As someone who is inundated with thousands of advertising images every single day, you would be forgiven for buying into the idea that the female body is simply something to be admired and not, say, a fully functioning vessel of human physiology. Now, supplements brand Garden of Life has decided to remind us of this fact.
Created by ad agency Humanaut, “Poopowerment” takes control and gets real about women’s digestive issues. The brand says that 80% of women experience digestive issues that are enough to disrupt their lives, such as needing to cancel on friends, missing special events, and skipping workouts. And 68% of women have taken steps to improve their gut health this past year, according to a national survey conducted by Garden of Life.
It’s just the latest example of advertising doing some small semblance of penance for perpetuating such impossible ideals over the decades. Garden of Life’s poop talk joins a number of brands like Thinx and Modibodi, plus organizations including Hey Girls and Bloody Good Period, that are talking plainly about menstruation.
Back in 2015, Amy Schumer teased the third season of her hit sketch show with a music video called “Milk Milk Lemonade,” spoofing pop culture’s obsession with booty, to remind everyone it’s also where “poop comes out.” And in 2018, Poo-Pourri dropped a hilariously frank campaign called #GirlsDoPoop, which set out to prove that women have just as many intensely funny, gross, and entertaining poop stories as the guys. The goal was poop equality—and to say that being a beautiful, sexy, smart woman, and shitting yourself on an elevator, don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
As far as we may have come in the intervening years, Garden of Life’s reminder remains startlingly relevant. Even though the new campaign is running on Discovery, Hulu, Amazon Prime, across social media, and online radio, some cable outlets rejected the version of the ad that says the word “poop,” forcing the brand to make an edited version. Which, of course, just reeks like…well, y’know.