'Realistic' period advert has everybody talking (and watching)

A bold campaign has been hailed for tackling menstruation taboos, endometriosis, infertility and miscarriage


A bold campaign has been hailed for tackling menstruation taboos, endometriosis, infertility and miscarriage

Having a vagina, uterus, womb or period is nothing new – yet society still doesn’t champion women to open up about their body parts, or experiences with them, and this has a hugely negative consequence on mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Hoping to change the conversation around these 'taboo subjects' is the bold #wombstories campaign. Launched to give a voice to women's health, it's the brainchild of feminine Care brand Bodyform, Golden Globe winning director, writer and producer, Nisha Ganatra, and six female animators, who have come together to imagine the life of women’s wombs in the most open and real way.

Depicting emotional accounts of endometriosis, miscarriage, infertility, IVF, menopause, having a period and even the simple decision to not want to have children, the video confronts a damaging etiquette that women live with every day, one which dictates what they should – and shouldn’t – feel about their bodies.

It also pushes back against the assumption that there is one accepted biological timeline that women live by: start your period in adolescence, repeat with 'a bit' of pain, want a baby, get pregnant, have a baby have more periods, stop periods, fade into the menopausal background.

The reality is, of course, much more complex, but society doesn’t encourage women to talk openly about the highs and lows of their intimate health, especially in times of global uncertainty.

The campaign comes on the back of research that found that 62 per cent of those surveyed don't think women's anatomy and health issues are talked about openly - and this campaign has been created to tackle this issue head on.

Even better, women across the UK are being encouraged to share their #wombstories with Bodyform, which is owed by leading global hygiene and health company Essity, to help continue to challenge the idea that femininity is linked to fertility.

Unsurprisingly, the brand has been praised for 'breaking taboos' about women's experiences in its 'refreshing and emotional' advert.

One Twitter user wrote, 'That was shockingly good, realistic, smart, grown up, honest, modern and really quite moving. Also liked the inclusivity.. The whole range of women.'

Another added, 'The female body is amazing and not a dirty secret. It is so important that our voices and experiences are heard. Thank you'.

'This is incredible! So refreshing to see periods being presented as an issue that doesn’t have to be overcome or hidden away. This presents women’s bodily functions in a relatable way- which is the way forward to start breaking those taboos,' wrote another.

That said, it's probably important to remember that Bodyform is still a brand trying to sell sanitary towels, and is doing so by using women's incredibly sensitive experiences. But we can all agree the advert is absolutely accurate and is rightly being hailed for tackling menstruation taboos.

Tanja Grubner, FemCare Global Marketing & Communications Director at Essity, says, 'Although this campaign was conceived long before the pandemic changed everything, the issues women face didn’t just get put on hold or go away because of what was going on around us.

In many instances, Covid-19 has increased the isolation women feel and the complexities they experience. The pandemic has seen women forced to give birth alone, have their fertility treatments and endometriosis surgeries delayed and postponed. Now more than ever is a time to ensure women speak up about their bodies and experiences.'

We couldn't agree more.

For more information, see bodyform.co.uk/wombstories

Olivia – who rebranded as Liv a few years ago – is a freelance digital writer at Marie Claire UK. She recently swapped guaranteed sunshine and a tax-free salary in Dubai for London’s constant cloud and overpriced public transport. During her time in the Middle East, Olivia worked for international titles including Cosmopolitan, HELLO! and Grazia. She transitioned from celebrity weekly magazine new! in London, where she worked as the publication’s Fitness & Food editor. Unsurprisingly, she likes fitness and food, and also enjoys hoarding beauty products and recycling.