Whenever I would get sick as a teenager, my mom would come home from the drugstore with supplies: medicine, ginger ale, some kind of cracker-type snack and magazines. Since she read Elle, she would usually get me Elle Girl. I never thought much of it until I turned 18. That’s when she brought out the big guns and bought me my own copy of Elle. Not Elle Girl. Elle.
The message of “you’re a woman, now” was loud and clear as soon as I laid eyes on the cover. I don’t remember who was on the cover or any particular pieces that stood out, but I immediately knew it was different. Gone were the teen stars and taglines for makeover ideas and clear skin for good. I was met with women talking about sex, health, books and fashion (obviously).
But the articles are good – researched, well-written and about fascinating topics – so I continue to subscribe. I was again pleasantly surprised by this year’s February issue. The articles were par for the magazine, but what grabbed my attention was an advertisement.
A woman stands with one arm wrapped around her waist, the other raised high holding a flag with a bullseye in white and pink. She stands against a pink background with white letters stamped in front of her legs – “The next sexual revolution” – with part of the “x” in “sexual” the product itself: the Satisfyer.
Yep, a full page for a vibrator.
The best part is that it obviously belongs in the magazine. Elle has always been a voice for women and encourages us to explore and celebrate sexuality, but most ads for vibrators that I’ve seen elsewhere look cheap. Not sleek and editorial that could be mistaken for a Clarisonic, let alone in the front of the magazine instead of some backpage rectangle next to a phone number encouraging readers to call for a good time.
There’s nothing wrong with the latter – I’m all for backpages and calling for a good time, but this is progress.
This is leading by example, showing women that their pleasure doesn’t have to be a backpage secret from a local mag. I almost want to buy one just to encourage the company to keep advertising this way. This is normalizing women’s sexuality. You can flip through this magazine while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store.
Looking at the big picture, this means we’re becoming more and more comfortable with our own sexuality. Elle, by its name alone, is by and for women. If we’re getting ads for vibrators, that must mean we’re losing timidity over our sexuality.
So, high-five to us. This is healthy.