Sometimes you look at something in the news and think, “Boy, I just don’t know anymore.” Not necessarily because it’s bad or unacceptable in some way, but just because it’s so… odd.
Social media seems to produce a lot of these moments -- moments when you realize, in the words of Hamlet, that indeed “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
The latest example comes from Analytica, a company which has produced a pelvic training device and associated smartphone app to help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles in order to combat bladder leakage. The device and app, called PeriCoach System, encourages women to adhere to a daily schedule of Kegel strengthening exercises, and works with the smartphone to beam results and allow physician feedback via mobile devices.
To promote the PeriCoach System, Analytica has launched a social media campaign called #kegelface that -- you guessed it -- invites women to share selfies showing their facial expressions while doing their Kegel exercises. Women who post a photo to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag will receive a discount code for the purchase of a PeriCoach System device (they also have to get a prescription from a physician; Analytic provides a downloadable form).
The campaign includes a video showing a selection of photos from women showing their faces while performing Kegel exercises. If I had to locate the general tenor of these expressions on a multivariable spectrum, it lies somewhere between mild annoyance and consternation on the emotional axis, bemusement and concentration on the cognitive axis, and unwanted tickling and the sound of an unseen mosquito on the sensational axis. But that’s just me.
Of course, I am all in favor of people taking control of their health and well-being, and I am especially aware that women’s and men’s health issues, as they are so delicately termed, have long been clouded by irrational cultural attitudes leading to unnecessary shame or embarrassment. Thus social media campaigns like #kegelface and #movember, which deliberately aim to break these taboos, are needed and welcome. But let’s please skip #prostateexamface.