Billboards for postpartum cleanser deemed offensive due to 'controversial' word

"There's no reason we should be tiptoeing around this conversation."
by Terri Peters / / Source: TODAY

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The process of delivering a baby can be hard on a woman's body. Just ask Chelsea Hirschhorn, CEO of Fridababy, who gave birth to her third son just under a month ago.

"It's such a transformational stage of life for a woman, and knowledge and preparation can mean confidence, which is extremely powerful in a moment when all else seems unfamiliar," said Hirschhorn. "Peeing will burn and sitting like a normal person will feel like a Herculean accomplishment — there's no reason we should be tiptoeing around this conversation."

But earlier this month, Fridababy was told to do just that.

The MomWasher, a peri-bottle created by Fridababy, is designed to make the post-delivery cleaning process easier for postpartum moms.
The MomWasher, a peri-bottle created by Fridababy, is designed to make the post-delivery cleaning process easier for postpartum moms.Fridababy

The company set out to raise awareness during the month of September about what women's bodies — specifically their vaginas — go through after delivery by releasing a collection of billboards across the U.S. promoting their MomWasher, a uniquely designed peri-bottle created to make the post-delivery clean-up process easier for postpartum moms.

"Trust us," the billboards read. "Your vagina will thank you."

After sending the billboard design to advertisers in cities ranging from Los Angeles to small towns in Montana, Fridababy received multiple rejections of the ad, calling the word "vagina" controversial and offensive.

"We'll take it if they will change the word 'vagina' to 'body' or something similar," responded one company.

"I would suggest not using the word 'vagina' in the copy," said another. "Could they use 'bottoms?'"

Hirschhorn says she was "shocked and saddened" by the responses.

When Fridababy sent their new billboard idea to advertisers in cities from Los Angeles to New York, many rejected the ad due to the use of the word "vagina."
When Fridababy sent their new billboard idea to advertisers in cities from Los Angeles to New York, many rejected the ad due to the use of the word "vagina."Fridababy

"Censorship of profanity is totally understandable, but this is a part of a woman's body that deserves a lot of TLC after childbirth," said Hirschhorn. "If women are expected to be prepared enough to take care of a new life the moment they push a baby out, we should support them in the process of preparing to care for themselves and their vaginas as well."

The billboard was approved to run only in New York City, where more than 20 ads for the MomWasher — which was launched in 2016 and has continued to grow in popularity over each year according to Hirschhorn — were strategically placed outside subway stations near some of New York's busiest hospitals and OBGYN offices.

More than 20 billboards advertising the Fridababy MomWasher were recently put up throughout New York City.
More than 20 billboards advertising the Fridababy MomWasher were recently put up throughout New York City.Fridababy / Fridababy

Hirschhorn says she's thankful for the New York market's willingness to run the advertisements, as the intended result of the campaign was to open an honest dialogue about what women go through after delivery.

"The hospital will give you what looks like a ketchup bottle which requires women to stick their hand in between their legs in the toilet bowl to squeeze the water up, only to have it fall back down on their hand," Hirschhorn explained. "Our peri bottle works upside down to make the post-pee process cleaner and easier. Having just delivered my third boy this week, I truly cannot image navigating the postpartum healing process without it."

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