a list of helpful tips and just say, ‘brought you to by Summer’s Eve’. People will feel better about the brand and it will improve your image so you’re not quite such a laughing stock. We won’t be overt with our message, just reminding people that Summer’s Eve is behind you and might give you a little extra confidence to do something you wouldn’t normally do.”

    Client (paraphrasing of course): “No, you morons! That doesn’t make sense. Our brand has gotta be all over this thing. Nobody’s going to know what we’re even involved in it if we don’t tell them they have to use our products to feel confident. Can we put one of our products into the steps?”

    Agency: “Well, isn’t that kind of more obvious than we want to be? I mean, are people really going to believ-”

    Client: “Oh wait, we’ve got these little wipe things that you can throw in your purse. Maybe we could put that in there, too. Can we do that?”

    Agency (walking out of the room): “I want to kill myself…”

    What’s sad is that Summer’s Eve is going to get ripped apart over this and their going to pass the blame directly onto the ad agency. They’ll throw a huge hissy fit over something they told the agency to do and fire them. I’ve seen it happen sooooo many times at places I’ve worked. It’s a shame, but ultimately, it works out pretty well for the agency, because then they don’t have to take orders from a bunch of mental defectives and can do some decent work for clients who actually get it.

    Or, this could have just been my chance to let out some frustration over the mental defective clients I have to deal with on a daily basis at my job…

    1. Hahaha! This is so true. What’s sad is if it didn’t have the injection of douching as a step it might actually work as a subtle ad to build the brand as progressive kinda like the way Dove has carved a reputation for being supportive of women.

    1. By golly, you’re right!

      It’s for wipes and washes. Seems like a really backwards track for advertising those then. How do they expect people to think they’re so different the soap or baby wipes they already use on the rest of their body can’t be used around the vulva.

      Hell I didn’t even realize that was what they were advertising until you pointed it out, I just thought “feminine wash” was another coded word for douche.

  30. Hi I am Angela Bryant, Summer’s Eve Brand Manager. I would like to first of all apologize if this ad in anyway has offended anyone. We are taking immediate next steps to remove the ad from circulation. We want you to know that Fleet Laboratories and the Summer’s Eve brand have the utmost respect for women. While we understand how some may come to an alternative conclusion regarding our recent ad, that was never our intention. Thank you.

  31. Thanks Teller and Cory, good to know we are not alone! There IS a place where women can read sensible, non-patronising copy, written by professional women: Alpha Female at http://www.alphafemaleclub.com

    We did actually cover how to get a raise/ promotion and how to do a job interview, among other topics. And our advice was focused on other more important themes than this article..!

  32. This approach seems completely understandable when you consider the history of the CB Fleet company and their top selling product. Fleet Enemas. At least that wasn’t on the list.

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