Bleedin’ Woman Part 6 – A new day for Women?
by Nikki Sullings
Since the nineteenth century there has not been a great deal of change in who produces and disseminates knowledge about women’s bodies and menstruation, despite how uncanny the popular medical thought and English and American advertisements of the Victorian and Modern era’s may seem today. Nor have advertising and marketing strategies made positive changes despite greater consciousness of the abasing effects of representing women as submissive creatures and awareness of the contents of tampons that pose serious risks to women’s health. Advertisements remain entrenched in coded language, subtlety and secrecy and the trust in accurate knowledge about women’s bodies and the contents of menstrual products remains in the lap of manufacturers.
The power relations that have played a very significant role in the communication of messages about menstruation between men and women have not changed enough and advertisers can be held responsible for the complete strengthening of biblical mind/body associations which render women secondary to men.
Menstruation remains women’s little secret that empowered men have been able to manipulate for their own financial and or social gain.
Clearly several changes are needed for women to regain control of the health and representation of their bodies. Firstly, there is a definite need to legislate for ‘ingredients’ of tampons to be clearly printed on the outside of every box and the public informed of the potential effects of dioxins in the current popular products.
Secondly more and positive advertising is needed from companies producing organic cotton tampons and washable menstrual pads in order to promote the use of a positive new product and a new attitude to the female body and its menstrual cycle. Only then can both women and the environment duly benefit.
It remains a long road to liberation but a new day for women is possible. And how about an advertisement that actually says the words vagina and blood?
On to next page – Bibliography.