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Unmasking the Menstrual Myth: Beyond the Pad Ad Illusions

We have all grown up seeing dramatic and misleading sanitary pads advertisements. These advertisements often showcase women going about their day joyfully without discomfort or pain after wearing the pad. Even though these ads try to instill confidence and empower women, they present a misleading idea of how women should act during their periods. Catchy jingles like "nah dhagg, na dharr" limit women's discomfort to just stains.

One thing these ads have in common is the worried and insecure attitude of the main female protagonist, which vanishes as soon as someone hands her a packet of sanitary pads. She emerges as confident and cheerful, seen dancing, traveling, or playing sports. As important as it is to show women that nothing can hold them back, it is also essential to show people how menstruation affects women differently. These ads have idealized portrayals of women and downplay the challenges they face. Therefore, people often do not fully realize the challenges and discomfort accompanying menstruation which inadvertently contributes to the perception that taking a leave for periods is unjustified.

These idealized advertisements may contribute to a skewed understanding of menstruation by unintentionally masking the difficulties and realities of conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD). In a country where menstrual awareness is severely low, these advertisements offer a platform to educate and raise awareness about menstruation. They may initiate much-needed talks and combat the stigma associated with menstruation.



Therefore, let's keep challenging the narratives in pad advertisements, push for better advertising standards, and seek to remove stigmas associated with menstruation. By doing this, we can create a culture that values the natural functions of the human body and is more knowledgeable, empowered, and compassionate.





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8 Comments


Aisha Aamir
Aisha Aamir
Jun 22, 2023

Like everyone else in the comments, I'm so grateful you brought this up! While it seems like we take one step forward in normalizing menstruation, I feel like we take two steps back simultaneously. Considering the nature of this topic and how it still remains taboo in our culture to a great extent, knowing that men only have these advertisements to assist their knowledge on menstruation makes me feel so uneasy. They depict women to have no problems just because they "found the right pads" and men can easily chalk it up to women around them being dramatic when they talk about cramps and the physical pain they feel. If this is the way Pakistani advertisements tackle pads, I'm almost…

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I am so glad you raised this! honestly, menstruation is passed as a taboo topic, it is rarely talked about, so when people see these ads where you supposedly just need a pad to get rid of all your problems is insane and it downplays the struggles of women so much. When you do not show other problems that come with menstruation, it becomes easier for people to pass on comments such as "oh, it is just a minor thing" and then it becomes even easier to ignore other things such as the need for menstrual leaves. You could literally be dying from the pain which makes me think that these pad ads are not well researched, just as even…

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I really appreciate this post.

Honestly, at first these ads were simply embarrassing considering the hush-hush nature of discourse around something as natural as menstruation in this country. However, now these ads just make me angry on another level: most of the time, they don't even explicitly address what the product being portrayed is for. Take the ad embedded in this blog, for example: it refers to the menstruation ordeal, not by its name, but by "un dinon" and that "always jazb karega" without even mentioning Always jazb kia karega! I understand that the portrayal of a red stain might just be too much for the general public (because that's where we live, apparently) but how hard is it to…

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Thank you for highlighting this Sufia! To add on your point about the consequences of this, I think when these ads trivialise the physical discomfort that women experience during periods, it also makes it harder for us to advocate for implementation of policies like menstrual leaves.

Plus ignoring real struggles can also undermine any efforts to foster empathy and support for women on periods. And since menstruation is already stigmatized in our society downplaying its challenges like this can further reinforce the notion that it is a taboo topic.

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Khadija Nasir
Khadija Nasir
Jun 17, 2023

Loved the post! You've highlighted such an important point about problematic representations which tends to go overlooked. With most of us living in a very conservative society, there are limited modes of interaction with the subject of menstruation for those who do not experience it themselves. These advertisements may be the only form of interaction most men in our society may have with the subject due to its nature of being so taboo. When these ads present such an idealized version of a woman's experience during menstruation, they may end up reinforcing harmful pre-existing stereotypes. They may perpetuate the view that menstruation is nothing more than a mild inconvenience that can be resolved. This may sometimes cause a lack of…

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