If your in the UK especially, you will have seen the new adverts that’s being displayed concerning Bodyform and selling their product – sanitary pads.
Remembering most, if not all female hygiene adverts, illustrated menstruated blood as blue, and had no real relation to the reality that is a monthly period. Yet Bodyform have realised, miraculously, that girls don’t bleed blue, and they have purposely used red to symbolise the hypocrisy of media – that the ‘real’ isn’t shown. Another thing that they have focused on, is that periods aren’t a taboo subject, nor should they ever have been made one – thus it is clear that they dismiss this, and value a voice against this.
There are a lot of components that I love about this, primarily the fact that they’re promoting the notion of periods as a normal thing, something women just shouldn’t be embarrassed about or scared to talk about. Going to an all-girls school all my life, I never had that fear of passing a pad to my friend outright in the middle of class if she started, nor did I have the worry that me complaining about my immense period pain and begging for a paracetamol would annoy or gross out the boys. These are just some of the instances that my friends, who went to mixed schools had to deal with; boys would purposefully and obviously make sure everyone knew they were uncomfortable with girls who talked about their period.
This, to me, is an absurd thing – as luckily, I always felt comfortable to talk about it in this environment that I could. There weren’t times that I felt ridiculed for simply experiencing a natural process. It is this backward thinking that ingrains into different forms of mysiogeny in the future, as women are then subject to reducing their own worth.
These horrid ‘stereotypes’ and reality for many girls is something Bodyform wanted to establish and dismiss through their effective adverts. There is a scene where a young man has obviously gone to buy pads for his female friend/partner/sister/mum etc and has no qualms, it’s a situation with no unease. Note that I listed all his possible female friend/relatives, this is symbolic that no matter what female relation, it isn’t ‘deep’ as uk slang permits – but its simply normality.
I think the lesson here is the notion to object the deeply ingrained mysiogeny that is unbeknown to many throughout society; a period is a natural thing that happens to almost every woman – period (note the pun).
Looking back in time, there was a time where when a woman started her period, they were no longer ‘innocent’, they had now been tainted by puberty – this utterly ridiculous notion was unfortunately fervently instilled in most victorian (and periods before) societies to the point where it was common practice to malnourish daughters when in their early stages of puberty, so the menstruation starting process – was delayed. This caused many harmful effects, both physically and mentally – for young girls, not yet even educated women, were told that as soon as they started to ‘bleed’ (which was the common, derogatory lingo) they weren’t ‘worth’ what they previously were.
Going back to Bodyform’s amazingly targeted advert, they show a different (yet blatantly obvious) side to periods – as something that isn’t worth hiding.