Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs
Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs

Megan Burns

Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge
Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge

Holly O'Neill

Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween
Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween

Lauren Heskin

This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million
This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million

Megan Burns

Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal stranger to my son’
Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal...

Amanda Cassidy

Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for
Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for

Christina McLoughlin

Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style
Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style

Amanda Cassidy

These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now
These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now

Jennifer McShane

Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?
Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?

Esther O'Moore Donohoe

Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back
Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back

Holly O'Neill

Image / Editorial

Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV


by Amanda Cassidy
19th Sep 2019
Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV

Why is there a stigma attached to ‘being on your period?’ Is it simply an issue of privacy, or is the broadcasting of any bodily fluids a step too far for some? 


Would we buy Pampers if they advertised nappies with a great dirty poo smeared across their pristine white softness? Is showing period blood any different?

While we are all clamouring to focus on the feminist aspect of bleeding, maybe we’ve forgotten that not everything needs to be politicised.

“Periods are normal. Showing them should be too.”

Having your period might be an empowering signal that represents femininity but when it comes to advertising, any ‘realness’ with products are often filtered out.

Related: The shame around periods has to end

Vacuum cleaners remove inoffensive looking granules off the carpet, rather than the reality of nail clippings or bits of mouldy rice. They pour water on babies nappies rather than actual urine. Families eat roast dinners around the table happily rather than bicker across the pizza boxes.

Filter

We live in a world where in order to sell things, a myth has to exist. And perhaps periods are no different.

In Australia this week, an TV advertisement for Libra sanitary pads drew hundreds of complaints. The ad itself showed a woman’s legs in the shower with blood running down them. Another showed a woman in stained underwear and a teenage girl holding a pad. The tagline asked ‘Why is it considered unacceptable to show period blood?’ and ‘Periods are normal. Showing them should be too.’

And it is right.

Why are we hiding the fact that women gush clumpy, clotty, sticky warm blood every month? We call it a curse, we roll our eyes, we reach for the hot water bottle, we dread getting it on holidays. Why should it be a celebration of our gender? It is a major inconvenience rather than a badge of honour.

In the case of the Libra complains, the advertising watchdog found in the advertisement’s favour stating that ‘The panel considered that the depiction of blood in the context of an advertisement for feminine hygiene products is not against prevailing community standards on health”.

“Period blood isn’t exactly a beautiful thing”

Bad taste?

Complaints included those who felt it was in bad taste or embarrassing for women when it was such a private matter. Other’s felt it was inappropriate for children to be exposed to the reality of blood running down a women’s leg in the shower.

In an ideal world without any nuance or grey areas, the depiction of period blood shouldn’t make us wince or be offended or embarrassed. And however much we should embrace what makes us different, human, female…period blood isn’t exactly a beautiful thing.

There is a difference between telling us what shouldn’t offend us, and the reality that we are not going to be waving around our dirty pads in pride. Maybe this prudishness is conditioned, or maybe some things should just remain private.

When it comes to advertising, we can’t expect to see the ‘wards and all’ of daily life.

Taboo

And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe we should be fighting for unfiltered versions of the products we are being sold; Celebrities who have to use the cheap hair dye they are glossily tossing in our faces, crappy plastic toys that let us know they will most likely break after three days, wine advertisers who portray the drunken negatives that emerge from the sophisticated Merlot posing in a glass. In vino veritas.

I like the world where ads show blood running down your legs. It is relatable, honest and real. Are we ready for everything else that come with such an unfiltered landscape? Periods should not be taboo, but neither is it something I celebrate every month. Does that make me a bad feminist?

Image via Unsplash.com

Read more: Ireland’s period poverty problem

Read more: The sight of blood in your pants can be terrifying

Also Read

Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

Menstruation shame: This is why we are all so afraid of seeing period blood on TV
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington