I never expected a sanitary towel ad to create a lump in my throat. But the new Bodyform advert, part of its “Red.Fit” campaign, has definitely broken the mold. No women skipping merrily along the beach, no achingly tight trousers, no bizarre blue liquid in a test tube. Just a bunch of badass females getting sweaty, muddy and very, very bloody doing a range of tough sports.
“No blood should hold us back” flashes up on the screen, and it makes me want to punch the air. (Maybe I did. I’m not telling.) In the context of the Red.Fit campaign, which aims to educate women on the effect of the menstrual cycle on their exercise and health, this refers to pushing our bodies to their limits even on those days of the month when we’d rather just curl up with our hot water bottle and a bucketload of chocolate under the duvet. But it can also be applied to life in general. We shouldn’t be embarrassed about our periods. We should talk about them, celebrate them and indulge in some mighty back-patting, because the monthly bleed that big sanitary product companies have until now chosen to replace with that ridiculous blue liquid is part of the process of keeping the human race alive.
Bodyform’s 90-second clip comes with the tagline, “Women bleed in sport all the time, but it doesn’t hold them back. Why should periods be any different?” The women in the ad are shown bleeding: a boxer with a bleeding lip, a runner with a trickle of blood running down her shin and a ballerina who unwraps bandages from her feet to reveal toes caked in blood.
Judging from the response on social media, I wasn’t the only one wanting to high-five my computer screen.
At last a realistic advert that doesn't shy away, condescend or use blue dye ! Well done 😊
— Tracy Excell (@TracyEx) June 5, 2016
absolutely incredible! Who'd imagine I'd get goosebumps? Also, makes me feel damn fucking proud to be a woman
— Jess&TheBee 🐝💭 (@JessAndTheBee) June 6, 2016
So brilliant! Yes we bleed! We need to break the myths and taboos. 70% of women still have no access to sanitary products.
— Mary Mc (@MaryMcLayne) June 6, 2016
Read more about Bodyform’s Red.Fit campaign here.