The XX Factor

If Boys Had Girl Parts

Generally, I try to avoid advertiser-created viral videos like the plague. Created by corporations, they tend to make me feel duped into watching them, whether they’re any good or not. But I found a new series of viral videos by Tampax to be unusually amusing and surprisingly endearing.

At , 16-year-old Zack Johnson wakes up to find his penis has disappeared and been replaced by a vagina. Quelle horror! I’m sure some PhD candidate would have a fine time unpacking the constellation of Freudian issues therein-oh, the anxieties of being a man in the 21st century!-but as entertainment, it’s amusing, even adorable to watch Zack struggle with the mysteries of his new genitalia, find out how boys act through his new eyes as a sort-of-girl, and struggle through the surprise of getting his period for the first time.

Some of the gender issues Zack encounters reminded me of a documentary I once saw on women who were transitioning into men. They inhabited this unique double-consciousness: Am I man? Or a woman? Or something in between? Sometimes, puberty is like that, too.

Sure, I guess this makes me one more sucker for Tampax’s latest stealth campaign , but watching a teen boy do the oh-my-god-I-got-my-period-in-class shuffle made me laugh.