* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
As an organisation with a vision to create a world where all women have menstrual dignity we explore all ways to #smashshame around menstruation. We created our latest video http://binti.co.uk/videos/ with this in mind.
How do we challenge the messages that we receive subconsciously telling us to hide the fact that we menstruate and bleed monthly? What if we think that boys will not get traumatised if they learn about menstruation at age 9 when some girls actually start their periods? Who better to show blood on a pad then a little boy who thinks it is completely normal? Why use a little comedy sketch to show how silly it really is to disguise the fact that sanitary pads will in fact absorb blood?
An interesting interview with our lead character highlights his reasoning behind the campaign. It's so profound and relevant we had to share it. We asked him several questions around the film. What do you think about the fact that most adverts show blue liquid? Aaron aged 9 says "Don't be embarrassed we all have blood inside and the blue liquid doesn't make sense." We asked him why he did the advert and was expecting a normal boy response with desire for fame. However his reply was, "I want to bring awareness to the fact that if we lie about it we will never be able to help girls around the world who do not have access to sanitary pads."
He thinks periods are normal and should be treated with no embarrassment and that they should be discussed openly. The light hearted humour behind the creation of the advert was used to highlight the fact that we can talk about topics with huge stigma associated with them in a way that does not cause offence. Would our advert meet strict advertising guidelines? We used a strawberry cordial and no blood. Did it look very scary? Was there any message their that could mislead the viewer? Will it cause nightmare and horror? We think it did a very good job of educating with a simple message and that it was very cute but got the point across.
A recent supplier of pads did an advert called Blood. 'Don't let your period hold you back no matter who you are. Periods shouldn't stop us from keeping fit.' The women bled from everywhere doing different things including boxing and ballet. We think it was pretty graphic with the sore wounds from women playing their sport. However, as an advert for a company with a huge budget for sanitary products the still hid from the fact that women has periods and bleeds from down there. Their remit is to sell as many products as possible. Do they really care about the fact that 88% of women in India cannot afford their menstrual products? Or that India accounts for 27% of the worlds cervical cancer rate due to poor menstrual hygiene? These statistics are reflected around the world. In the UK homeless women cannot afford pads and use newspaper or old socks.
There are ways to subtly make changes about how we talk about periods. We did it with a tiny budget but, our vision is to create a world where all women have menstrual dignity. We are also running a global social media campaign to #smashshame around periods called the #BintiRosePose. We use a red rose as it represents dignity and love. Much like the red rose, a period shares the same colour as it flows. The thorns represent the pain of a period. The uterus lining like a rose, blooms and sheds. You give someone a red rose as a sign of love and respect. We want you and them to respect periods. Kings and Queens are born because of them. So, please do normailise the discussion around periods, every girl deserves dignity period.
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