‘No Blood Should Hold Us Back’ – Bodyform’s Message to Women and Society

Image Credits : Adbreakanthems

Rugby players, Boxers, a Ballerina, a Mountain Biker, a Surfer, a Runner, all fiercely involved in their game, against a brief pause in the adrenaline- injected background score, fall exhausted, bleeding. The music explodes forth again, to show them picking themselves up, with blood streaming down gashes, plastered toes, broken nose and jaw, ignoring the blatant red and pain, pushing past their limits and refusing to back down.

The content of the 2016 advertisement by Bodyform, a UK-based manufacturer of feminine hygiene products, shattered every code to which Sanitary Napkin makers have rigidly and regressively adhered for years, for the sake of ‘propriety’, as though the truth about the menstrual cycle of women poses a threat to the very moral fibre of society. Replacing the quintessential ‘blue dye’ with the actual stuff of scarlet, the company made a commendable effort to bridge the chasm of silence and mystery that for long detached the larger public from the truths about femininity. Unlike most mellow and flowery Sanitary Napkin ads which have happy women embracing the sunshine in white pants, and moving with elegant strides, allegedly enabled by the quality of the product of the respective company, thus demeaning a woman’s own unaided ability to be out there on her ‘Moon Days’, the women in Bodyform’s breakthrough venture are renegades fired up to achieve their goals, to win and succeed, allowing nothing to withhold them, not even their periods, as the tagline emphasizes. The company has captured another angle of women and their periods, the one that emphasizes on all those uncontainable women out there, for whom blood loss is an insignificance that cannot hold back their toil towards excellence.

This ad was launched as part of the company’s Red.fit initiative, which aims to fund research and design regimes to educate and encourage women to stay fit during menstruation. Recognizing the dearth of research conducted in the domain of female physiology, particularly about menstruation and the state of the body during the cycle, the company’s pet project, helmed by able doctors and nutritionists, aims to craft custom regimes to guide women with their mental and physical health during their periods.

A closely guarded secret for years, it’s high time we spoke about periods with unabashedness, refusing to fear the judgement of a conservative lot, who prefer to keep it under wraps, perpetuating the ignorance of men who grow up thinking that knowledge about menstruation is unnecessary and embarrassing, and instead make do with myths that limit and underestimate a woman’s physical abilities.

Bodyform’s ad invites us to revisit the misconceptions we’ve built around periods, ingraining and cultivating the idea of minimal movement in the minds of adolescent girls, discouraging them from playing sport, working and in extreme cases, even leaving the house during their cycle, all the while condemning menstrual blood as a shameful and abominable reality. By doing this, we limit a woman’s potential and confine her to a stagnant comfort zone, sowing within her the idea that she is not strong enough to withstand what lies out there in a predominantly patriarchal world. The stereotypical nonsense of equating women with physical weakness walled us off from recognizing that period blood was never a hindrance in the first place. The appearance of the medieval Knight in the video bears testimony to how women have historically found ways to break through the physical and mental limits cemented for them. Neither menstrual blood, nor the erroneous perceptions of it, should hold us back as women and as a progressive race.

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Credits : BodyformChannel