It’s estimated that around the world 800 million people menstruate daily. Just under half of the world’s population identifies as female and with that comes unique experiences like menopause. While conversations about health have opened up over the last decade, there’s still a stigma attached to many aspects of women’s health. A recent study found that half of women feel society wants them to keep silent about their health despite this being detrimental to their mental health. A campaign launched by Essity on behalf of its brands including Libresse, Nosotras, Bodyform, Saba, Nana and Nuvenia wants to eradicate shame and silence and give a voice to the unseen, unspoken and unknown truths about women’s bodies.
Global hygiene and health company Essity has launched its latest campaign, #wombstories. Instead of shying away from conversations about bodies and problems that people experience, they want to empower people to express the way they feel about their bodies. As part of their research, they found that 62% of people agreed that women’s health and intimate experiences are not talked about openly. While this was seen as the norm, 54% said they’d like to be able to talk more openly about health issues affecting them. This included creating spaces to talk about miscarriage and fertility issues, endometriosis and menopause.
The health issues that people expressed that they’d like to talk about weren’t uncommon. It’s estimated that among women who are aware that they’re pregnant, around one in eight pregnancies end in a miscarriage. More miscarriages occur before a woman knows she’s expecting. Similarly, it’s estimated that one in ten women suffer from endometriosis between the ages of 15 to 49. This equates to around 176 million women globally. The study by Essity found that two-thirds of women who said they’d experienced miscarriage, fertility issues, endometriosis or menopause said that once they’d spoken about it with close ones it helped them cope.
Your health can feel like a deeply personal topic and half of the women that spoke to Essity said they felt society silences women’s experiences. 40% said that not speaking out damaged their mental health. While physical symptoms and conditions may be treated the scars that stigma leaves can leave lifelong psychological damage.
In order to tackle the silence, Bodyform’s latest campaign shines a light on the experiences of so many people around the globe, from the relief of getting your period when you don’t want to be pregnant to the pain of losing a baby. In their latest film, they bust the myth that there’s one correct way to feel about your body and that open and honest conversations set people free.
Speaking about the #wombstories campaign Nicola Coronado, the UK and Ireland consumer marketing director at Bodyform said “with #wombstories we are starting a movement. We want to boldly go where no other brand has been before; inside women’s bodies and emotions to truly represent their sensations and feelings that we believe are not only invisible but ignored, overlooked or denied. #Wombstories reveals the narrative inside and out and we hope to put these topics on the table for all to talk about. We believe that only once we understand women’s bodies and everything they go through; can we care for them with our period and daily intimate care products.”
Your experience of your body can feel incredibly personal. However, it’s more than likely that other people have been through something very similar or the same thing. The #wombstories film shines a light on the fact that the mental pain and isolation associated with the stigma that surrounds women’s bodies can be extremely damaging. The physical processes in your body are intrinsically linked to your mental wellbeing.