When I first got my period I was lead to believe that it was something to hide, despite bleeding from a vagina being one of the most natural things for a woman to do every month.
Sanitary product advertisements showed blue liquid, instead of blood red, smiling faces and girls riding horses along the beach in white dresses.
The reality was far more gruesome for me – cramps, hunger, tears and dark pants to hide any leakages. For one week, every month, I'd do all I could to pretend it wasn't happening. Periods were to be endured in silence.
But watching Libra's new #bloodnormal ad made me feel hopeful attitudes have changed. For the first time ever, I saw periods depicted in television advertising in a way that wasn't shameful or hidden.
Women in the ad spoke openly in front of their partners about pads. A boyfriend was shown going to the grocery store to purchase pads for his partner.
These GALS! We're SO excited to partner with @shamelesspodcast as our proud ambassadors for #BloodNormal! Mich & Zara are chatting all about #BloodNormal, opening up the conversation on periods & breaking down taboos in their recent podcast. To listen to the full episode (& purchase one of these BLOODY AWESOME limited edish tees while you're at it!) hit the link in bio! #lovelibra #bloodnormal
And there was red blood, instead of the "more palatable" blue version. There was even red blood running down the leg of a woman in the shower and red blood in another woman's pad.
Finally, I was seeing periods being shown in a way that was truthful and real.
And as I watched the advertisement with wide eyes, I cried.
Mainly I cried out of joy, because sitting right beside me were my three girls and the ad gave me hope that they won't grow up in a world where periods were seen as taboo. Instead, they'll be a normal part of life.
My daughter's generation is so different to mine though. They didn't even bat an eyelid. They couldn't understand why I was so emotional.
They are very matter of fact about periods. They've been exposed to a digital world where everyone's fighting for authenticity. Blue blood would never be accepted by their generation.
The ad meant so much more to me than them. And that makes me really happy. It shows me that in some small way, times have changed.
Maybe it was fear not progressiveness that drove Libra to make that ad? Maybe pad companies are frightened their products are becoming less relevant, people are questioning their environmental impacts or they're losing market share to period undies and menstrual cups? Maybe there's simply more women driving the creative and executive teams? Maybe it's just a cynical grab for cash?
That's probably all correct, but still it means something to me.
I wish I grew up in a time where periods were so openly discussed and red blood was commonplace, because maybe I wouldn't have felt so ashamed when I first started menstruating. I wouldn't have felt such embarrassment when I bled through my knickers or when I kept meds in my bra or tucked up my sleeve so people wouldn't know I had my period when I went to the high school loos.
You see, periods are normal, there's nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. I'm sure if men had periods there'd be an annual parade, menstrual leave and free sanitary products for all. I'd like to see all of those things become reality, but for now I'm happy to finally see red blood on television.
One thing's for sure my girls are growing up in a different world. There'll be no blue blood in their future.