When you first deal with puberty hitting you, it honestly is nothing like every other ad on television depicts it to be — you’re definitely not as pleased or upbeat about bleeding from your nether regions and you’re definitely not bleeding blue liquid. It’s a red, viscous liquid that you’ll only get accustomed to in a few years (and even then it’ll surprise you) but of course, no napkin advertisement ever prepares you for this truth due to the countless taboos revolve around a woman’s menstruation cycle. The fact that an ambitious girl in an ad is having her period is supposed to be ‘understood’ by the audience with a hint of an awkward, metaphorical pause that she makes instead of talking about it, usually to her mother.
The ad narrative is further propped by using blue fluids instead of red to demonstrate the napkin’s superior absorptive capacity. Marketing gimmicks might succeed, but myths about menstruation prevail. In such a scenario, one brand of sanitary napkins has pioneered change. According to a BBC report, ‘Bodyform has become the first brand in the UK to feature sanitary pads stained with red liquid, rather than blue, in its adverts.’ This is how the advert proceeds: A real napkin is shown absorbing a red fluid, unlike the CGI napkins usually shown in ads. While a man is shown buying a napkin pack, blood runs down a woman’s thigh while she’s in the shower. With no women wearing whites and sleeping comfortably at night, the ad is as real as it can get about periods.
A research by Bodyform revealed that 74% of people – both men and women – ‘want to see more realistic representation of periods in advertisements.’ The BBC also reported that the brand’s parent company Essity ‘wanted to confront taboos surrounding periods.’ Through this, here’s hoping they will be the first of many more honest menstruation ads to come.
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