What It Felt Like To Be Pitied By A Sanitary Towel

Is a sanitary towel really the place for motivational quotes?

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Sanitary towels are now talking to us and I kind of wish they weren't.

It/she/he started by telling me 'Tomorrow is a new day'. Which is true. It's such an indisputable fact, that it doesn't really need stating. Until I realise that The Towel is presuming today is going to be terrible. It thinks that because I'm on my period – why else would I be talking to a sanitary towel? – today will be so awful that I'm already wishing it away.

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With this in mind The Towel decides to cheer me up. 'You are Amazing' it says. Thank you I say.

With this in mind The Towel decides to cheer me up. 'You are Amazing' it says.

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But then The Towel, perhaps buoyed by this well-received compliment, gets a little cocky.

'Be Grateful' it whispers.

Because I'm amazing? Or because I'm bleeding?

A period is a subjective thing and I feel like The Towel should know its audience before telling them to 'Be Grateful'. What if I was trying for a baby and that first cramp had made me crumple my chin in disappointment and wish over and over and over that this wasn't another period?

'Find Strength'. I will try, 'Be True'. OK! What are you getting at exactly? That women on their periods are liars? That we're weak and feeble? This pep talk from a sanitary towel has taken a dark turn. It's never a comfortable conversation when someone takes you aside, holds you by both shoulders and says 'Greatness takes time'. They can only be letting me know that I've not yet achieved greatness. Once again, The Towel is wrong.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with Beyoncé The Towel wants me to make lemonade.

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I'm going to presume The Towel is an optimist. A bi-polar optimist. Because after all that doom and gloom it takes a different rhetoric. 'Seize every opportunity' it demands. 'Make it Happen!', 'Follow that Dream'. Finally, The Towel sees me as a woman with autonomy over my own life. Even if I am on my period. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Beyoncé The Towel wants me to make lemonade.

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Then it gets practical; 'Change'. Finally something The Towel and I agree on. Yes, you should change your sanitary towel. Yes, in 3 hours time I will do this.

The Towel was pulled out of it's box and placed in the bottom of a bag and I didn't notice the text written all over it until the box was long gone. So the brand remains unknown. Maybe that's a good thing.

#likeagirl
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The Towel's diatribe isn't the first time a sanitary towel found its voice. In 2014 Always released their #likeagirl campaign with a film that captured how people of all ages interpret that phrase 'like a girl'. It encouraged us to reclaim those three words as an empowering statement, and although it was a brave advert, it was, arguably, it may still have been an advert about weakness.

Recently a Bodyform advert showed blood, not actual period blood, but the thick red stuff rather than thin blue water.

Bodyform advert

Recently a Bodyform advert showed blood, not actual period blood, but still the thick red stuff rather than thin blue water. The women in the advert looked pretty badass. Finally a sanitary product brand that didn't presume we should either hide while bleeding or celebrate it. Instead they just encouraged us to keep being badass.

Perhaps knowing this, next time The Towel speaks it won't be so patronising. Please, because I never again want a sanitary towel to tell me to 'Rock the red lippy', which I really hope isn't a period euphemism I'm not yet acquainted with.

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