Aussie leak-proof underwear brand, Modibodi, has recently released a new ad aiming to normalize menstruation by featuring the colour red, and Facebook has banned it. Not once, but three times.
On account of what, exactly? Apparently, it’s too ‘sensational’. Facebook’s policy team ran the ad through three reviews and decided it is “violating guidelines regarding shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content.”
Hmmm. Feels a bit 1950s, doesn’t it? But it’s 2020 people! And scenes depicting blood stain on white sheets is still considered ‘disrespectful’? Disrespectful to whom, exactly?
Apparently, it’s disrespectful to the censors at Facebook. They told Modibodi that if they wanted to keep broadcasting the ad, three “offending scenes” must be cut. These scenes showed a patch of bloodstain on a white sheet, a woman wringing out her underwear in the shower, and a rubbish bin engulfed with disposable hygiene items.
In fact, YouTube had also jumped on the ad and banned the ad, though later overturned their decision following a review. The ad is currently running on regional free-to-air and subscription TV.
Modibodi’s CEO and Founder, Kristy Chong isn’t happy. (And neither are we.)
“Our aim for this film was to open people’s minds by taking the stigma out of what is a perfectly natural bodily function for women,” Chong said. “It was not made to be deliberately sensational or provocative, but to show the very real and natural side of periods.
“We’ve used red to represent blood from day one and ‘The New Way to Period’ shows the real side of menstruation and that there are better options available than eco-damaging disposable pads, liners and tampons. It’s the twenty-first century and it’s disappointing Facebook doesn’t want to normalise the conversation around menstruation. We also note that other media platforms have not taken the same direction as Facebook.”
‘The New Way to Period’ is Modibodi’s latest campaign, aiming to overturn the notion of periods being perceived as ‘gross’ or ‘shameful’.
Clearly, our society has a problem with female blood — Modibodi’s previous ads have been attacked as ‘disgusting’ and ‘filthy’, and categorised under ‘unmentionable topics’.
“From the very beginning, I was repeatedly told we’d need super glamorous models to make supposed unmentionable topics (menstruation and incontinence) tolerable to Australian women and the media,” Chong said.
“I refused to believe this was the only way we could have a presence in the market and from day one we’ve sourced customers or everyday women from diverse backgrounds to help model and sell our products.”
Modibodi’s 2019 study found that one in three young girls are afraid of talking about periods. Chong revealed in a statement that last year that Modibodi’s radio ads had to be pulled from the air because some people complained that the topic wasn’t appropriate for mainstream media.
If the natural occurrences of a female body isn’t appropriate for mainstream media, I don’t know what is.