Everyone knows that when a girl gets her period she jumps around in her underwear with her besties, before slipping on her rollerblades and jumping in the pool. That is, if her clueless boyfriend hasn’t already used up all her pads to make himself superhero armour.
For a culture that’s obsessed about sex, we still talk about menstruation in bizarre and contradictory metaphors. If at all.
Such is the confusion about this women’s business that when the GST was introduced, then Federal Health Minister Dr Michael Wooldridge seemed to think that periods were optional and put FHPs (feminine hygiene products) in the same category as luxury items, ruling that they were not a basic necessity and therefore shouldn’t be exempt from the new tax.
But things have changed from ads in the 1980s when Naomi Watts couldn’t even mention the word ‘period’ in a Tampax commercial, instead referring to that hassle ‘you don’t talk about’.
Earlier this year the HelloFlo Camp Gyno commercial advertising an FHP and lolly delivery service in the US was chalked up as a major victory against the cultural taboos surrounding menstruation.
But let’s not dance around in white lycra with our BFFs and have a celebratory period party pillow fight just yet.
For all its progressiveness, the Camp Gyno ad still portrays menstruation and menarche (the first menstrual bleed by a woman) negatively and predominantly as a hygiene problem.
‘Suck it up and deal with it, this is your life now,’ barks the ring leader, after she squirts brown liquid out of her Dora the Explorer doll and hands out tampons.