So the internet lost its sh*t over the fact that Bodyform unveiled its #BloodNormal campaign this week, featuring the first-ever UK sanpro ad with- *gasp* – actual blood in it. So I thought I’d wade in and give you my Mooncup’s worth about it.
If you haven’t seen the ad, watch it now (it’s below). But shield your eyes if you are extremely weak of stomach or brain because for approximately a nanosecond you’ll see a tiny bit of watery blood trickling down a girl’s thigh in a shower and you might just need to have a lie down or write a sternly worded tweet about how DISGUSTING and OUTRAGEOUS it is, and about how Bodyform has gone TOO FAR in depicting something that 18.3 million women in the UK are going through every month.
— Harlow Sceptic (@HarlowSceptic) October 19, 2017
FFS people. If 18.3 million women were going through a box of wine every month, the Daily Mail would run a 12 page special on how we’re caught in the grip of a binge-drinking crisis, but when it comes to the debilitating pains, the life-ruining mood swings, the fact that almost half of girls aged 14-21 are ashamed of their periods – not a murmur of outrage from Sarah Vine or Jan Moir on that one.
So, to all the people (a surprising number of whom are female) getting their – presumably spotless – knickers in a twist about it, here’s why you need to make like a menstruating vagina and just go with the Aunt Flow on this one.
(Yes, I will probably be littering this piece with references to periods. Plus actual periods. As in full stops. Every time you see a full stop, say the word period to yourself. Think of it as aversion therapy. By the time you get to the end of this blob blog, even the most bloody-minded of haters might just be able to be in a room with a menstruating woman without retching up their own spinal column).
Let’s take a closer look at the key concerns that seem to have cropped up on Bodyform’s twitter feed….
We all know women have periods, but that doesn’t mean I have to watch it happening
For a start, you don’t ‘see’ it. Not really. It’s not like that Cancer Research advert in which they put a camera up someone’s bum to show you what a polyp looks like when it’s being removed.
But what would it matter if it did? I’d love to know what a vagina looks like on the inside. I’ve always imagined mine as a sort of Wookey Hole, or like the Derek and Clive description of Jayne Mansfield’s arsehole in their ‘Worst Job I’ve Ever Had’ skit (“there were hamburger stands up there… but no fucking hamburgers mind….”). It’d be nice to have a better visual reference to go off.
Why at dinnertime? It put me right off my food that did
I mean, yeah, I can manage a bag of Haribo during graphically violent films like Saw. Or enjoy a TV dinner as flesh-shredded zombies wander through the latest episode of Walking Dead. Hell, I can even tuck into a plate of cheesy, beefy nachos during a brain surgery scene in Casualty. But fuck me if I didn’t bring the contents of my stomach up when I watched someone pour a tiny vial of blood onto a fanny rag.
This is fine but only show during daytime tv and not while I’m eating my dinner. same goes for All feminine hygiene products. Thank you.
— Mike Barrett (@mikebarrett296) October 19, 2017
I say this: maybe before you have a fit of the vapours, you should spare a nanosecond’s thought for what you’re actually eating for dinner times. That red meat you’re chowing down on? Gets all its juicy flavour from a compound called heme – i.e. the blood bit. That fried egg on your spam fritters? Ovulated yolk, aka unfertilised ovum, aka chicken period.
Maybe I should start a change.org petition to ban people eating cooked breakfasts in public because, frankly, thinking about a hen’s time of the month can put me right off triple shot almond milk cortado.
What next? Andrex featuring people wiping their bums? Watching a baby poo in a Pampers advert?
The way I see it (and I studied A-Level biology over 20 years ago, so I’m practically a doctor) bodily excretions can be categorized into two groups: those you’d need to have your mouth surgically attached to someone’s anus to eat, and everything else.
With this logic we will soon be seeing Andrex advert with freshly laid turds . What stupid feminist moron came up with this idea ?
— matski909 (@matski909) October 19, 2017
As a waste product, sh*t is smelly, dangerous and full of bacteria. It’s the reason 40,000 Victorian Londoners died of cholera. There’s a biological imperative why we’d feel revulsion should Charmin ever decide to create scratch and sniff mag adverts.
But menstrual blood? Sterile, jam-packed with nutrients and, just in case you forget, a vital part of the continuation of the human race. Mmm, yum yum.
That red liquid isn’t representative of real blood either. Why doesn’t it show clots and stuff?
Okay, maybe this one has a point. I might make my own advert in which I grate a black pudding over a Tampax. Unless Tracey Emin has got in there first and won the Turner Prize for it.
This is obviously just a cynical marketing ploy by a multinational to make more sales
Well, duh, of course they want to sell product.
Unless you’re using actual period blood, it’s still just fake coloured liquid in yet another fake exploitative advert #TheFrontBottomLine
— Peter Cusack (@kissmeraas) October 18, 2017
But whatever your feelings about sanpro, be that monthly invaluable god-send or unnecessary toxic planet destroyer, the people who make Bodyform are still just folk like us you know. Companies don’t reach a certain size and suddenly every person within its walls turns into a cynical asshole, incapable of striking a balance between material profit and moral progress.
Perhaps Bodyform think they can do it all: start the debate, break down some taboos and get into our knickers all at the same time. What does it matter if their actions are somewhat selfishly motivated, if some good comes of it?
And be assured, despite the negative viewpoints expressed on Twitter, trying to normalise menstruation is A GOOD THING. Because if we can’t teach young girls to talk about the normal stuff that happens to their bodies, all the #metoo hashtags in the world won’t give them the voice to talk about the stuff that really shouldn’t be happening to them.
So stop being a period denier. Start tucking your tampons behind your ear rather than up your sleeve. Tell your young daughters and sons why your toilet looks like the floor of an abattoir. Hell, start wearing a bell around your neck if you’re so inclined before hugging the crap out of your colleagues whilst whispering ‘I am so oozing extraneous womb lining right now’ seductively into their ears.
And any men still in denial about periods, I’d like you to do one thing for me: I want you to think of your favourite film actress…..then think of the film you liked them most in…… then drill down into that scene that they looked particularly fanciable during……and then tell yourself this……there’s a 1 in 5 chance she was menstruating during that.