If tampon and sanitary pad ads are to be believed, women on their periods are the happiest people on earth. They jump around in white dresses and, strangely, produce a blue liquid instead of blood. After watching countless ads from around the world, I have found five myths that we are going to bust right now.
1. You can have a “happy” period, twirl in white skirts and do extreme sports
Reality: There is nothing happy about the pain many feel when their eggs rapture from their ovaries. Allow us to find comfort in oversized shirts and black sweatpants. Extreme sports? For some the simple act of walking can feel like an extreme sport.
Below is an ad by Whisper, a brand from The Philippines showing girls dancing freely and feeling “comfy” while on their periods.
2. “Lasts up to eight hours” and “so discreet, nobody will ever know”.
Reality: Do not try wearing a pad for eight hours, or your pad will not be the only thing absorbing liquid. You’ll find blood on the inner side of your thighs too. Also, sometimes opening a sealed tampon in an acoustic chamber (the bathroom) is a sure giveaway to everyone that Aunt Flo has come to visit you.
Watch a video of an ad by Always, a South African brand. No more check all the time, it says.
3. Using a tampon is easy, comfortable and mess-free
Reality: Sometimes you miss and do it incorrectly. Applicators can make it mess-free, but when all you have is a tampon and your fingers, you can end up with with a very dry piece of hard cotton taunting your interiors.
Watch a video of an ad by Tampax Pearl, an American brand. According to the ad, Tampax Pearl is, among other things, quiet when you open it.
4. The first day of your period is panic-free
Reality: Girls don’t know when their first period will come. It just does, like a thief in the night, guaranteed to mess your underwear. And there are serious first-day period struggles that ads ignore: like probing your female colleague for an extra tampon or asking your classmate to check your backside if you are stained.
Below is another Tampax ad. Tampax makes sure you can carry on with your normal day-to-day activities like photoshoots, according to the ad.
5. We secrete blue liquid and the censorship of words like “vagina” and “blood”
Reality: Our period is not blue. It’s red and sometimes clinky with clots. Patronising advertisers believe using the colour red makes audiences feel uncomfortable. They also feel the need to censor the use of “vagina” and “blood” as if they are dirty words.
For a more “honest” ad about periods; check out the video below:
Image by Goabaona Mathibe
Follow Abigail on Twitter.