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07th Jul 2020

Womb stories: Bodyform’s latest ad is a triumph for women’s health portrayal

Jade Hayden

It’s not an ad, it’s a piece of art.

Bodyform has released an ad that does more for women’s health than the US government has done in the past 20 years.

Just kidding, there are great progresses being made in countries across the globe when it comes to womb health and everything that comes with it – and yet for some reason, “women’s issues” are still bypassed by many as just that: issues for women.

Periods, pain, and pregnancy – each of them something most women will be confronted with in their lives, in one way or another. And each of them something that can somehow become taboo.

Don’t want kids? You’ll change your mind. Enjoy sex too much? You’re a slut. Experiencing intense pain? You’ll get over it.

Enter Bodyform’s latest ad, a film part of their new #wombstories campaign, urging people to share their stories of womanhood and listen to others along the way – warts and all.

Golden Globe winning director, writer and producer Nisha Ganatra, as well as six female animators, teamed up with feminine Care brand Essity to create the advert.

The result was a three minute long video that says more than the vast majority of women’s health related ads before it have ever said. Combined.

“We tell girls a simple story,” reads the campaign description. “Get your period around twelve. Deal with some pain. Have some babies. Then more periods. And then around fifty your body is meant to politely retire.

“But it’s never that simple. The unseen, unspoken, unknown stories of our periods, vulvas and wombs – our wombstories – are so much more complex and profound.

“They are real stories of love and hate, of pleasure and pain and pain so severe it’s a disease with a name, endometriosis, it’s stories of longing and trying for babies. And of never wanting children. Ever.

“The joy of birth. The pain of birth. And the silent devastation of miscarriage. Stories of clockwork periods. And haywire ones. Of awkward beginnings and roller-coaster peri-menopausal endings. Good stories. Bad stories. Mundane ones. Profound ones. The bitter. And the sweet.”

For years, women have been encouraged to speak about their experiences of what is considered to be femininity: the pain, the pleasure, the parts that are still somewhat controversial.

And although education needn’t rely on women and girls reliving their trauma, for those who are willing to speak, there’s a chance to be heard.

Bodyform’s ad doesn’t just focus on the pain, and it certainly doesn’t just focus on the private. The video presents multiple experiences from a diverse group of women from the age they get their first period all the way to the onset of menopause.

Nothing is shied away from and nothing is taboo. Writhing on the floor with the pain of endometriosis, the struggle of having kids, never wanting to have kids (ever!), the relief when your period finally arrives, the irritation when it ruins your new underwear – it’s all there and it’s all real. Not a blue liquid in sight.

Sharing stories may not be for everyone, but an acknowledgement that the stories are there should be. They’re happening every day, whether we choose to speak about them. Or whether they’re heard.

You can check out Bodyform’s new ad in full here: