One of the biggest talking points in the news last week was the Tampax tampon TV ad that was banned and taken off-air in Ireland. An ad about tampons. An ad about periods. A normal and natural part of every woman’s monthly cycle – nearly 51% of the Irish population. So what’s the big deal?
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) advised that the advertisement by Tampax should not run again in the same format after they received 84 complaints. Those who complained suggested that the ad was being “provocative” and “suggestive”.
While the ASAI have said the ad “provided factual information in a manner that was neither explicit nor graphic”, they have still chosen to remove the ad which has caused “widespread offence”.
The decision to remove the ad has faced backlash from many females, while others agree it was the right thing to do. Further revelations have since shown that out of the 84 complaints, 80% were from women.
Newstalk’s Ciara Kelly’s comments on the ad have gone viral, as women in Ireland continue to reshare the video and echo her views. We would be inclined to agree.
Let’s get to it. 50% of the world have experienced or will experience having their period at some point. It’s not a big secret. A period or menstruation is a natural process that girls and women from typically 11/12 years old (and sometimes younger) have to manage and learn to deal with. This is completely natural. This is completely normal. Yet here we are, hiding the facts to ensure we don’t make people “uncomfortable”.
Well what about the comfort of those going through it? The comfort of having a tampon in your vagina? I mean, from a female perspective, we have all experienced the discomfort if it’s incorrectly inserted. If we continue to shy away from these topics and conversations we will never progress.
Here is Tampax, releasing a widespread message on how to correctly insert a tampon into one’s vagina. Probably one of the more informative ads out there on this topic. Yes, they did so in a light-hearted discussion which can be perceived to be slightly crude but if anything this is more conducive to eradicating the taboo around periods. Why can’t we casually chat about periods? Especially when the ad is correctly informing those who have had misunderstandings of the correct way to use tampons.
Girls and women get their periods once a month, for several days, every month, FOR YEARS. Tampons are a basic feminine hygiene product that is available in almost every supermarket. Tampax are educating girls and women, ensuring they know how to correctly use the product.
Yet this offended people. Merely 30 seconds of presentation and information teaching people how to correctly use tampons. How else would you communicate an IMPORTANT message on television about the correct procedure for using a tampon?
For years, we have tiptoed around this subject. It doesn’t make any sense. We are creating an environment where girls and women are ashamed of their own bodies. Ashamed to ask questions. Ashamed to ask for help. Why are we encouraging the fear factor of having to discreetly hide tampons in our pockets, in our sleeves or in our bags, as god forbid someone sees that we’re on our period. Yes, if you don’t want to tell someone that’s your own personal right but to create an environment of fear and embarrassment is plain wrong.
This decision to remove the ad compounds this. The message being sent is that we as women should be ashamed of our body. It’s time to stop this fear and embarrassment and create an environment where periods can be openly discussed.
Not to toot our own horn, but at Her Sport, we have started the conversation, openly discussing this topic. Check out Her Sport’s “The Period Panel” series – discussing periods in sport!