Again, the matter at hand is women that divides the society in two. It is not a classical woman-matter either. A wide range from menstrual cycle to violence against women. What did Orkid really want to tell us in its new commercial video? What did we remember? Let’s read it.
Sanitary pad company Orkid released a video titled "Uncover the Shame" based on news of violence against women & #femicide in Turkey, announcing the new packaging is covered with news of this kind. pic.twitter.com/Hw6AqG6gl7
— dokuz8NEWS (@dokuz8news) October 27, 2019
As if we had no intense agenda lately, Orkid advertising video has kept our agenda busy. In this video, it is emphasized that the pads are sold wrapped in newspaper and woman’s place in society (!) – rape or violence against women – is placed on these newspapers while packaging the pads in Turkey. As a result, we were divided into two as usual. Some of us said the pads were not wrapped in newspaper; even more they claimed that it was a propaganda that humiliated Turkey. (Orkid is running a smear campaign in the international arena against Turkey) On the contrary, some of us said that ‘Unfortunately, this is the situation we are being subjected to’. Personally, I found it a bit strange that this video is available in English as well. As all of us know, our native language is Turkish!
Actually, there are many questions that should be asked about this video. Does the video make women a marketing product? Why is the video available also in English? As mentioned in the video, do women still want their pads wrapped in newspapers? Is it only Turkey where the sanitary pads wrapped in newspaper or are there any other countries like Turkey? I cannot comment much because the answers may vary from person to person, from region to region, or even from country to country.
When I look at myself and my experiences as a woman, I want to approach this issue from a different perspective. I really wonder that how many of us have a visible and accessible place for our pads in ours homes? Or how many of us can easily go to the toilet with the visible pads in our hands at the workplace? Trouser pockets and sweaters may seem familiar to some of us. Think of our childhood. How many of us were able to buy the pads in a comfortable tone as if we were buying water from the market? How many of us were able to express easily our abdominal cramps due to menstruation to our father and brother? How many of us did not change the channel when the pad ad appeared?
Was menstruation or period not seen as ‘ugly disease that needs to be hidden?’ However, this is a necessity of our biology… It is a natural process in our lives as much as sneezing or breathing. Even, it is a serious health problem if we have a problem with menstruation cycle.
Whether or not the pads are in newspaper, were we ashamed of this? Were we not made fun of, by boys after awareness-raising education organized by Orkid in the secondary school years? So, where does this shame come from? From our own culture? Is it because of the lack of proper and adequate sexual & gender education? Is the rejection of sexuality or the different functions of the human body in men and women? For example, how many men are comfortable buying condoms? How many pregnant women are not exposed to disturbing glances outside? How many breastfeeding mothers cover their breast while feeding their child in public? How many women want their sanitary pads to be wrapped in paper when they buy it?
I found the advertisement useful in terms of reminding us of these questions and the violation of women’s rights. I even appreciated the Orkid of the P&G group, which took a big risk by making such an ad. Women and their rights are a sensitive subject in Turkey. In fact, it is a common problem in many countries which present sexuality and the female body as a taboo.
As for how we break this taboo. Of course, with education policies involving family and society. We would raise the awareness of future parents, if our girls and boys get enough knowledge about their bodies at an early age. This will help the taboo to disappear over time. Only accurate and proper education which is given at the right time is needed; not on newspaper to hide the pads.