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Can we ever look at women’s health beyond taboos?

Updated: Nov 26, 2023




We are living in the 21st century yet the unconstrained conversation around periods or women’s menstrual cycle remains a taboo. In the recent, wave of feminism when women’s sanitary healthcare products could have preemptively availed the chance to ramp up the awareness campaign concerning menstrual health, they elected to propel regressed, patriarchally-tainted ideologies to the masses.


Famous menstrual healthcare brands like Always or its local competitor Butterfly, inanely advertise for sanitary pads without addressing the existence of menstruation. Their marketing team mindlessly conforms to societal repudiations and masterfully addresses periods as “Un Dinon” when routinely used terms like; periods, menstruation, or in the local language mahawari could be easily incorporated into advertisements. The avoidance of authentic terminologies stems from the ingrained shamefulness about a basic physiological function of the female body. The reason behind the stigmatization of periods is socially acceptable misogyny which transforms anything related to women’s bodies into an emblem of shame or obscuration. The commercials that adhere to such beliefs solidify the taboos especially when they run on our television screens around the clock.



Be that as it may, some recent commercials, such as the one aired by Always in 2022, have taken a comparatively progressive and valiant approach. They openly used the word 'periods,' marking a significant shift in breaking taboos surrounding menstruation. Nonetheless, the branding campaign commenced with the slogan #BehtarseBehtareen. The protagonist in the commercial was seen to be extraordinarily, gleeful and robustly determined on her periods. When any normal woman would desire to be comfortably tucked in her bed. She is shown arduously flying planes and skillfully performing karate gimmicks. Needless to mention, while donning an all-white pristine costume, the only concern a woman has on her periods. Such commercials may appear harmless at first glance but are depictions of deep-rooted misogynistic ideologies that revolve around trivializing the misery of women. While it may be a desperate ploy to portray feminist beliefs and embrace womanhood, in reality, it is a product of projected patriarchy.



Menstruation is not only an unpleasant or uncomfortable episode for women, it can be severely sickening and accompanied by excruciating cramps, body aches, and undesirable mood swings. When we require moments of reprieve and care, particularly to be nurtured and tended to. Since, in our traditionally male-oriented society women are supposed to be well-functioning, reasonable, and vigilant without complaints at all hours, such misleading and irresponsible advertisements belittle the adversity of the situation. Moreover, portrays the absolute contrast of reality, normalizing the suffering of women in patience, silence, and endurance. Emphasizing, that one has to be not adequately responsible, behtar but overtly diligent, behtareen in times of distress.


Further explaining the misrepresentation, it goes as far as exhibiting blue-colored liquids as blood. At large, this might be being circumspect about an “inadmissible” truth, in actuality it is also an attempt to veil the underlying disgrace tethered to women’s bodies. Ultimately, the question remains can we ever look at women’s health beyond taboos?



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7 Comments


The was genuinely such a good read. Throughout, I was thinking about how you should’ve also mentioned the way they show blue liquid in advertisements and then came across that too. Really good blog!! It’s also odd that because our society is closely tied to religion and thus most conservatism is derived from Islamic perspectives, this is nonetheless considered a taboo since it is openly talked about in religious texts. Another point that I fully agreed with was how, even when people do tend to talk about periods beyond advertisements, the affects on the woman’s body are always misconstrued and misrepresented.

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Thank you so much for reading my blog! I feel like it's high time that through discussions like such we raise awareness on how its okay to show red in commercials that are solely talking about periods. Hopefully we find a way around misrepresentation one day!

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This post is one of my favourites, Period or Menstruation or women health is never a topic of discussion and is such a big taboo that the adverts have to use some kind of distraction like a dance sequel or make an entire narrative to talk about them. These adverts highlight how women cannot actively talk about their bodies and how society forces them and confines them to talk about it. Women bodies are a constant topic in media but their health never is. I remember finding about Johnson's baby products and how they cause ovarian cancer but they are still stocked everywhere in Pakistan. Only if we cared about women and their health rather than sexualising every aspect of…

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Thank you so much! I am glad to see my our views align on this topic! I hope one day discussions like such will help put an end to such issues.

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Thank you for bringing awareness to this topic. Media is the biggest tool nowadays to bring something into the spotlight and the fact that brands like Always and Butterfly talk about periods as 'Un dino' shows the mentality and lack of acceptance of something so normal. I remember whenever I purchased pads, the shopkeeper would put them in a khaki bag as if I was carrying something that was forbidden to be seen. I really like how you pointed out that ads show that women after using their pads become all energetic, whereas we just want to rest, personally for me physical activity drains me out which might not be the case for someone else. Moreover, Always was said to…

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I totally agree that media is our biggest tool and yet we are so clueless on how to use this tool to our biggest advantage. I hope this changes in due time through more and more discussion like such. Thank you so much for reading my blog!

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Sara Masood
Sara Masood
Nov 30, 2023

Your article raises a very important question & I enjoyed reading it. However, you used the phrase, “When any normal woman would desire to be comfortably tucked in her bed”. This statement seems reductive to me because I have personally been a part of the sports society at my school. I used to be in a uniform, and I used to be playing. Physical activity helped me. Research has found that many women find a relief in their period cramps if they exercise. Research also says that many women prefer to exercise while they are on their periods. Therefore, your definition of what a “normal” woman is, makes your approach slightly demeaning for the women who prefer to stay physically…

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