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.