#BloodNormal: A step forward in ending the period taboo
If you haven’t seen Bodyform’s new #BloodNormal campaign yet, it is a must watch. For the first time ever, a sanitary towel company has chosen to use ‘real’ blood in its advert over the mysterious blue liquid usually chosen to represent menstrual fluids. The video starts with a pipette of red ‘period blood’ being squeezed onto a sanitary towel, followed by a number of other clips including a man buying a packet of pads and blood running down a woman’s leg as she stands in the shower.
However, whilst you may think the only words that could possibly describe such a campaign could be ‘empowering’, ‘inspirational’ and ‘soooo progressive’, a simple Twitter search for #BloodNormal reveals otherwise. Comments were still for the most part positive, but I was shocked to see that not everyone had reacted in the same way as me (immediately sharing the link with my Mum accompanied by the word “Success!”).
Many viewers disagreed with the advert on the terms of it being ‘unnecessary’ and ‘disgusting’ to show this blood-like liquid on national television, with one woman saying “there’s a reason it was blue” and arguing that this “doesn’t make periods seem shameful”. This sounded a lot like the words of someone who isn’t ashamed of their periods, which is great for her, but doesn’t help the thousands of other women who are.
One Twitter user even posed the question “Are we going to show poo soon too?”. Last time I checked, human faeces wasn’t a taboo that needed addressing in order for females all around the world to feel less embarrassed about it. And it seems funny to hear people labelling the advert as “grim” when the use of blue liquid over ‘real’ blood is exactly what has worsened this idea of disgust surrounding periods, making many of us feel as though they are dirty and something to be ashamed of.
I also couldn’t help but find something super empowering about the women featured in the video. Whether they were lounging on lilos, showering, or standing in big pants, they all had a distinctly confident feel about them. This added to the advert’s important message that we should not only be unashamed of periods but should be able to feel confident when we’re on them. Granted, some of us physically don’t feel our best around that time of the month, but no way should this be as a result of silly stigmas.
Not only this, but we can’t ignore the clip showing a man picking up pads for a woman in his life, as periods are very much something that men shouldn’t be ashamed of their girlfriends, wives, sisters, or mothers having. There go Bodyform waving goodbye to another taboo!
Overall, in the midst of today’s society, the problem seems to be that many people simply aren’t accepting that we still haven’t tackled taboos surrounding periods. Lots of you may believe that they aren’t something to be celebrated, and you might be right, but they certainly aren’t something to be ashamed of. And if it takes a few people being put off their dinner to give women confidence to accept their own feminine bodily functions, then I can’t see Bodyform’s campaign as anything but positive.
By Sadie Scheuer