Hurrah for Normalisation of Menstruation in the Media!

It’s a fact of life — if you’ve got a uterus, and you’re of childbearing age, chances are you get a period every month. It’s a natural part of human biology, but when referring to these body processes, words like pad, tampon and period have become dirty. Even among other women, most are reluctant to talk about their periods in everyday conversation.

We’ve all seen those commercials for pads and tampons that use a weird, bright blue liquid to illustrate their absorption capabilities. This is starting to change though, and one pad company is making huge strides where this topic is concerned!

Screenshot from Bodyform advert

Screenshot from Bodyform advert

 

Stigmatizing Menstruation

In many cultures, getting your first period is the sign that you’ve become a woman. Unfortunately, this biological change also reveals the ingrained misogyny that surrounds our periods.

If you bring up the topic in mixed company, men get uncomfortable, and women try to change the subject. Many women get terribly flustered if they drop a tampon out of their bag or their pocket, and would feel mortified if the unthinkable happened and they bled through a pair of pants. No one wants to talk about it because “periods are icky!”

Some of this stigma is because health and sex education is sadly lacking in America. Think Carrie-level ignorance (the protagonist of this book thought she was dying when she got her period for the first time). If your parents are embarrassed to talk about the realities of getting your period there’s not much accurate representation of it in the media, and your health textbook glosses over the details. Is it any wonder women feel ashamed of what happens to their bodies every month?

While we’ve moved beyond this in some pop culture settings — there’s a whole scene in Hulu’s new Marvel show Runaways where one of the main characters talks about getting her first period — it’s still surrounded by a stigma that makes it abnormal to even use red liquid in pad commercials.

 

#BloodNormal

BodyForm is breaking boundaries with their new #BloodNormal campaign. It promotes periods as a healthy, everyday part of life, focusing on things like a man buying pads for his girlfriend, period blood running down a leg in the shower and even silly scenes of people dressed up as pads and tampons having fun at a party.

It also does something no other pad commercial or advertisement has done in the past — showcases a pad’s absorption capabilities with red liquid instead of blue!

This campaign is one step in the right direction to help de-stigmatize something that is totally normal for half the human population. Periods don’t just need to be de-stigmatized, though — they need to be normalized.

Men should be able to buy pads and tampons for their partners without feeling like their masculinity is under siege. Sanitary products shouldn’t be taxed as luxury items. Women should be able to use heating pads at work to manage their cramps without being reported to human resources for making their male coworkers uncomfortable — yes, this happened, and yes, we’re just as furious as you are.  

We’re definitely not there yet, but the #BloodNormal campaign and other initiatives like it are huge steps in the right direction. There is nothing wrong with having a period. Women have known this forever. We’re just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

Screenshot from Bodyform advert

Screenshot from Bodyform advert

 

Article by Kate Harveston, Journalist and Freelance Writer

Blog: Only Slightly Biased

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