Chicago, Illinois. This past weekend, conference-goers attending the fifth annual FemmeFair at the Marriott in downtown Chicago expressed outrage over what they received in their “swag” bags at the event’s closing ceremony.
It’s the first time the popular conference has received any harsh criticism. Since 2010, the FemmeFair has drawn myriad experienced professionals, most of them women, all hoping to acquire new skills and get the chance to network with their communities, and every year all leave inspired and happy.
Until now. This year, many left upset and angry. All over swag that was, at the least, inappropriate, and at most, downright offensive.
“I opened my gift bag and was shocked,” said Sandra Merryweather, founder and CEO of interior design firm Make It Merry. “Glow-in-the-dark tampons, menstrual cups, and then the sex-related paraphernalia. I’m no prude, but many felt it crossed a line.”
The sponsor of this year’s FemmeFair was new, a company called Personal FX that specializes in personal care products. Tabitha Vixen, popular sex vlogger and the firm’s top brand ambassador, was responsible for putting together the swag bags.
“I thought they were cute,” said Ms. Vixen, seeming mystified. “Sure, they’re personal hygiene products, but who says they can’t be loud and proud too? Isn’t that what being a woman is all about?”
Everyone received glow-in-the-dark tampons with “stalkery” notes attached that read: “Thinking of you at your most intimate moments.”
Ms. Vixen explained that the glow-in-the-dark feature was not only fun, but also useful, because: “Sometimes, when you’re out clubbing, the bathrooms aren’t very well lit, and if your tampon lights up, you can easily locate your vagina.”
“The menstrual cups are what I’m actually the most proud of,” Ms. Vixen continued. “Aren’t we supposed to be into the environment? I bet the social activists and feminists appreciated it.” Here she winked, and raised her hand for a high five that went unanswered.
The Personal FX menstrual cups provided to this year’s conference-goers featured holographic images of Greek goddesses: Artemis the Virgin for light days, Aphrodite for regular flow, and Hera, the mother goddess, for when your cup overfloweth.
Of everyone, however, the nine male attendees were the most offended.
“I didn’t even know what those cup things were,” said Ken Myers, columnist and lifestyle blogger, who writes about accidental polygamy and intentional divorce for his website Who’s Your Daddy? “I was doing shots of Red Devils with them. I didn’t know why people were laughing. A few took pictures. Some of the pictures are already on Facebook. Where any of my estranged children might see.”
Even though they were not gender-specific, Mr. Myers also took exception to the letter-pressed anal beads that spelled out “FemmeFair 2015.”
Ms. Vixen explained, “They aren’t meant to all be inserted at the same time.”
There is a disclaimer on the box stating this, and a warning that if you do, you may cause irreparable damage to your colon.
Mindy Katsopolis, executive chef at vegan restaurant Kats-up!, says that she didn’t mind any of the sexual paraphernalia per se, but felt that the personal lubricant was made of questionable ingredients. Same with the chewable underwear, which was in poor taste. But also mint.
As of press time, the FemmeFair show-runners have refused to comment.
While Ms. Vixen finished boxing up the rejected freebies, she promised that Personal FX would make men feel more welcome in 2016. She’s already planning for future swag to include nose-hair trimmers, cock rings, and maybe some Cialis.