(This post is written in collaboration with Bodyform UK – P.S it’s harder to write in lipstick on a sanitary towel than you think!)
Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well.
Today, we’re talking periods again. Surfing the crimson wave.
Okay, so I want you to imagine something for me; let’s imagine an advert on TV for butter, and the butter has been coloured black. You’d be confused as anything, because the butter we all use, and know, is yellow.
Say there was an advert for those little red Lindtt chocolate balls that I love more than my own boyfriend, and they were green. Again – confusing. They’re meant to be brown, right?
Now imagine an advert for sanitary towels, or tampons, and when they try to show the absorbency of the product, they use blue liquid to represent the blood…oh wait. They do.
For as long as I’ve had my period (since mid August when I was 12), I’ve never bled blue blood. Red, yes. Brown, yes. Pink towards the end, yes. Sometimes, very nearly even black. However, call me crazy, but the only blue thing that’s ever come out of me has been my tongue after having one of those bubblegum blue cannonball sweets from the corner shop when I was younger. I’ve never bled blue.
Bodyform UK are currently embarking on their #BloodNormal campaign, where they’re doing exactly what it says on the tin; making blood normal. They’ve released an advert for their campaign, which you can have a watch of here. From actually showing blood in an advert (FINALLY – I was beginning to think it was some kind of myth), to blood running down a womans leg in the shower, a man buying a pack of sanitary towels without a care in the world, and someone dressing up as a sanitary towel for a party (serious Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging vibes), they’ve nailed what it actually means to have a period.
I had a bleeding disorder in 2013, where my blood wouldn’t clot, and I had severe bleeding from pretty much every crevice of my body. It made bleeding seem such a scary thing to me, and so after my recovery, the normality and regularity of my monthly bleed was comforting to me. It made me normalise blood again, and not attach it to something frightening anymore.
Why do the media, and brands, shy away from simply showing a splash of red in their adverts? In a TV drama that was showing a scene of a woman in childbirth, would the baby come out looking fresh and clean, simply to please viewers? In a film where someone gets shot, would the director make it clean cut and bloodless? The answer is quite simply no. It seems to be that womens menstrual cycles are the only thing worthy of having blood cut out.
We need to start realistically representing periods, if we want young girls and women to view their periods as they should be; as a normal and natural part of life.
You may have seen on my Twitter, but I leaked in my boyfriends bed a few weeks ago. I’d thought my period was over, it turns out it wasn’t. When I realised what had happened, I instinctively panicked, when I had no need to. He shrugged, told me not to worry, and went downstairs to get some new bed sheets. He knows I bleed every month, and he also knows that blood isn’t blue. Shocker, I know.
61% of women think periods aren’t represented realistically in the media. I mean, come on – of course they’re not.
If you can show us an advert of a woman going paragliding on her period, or dancing around in white jeans during her time of the month, you can show us a bit of blood. It won’t shock us – it’s something that a lot of the people watching these adverts see in their underwear every month, have seen, or will see at some point in their lives.
When I started my period (you all heard about that in the last post, but if you didn’t see that, I have 2 things to say – white shorts, and beach), I was petrified to look in my knickers. I stood in the hotel bathroom, with my mum outside calling through the door telling me it was okay. I was shouting back saying I couldn’t look, I was too afraid.
Upon looking back, was I scared because it was my first period, or was I scared simply because of how periods are presented to us in the media? Would I have been less frightened if we weren’t shown some mysterious blue liquid in the place of blood in sanitary adverts, and were instead, shown what we will actually find in our knickers during that first period, and all the others that follow it? The answer is yes, probably.
Some people may say it’s not necessary to show blood; that everyone knows what happens during a womans time of the month, and everyone knows what the blue liquid in adverts represents. To those people, I say this; Young girls need to stop seeing blue liquid. They need to see red liquid. They need to see red liquid, because if they don’t, they think it’s shameful. The only conclusion anyone could come to, for the reason that they don’t use red liquid, is that bleeding is something to be hidden, and embarrassed about. What message are we giving to our young girls today, if the brands who specifically sell sanitary products and are therefore meant to be unfazed by periods, refuse to represent blood accurately in national TV campaigns? We are telling them that even the people who create products for our periods find blood shameful and vulgar, and that is not the message we should be sending out.
We should be sending the message out, like Bodyform are, that blood is natural, it’s universal, and it’s an essential part of life, and of being a woman.
42% of women have said they believe girls confidence will continue to be at risk if this ludicrous representation of periods continues, where it’s too shameful to even change a Photoshop created swirl of colour on a sanitary towel to red.
We’d be confused if anything else in life was shown in the wrong colour in an advert; so why are we accepting the most normal thing of all being totally misrepresented?
It’s time we stop shying away from things, simply because there are people out there who find them taboo, and unnecessary. If we don’t, then we continue to live in a society, and a world, where we are harming womens confidence, and shaming them every time we see another advert that shows a woman rock climbing on her period, but can’t show a single droplet of blood.
You can join the conversation on Bodyform’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Bodyform.
We all bleed red blood – it’s time we stop pretending.
All my love BGP xx