Justice

This SOFY BeFresh Sanitary Pad Commercial Is Causing an Uproar

August 24th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

A new commercial for sanitary pads from the Australian company SOFY BeFresh upset many for promoting negative stereotypes about women on their menstrual cycle, which is already heavily stigmatized in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

The ad opens with a woman coming face to face with her "period" alter ego, who is wearing the same outfit but much heavier, at the beginning of her menstrual cycle—seemingly perpetuating the idea that women gain weight on their periods. In the ad, the woman is also extremely volatile and unfriendly. She judges posts on her Facebook feed, gets emotional watching TV, eats a ton, wimpers on the shower floor, and is hostile to the pizza delivery guy. The video wraps up with the woman's thinner alter ego driving away happily in a car while her period alter ego goes crazy in the street. The ad seems to say SOFY BeFresh will prevent you from becoming a stereotypical insane, hungry woman on your period.

The ad was poorly received by lots of women, with many of them saying it does a great disservice to females on their menstrual cycle and also manages to fat shame the "period" alter ego:

While the majority of viewers responded negatively, some found the ad funny and even a little relatable:

As ATTN: noted last week, many grown people get squeamish when women talk about their periods, and little girls are taught from a young age to keep this biological function on the down low. NPR's Susan Brink recently wrote that we don't need to treat periods this way since some cultures show respect for women during their menstrual cycles.

Alma Gottlieb, a professor of anthropology and gender and women's studies at the University of Illinois, told Brink about several cultures that nurture women on their periods. She said that certain parts of Ghana approach women as if they are royalty when they're menstruating. The women relax under gorgeous umbrellas and receive presents and praise from others.

Gottlieb added that she was surprised by a conversation she had with an older male religious leader on the Ivory Coast, "[He] told me menstruation is like the flower of a tree. You need the flower before the tree can fruit," she says. "That's a very different ideology than the ideology of sin, dirt, pollution."

The NPR piece was published following Donald Trump's national controversy for saying Fox News host Megyn Kelly had "blood coming out of her... wherever" when she asked him about his past treatment of women during the first presidential debate.

 

 
Donald Trump's remarks on women raised eyebrows in the first d...

Donald Trump's remarks on women raised eyebrows in the first #GOPDebate. Here was Rosie O'Donnell's reaction.

Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, August 6, 2015

 

Though he denied he was talking about Kelly's menstrual cycle, many felt he had perpetuated the negative taboo surrounding menstruation in our country.

Women took to Twitter to tweet with the hashtag #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult in response to Trump's words:

Comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele recently mocked men who make fun of women's periods in a "Key and Peele" segment about giving men a "menstruation orientation":

"What if we told y'all that once a month, half the human race is in pain and the other half don't want to hear shit about it?" Key says before he and Peele point to their genitals and welcome the audience to menstruation orientation.

When a male attendee gets up to leave, Key and Peele shame him in front of everybody.

"We know you don't want to hear about it, but [women] don't want to have it, so sit your ass down and listen for once in your life," they shout.