You may have seen in the news this week that an ad about tampons was banned in Ireland.
This is because some people complained about it being ‘inappropriate’ and ‘offensive’.
The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) which deals with ads, sponsored content and whether claims made by brands are true etc, received 84 complaints about this particular one and decided it would be banned due to ‘general offence’ people felt it caused.
Others complaints stated it was demeaning to women or unsuitable for children but these comments were not upheld which means the ASAI did not accept this to be true.
While 84 people might seem like a big number, it’s important to remember that there are 4.9 MILLION people in Ireland, which suddenly makes that other number feel pretty small.
You probably know the ad, it’s a Tampax one about the importance of getting the tampon far enough up so that it sits comfortably during your period.
The ad is set in a chat-show style environment where the host asks the audience if they can feel their tampon when wearing them. She reminds then they shouldn’t feel it by saying: “You gotta get ‘em up there, girls”.
Quite a memorable statement if you ask us, and probably one that will help many people who chose to use tampons.
The banning of this ad brought up a huge amount of conversation about the importance of period talk.
So, here are 4 reasons it’s really important to talk about periods:
It’s a hugely common thing:
Sometimes there can be a lack of conversation on very important topics because only a small group of people experience it (which doesn’t make them any less important) but with periods and puberty a huge percentage of the global population with experience it. About 50% of the population will experience a period at some stage, which makes it a pretty common occurrence. With this in mind, it seems like a really strange thing to feel like you have to whisper about or feel embarrassed about.
It can make life easier for everyone:
If you’re suffering from period pains, or suddenly need a pad or tampon in a social situation, being comfortably able to talk about it will make things so much easier. If you feel comfortable telling your friends you have period pains and don’t feel like hanging out, or need an unexpected pad, they’ll feel more comfortable to do it too and so everyone can be open and honest and far more comfortable in social situations.
It can help you make better decisions on what to use:
After the Tampax ad was banned, many women spoke out on social media about how actually the “you gotta get ‘em up there, girls” message was hugely educational, as they previously felt tampons weren’t for them, when in fact they just didn’t quite know how to use them, because they can be tricky! Being able to speak about this with friends, siblings a parent or guardian, can help you figure out what’s right for you. The menstrual cup has become increasingly popular in recent years but it can be pretty hard to figure out. Being able to ask friends questions like ‘doesn’t it overflow with blood?’ (it doesn’t…) or ‘how do you wash it?’ (in the sink with warm water) can be a huge help in finding something that’s right for you. Sure, the internet is there but it’s hard to guarantee everything you read is from a trusted source and sometimes you need it to come from a friend to really get everything you need to know.
It helps you to know if there is an issue:
Sometimes when we hear mutterings of periods from older members of our family they might talk about cramps and mood swings, but without a conversation with other people who have periods, it’s hard to know what’s ‘normal’ in terms of discomfort or feelings. There are many many complicated conditions associated with menstruation and sometimes because of lack of research, we don’t know anything about them. Talking to a friend who tells you she can’t stand up straight, even after taking painkillers, during her period, might be cause for concern and something you can highlight with her and tell her that it seems like something serious. According to our resident puberty expert, nurse Shelley, the most common issue you could be experiencing if you’re in a lot of pain is endometriosis. “Unfortunately, there is an average time of six years here in Ireland (and a horrible 12 years in the US) to receive diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis,” she explained. “This is for a number of reasons, including the patriarchy… But seriously, its due to being a “female” issue, which is famously under-researched and underfunded worldwide, and also a lot of the patients seeking diagnosis are young females, who are notoriously not taken seriously by doctors. All of these facts are scientifically researched and 100% true. But this is in no way a reason for you not to get help!” So starting a conversation with your friends, or being straight up with your doctor about how bad things are could help you to find something that may be impacting your life.
It normalises a natural part of a bodies’ function
When about half the population have this thing happening every month, for as long as 40 years, it seems like something that should be pretty accepted and talked about. But many admit to feeling embarrassed or awkward about their own. Sometimes you just need to ask why. Why are we nervous or embarrassed talking about a natural thing that our bodies do, which is actually a necessary part of keeping the human race going? That sounds pretty important and impressive to us and not at all embarrassing. If we talk about it more casually, you to take away any strange taboo attitudes that seem really outdated now.
At KISS, we’re proud to talk about any issues that are important to our readers, as teen girls, periods and puberty will always be one of them.
You can check out our period and puberty series Ask Shelley here and send in your own questions at any time.