Last week, I was in the library in my light grey yoga bottoms. I went to the bathroom, only to find that my pad had visibly leaked. At 21, this had never happened before, and I was mortified. The question is, why? Periods are a totally normal function, I don’t have control over it, and if it were anywhere else there would be no issue. This is the stigma which Bodyform is trying to combat with their new advert.
The advert features blood (you know, that thing that sanitary pads are for), replacing the usual mystical blue liquid used to demonstrate the product. Why has it taken until 2017 to realistically depict periods for a product which is designed for them? It’s undeniable that the stigma around the bodily function is far too prevalent, even now. There exists a pervasive stereotype in western society that menstruation is something ‘dirty’ and ‘gross’ – which it categorically isn’t.
Not only does the advert show simulated blood on a sanitary pad, it also shows someone showering with blood running down their leg. This directly targets the opinion that TV is no place to show menstrual blood, which many people are still incredibly uncomfortable about. However, crime dramas depict a horrific amount of blood in the form of brutal murders (looking at you CSI), and that is considered to be perfectly okay. Periods, however, are something natural. Why should they be deemed inappropriate to be shown on public forums? This advert will hopefully be the first step in the normalisation of periods depicted on mainstream media.
Bodyform also seeks to confront the stigma around men purchasing sanitary products. It shows a man in the aisle buying them without any issues whatsoever. While it is a short clip, there is no awkwardness or judgement – they just treat it like any other product (which it is). Hopefully Bodyform’s advert will be the first of many period positive advertising. Because by normalising all aspects of menstruation, we can create a society of people who can help and support each other. Because periods are horrible enough, without society’s baggage weighing us down.