The truth about happy periods

It started with a Facebook complaint. Richard posted on the Facebook wall of Bodyform, UK maker of feminine-hygiene products, that women’s periods as he’d observed them were nothing like they’d been depicted in commercials. Nothing like. And he’d been so excited!

Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen … lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger [sic, all of it]

Bodyform took his concerns to heart, and their pretend CEO, Caroline Williams, was quick to post a video responding to his concerns.

WILLIAMS. Hello, Richard. I’m Caroline Williams, the CEO of Bodyform. We read your Facebook post with interest, but also a sense of foreboding. And I think it’s time we came clean. We lied to you, Richard, and I want to say “sorry.”


What you’ve seen in our advertisement so far isn’t a factual representation of events. You’re right. The flagrant use of visualizations such as skydiving, rollerblading, and mountain biking–you forgot horse riding, Richard–are actually metaphors. They’re not real.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but there’s no such thing as a “happy period.” The reality is, some people simply can’t handle the truth.

In the past, we’ve tried to be more honest in our approach. In the 1980s, we ran a series of focus groups to help us gauge the public’s reactions to periods: the cramps, the mood swings, the insatiable hunger, and yes, Richard, the blood coursing from our uteri like a crimson landslide. So we knew we’d have to change our strategy.

And so from that day to this, we’ve managed to maintain this illusion. But you, Richard, have torn down that veil and exposed this myth, thereby exposing every man to a reality we hoped they would never have to face. You did that, Richard. You. Well done. I just hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us.

[quiet farting noise]

Oh, sorry, Richard. You did know that we do that, too, didn’t you?

[her cell phone rings with the “Bodyform” jingle]

Hello, Caroline Williams.

[upbeat music out]

Similar Posts (automatically generated):

46 comments for “The truth about happy periods

  1. Schmorgluck
    November 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I don’t know about the USA, but in France the content of advertisements for tampons and pads has been a matter for popular jokes for more than twenty years. So by my French perspective Richard’s jokes are rather stale and unoriginal than really offensive.

    The blue liquid used in most ads for pads is commonly nicked as “smurfette menstruation” in France. I seem to remember one such ad used a purple liquid instead of a blue one, and I was impressed at the audacity… But ultimately it was pointless.

  2. ASH
    November 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Are we still doing this “the real sufferers of periods” are the men? I’m sick to death of this already. Not to mention that many of us manage to deal with alot of painful, draining symptoms without much fuss. Dealing with someone who is sometimes less than glowing or unhappy is not the end of the world and men aren’t the ones “suffering”. Gah.

    • November 3, 2012 at 4:41 am

      The mentality that men are those who suffer the most from periods is common. And annoying.

      I get debilitating cramps and you think you are suffering because I snap that you can make your own dinner? I’m lying on the bed with a heating pad and have been popping pain pills all day. It should be obvious that I don’t want to make a guy his dinner. However, then the guy make the long suffering face that makes me want to smack him.

    • Chataya
      November 3, 2012 at 10:34 am

      My ovaries pop off potentially life-threatening cysts the size of oranges, but the true sufferers are men.

  3. November 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Women in my family really suffer with periods. Hard to envisage them skydiving…

  4. November 2, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Yeah, as someone who has been publicly shunned for daring to mention the fact that as a menstruating person, I occasionally *get a period*, I found this video satisfying as hell. Because we know what would happen if there was a cinéma vérité-style production of what some menstrual experiences are like.

    Or, you know, this gif from The Shining of the elevator scene.

  5. November 3, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Women’s menstrual cycles are pure violence, imposed by nature. Women know the nature of extreme violence from personal experience. If men don’t want to know it, that is up to them. It doesn’t matter. Let them know what they like.

    • November 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

      O_o Da fuq?

    • EG
      November 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Mine sure doesn’t seem violent. Just messy.

    • chava
      November 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

      that sounds a lot cooler than my period actually is.

      if I had known that my period was the seminal violence of nature, I would have found some way to weaponize that shit sooner.

    • November 3, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Mine isn’t really violent. It’s more passive-aggressive than anything else.

      • Chataya
        November 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

        “Oh, you didn’t get knocked up this month? Here, have a week of mood swings, cramping, and hot flashes. Did I forget to mention the part about gushing blood?”

    • Echo Zen
      November 4, 2012 at 1:17 am

      Darn, I always wished periods turned women into biological weapons. Back in the old days, they used to say menstruating women could destroy crops and spoil meat just by strolling by. (That would be an amazing superpower.)

      • Ledasmom
        November 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm

        Now I’m all sad. My periods never involved much beyond dripping. Who knew they were supposed to be actually violent?
        It would indeed be an awesome superpower – “Fear – The Menstruator!”

      • DonnaL
        November 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

        There are still people who believe that, unfortunately. As embarrassed as I am to admit that I used to watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey, there was an episode in which Theresa Guidice’s father — an elderly Italian immigrant — was making tomato sauce, and before permitting any woman to be present asked them if they were having their period, because a menstruating woman would spoil the sauce.

        And then there’s the whole sad story of the medieval Christian belief that Jewish men menstruate (as one of their many punishments for rejecting/killing Jesus), and need a monthly replenishment of blood (from killing Christian children, of course) to replace what they’ve lost. See the lengthy discussion at

        Christian theology and natural science proposed as many motives for ritual murder as there were imagined uses for Christian blood. The blood, medieval Christendom proclaimed, was used to anoint the doorposts of Jewish homes at the time of the Passover, baked into Passover matzot or Purim cakes, given to the Jewish bride and bridegroom in the marriage ritual, or employed to anoint the bodies of Jews in danger of death. The blood had a multitude of useful applications and could serve as an aphrodisiac, as an analgesic (to relieve the special pain that Jewish women were thought to experience during childbirth), or even as a perfume (to eliminate the particular smell or odor commonly associated with Jews).(8)

        Other Christian evidence, however, proposed that Jews needed the blood of murdered Christian children because Jewish males are cursed with a variety of peculiar physical defects. As Leon Poliakov noted, medieval Christian polemicists depicted Jewish men as “suffering from a thousand malignant afflictions that only Christian blood can cure…. They are born misshapen, they are hemorrhoidal and, men as well as women, afflicted with menses. From this point of view, they are women, that is, inframen.”(9)

        Nowhere is this last defect indicated more explicitly than in an early fourteenth-century astronomical treatise that declares, “After the death of Christ all Jewish men, like women, suffer menstruation.”(10) The bizarre and seemingly implausible contention that, like women, Jewish males menstruate, provided yet another motive for the alleged murders of Christian children: only with an infusion of Christian blood, Christian polemicists argued, did Jews believe they could replace and stem their monthly blood loss, thereby transforming twelfth-century accusations of ritual murder into a charge of ritual cannibalism.(11) Charges that Jews regularly murder Christian children in brutal ritual fashion and then consume or drink their blood in order to eliminate or alleviate the symptoms of Jewish male menstruation demanded, however, both theological and scientific support. Let me now turn, to consider the origins and development of the myth of Jewish male menses.

        [Continued at link]

      • DonnaL
        November 4, 2012 at 1:07 pm

        There are still people who believe that, unfortunately. As embarrassed as I am to admit that I used to watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey, there was an episode in which Theresa Guidice’s father — an elderly Italian immigrant — was making tomato sauce, and before permitting any woman to be present asked them if they were having their period, because a menstruating woman would spoil the sauce. [rest of comment in moderation]

      • DJ
        November 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm

        In Hinduism, so far as I know, you’re not allowed to participate in certain aspects of a puja if you’re menstruating.

  6. FYouMudFlaps
    November 3, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I refer back to If Men Could Mensturate from time to time.

    • Colin
      November 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Perhaps menstruation envy manifests itself psychosomatically as ‘man flu’.

  7. anna
    November 3, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Ooh, that’s a good one.

    Here’s a link – If Men Could Menstruate, by Gloria Steinem:

    I would also like to point out that PMS is a medical problem that can be treated and that not every woman gets, and that has varying degrees of severity for those who do get it. Women are not so inferior to men that healthy, normal women always get horrible mood swings like “the little girl from the exorcist” one week out of every month and are totally irrational.

    • ASH
      November 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      This is very true. Some women, I would go so far as to say many women, have a period and not much changes for them. What is probably the most irritating thing about it is that when men have physical issues, women should drop everything and tend to him as if he is an infant and that is expected. Women don’t go on and on and on about how they are suffering because he is sick. If women experience physical issues, even ones that occur more often and can be very painful, the men’s “suffering” must STILL be the focus of the conversation. Maybe if these men were considerate of their significant others in turn, women would be better able to take time out and tend to their own needs. To expect the women suffering to continue to be Mary Pickford is utter bs.

      • shfree
        November 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

        Actually, I’ve had the opposite experience with the men surrounding me, where they tend to try to power through what ails them. My dad tried to walk off a serious ankle fracture that ultimately required immediate surgery when he finally decided that icing it wasn’t going to cut the mustard; (surgery that might not have been necessary if he had just gone to the ER right away instead of waiting half a day) my ex would refuse to lie in bed resting refusing any and all aid, but would opt to putter around the house instead; (which probably led to whatever colds he had lasting longer or developing into something worse) and don’t get me started on how often family members had to drag my grandpa into the doctor. Maybe it was just me, but I have been both blessed and cursed with having men in my life who are in constant denial about the physical limitations of their own health.

      • Lyndsay
        November 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm

        There are definitely men who don’t get medical help when they should. It makes me curious if these men are any more or less likely to complain about “suffering” because of women’s suffering. Maybe they feel if they can ignore pain they get, women can too.

      • Henry
        November 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

        Thank you, the stereotyping about men around here as if we are all the same has gotten way out of hand…please stop extrapolating your personal experiences to the entire 3-4 billion male population.

    • DonnaL
      November 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I obviously have very good reasons for disliking Gloria Steinem and having to take some deep breaths before trying to read anything she’s written, but even trying to put my personal opinion of her aside, I don’t think this piece holds up very well after more than 25 years.

      • EG
        November 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm

        Donna, I’m sorry to show my ignorance, but I didn’t know that Steinem had done or said anything hateful, especially as recently as she has. A little googling solved the problem of my ignorance. I’m not sure what will solve the problem of hers. I’m sorry.

      • Patu
        November 4, 2012 at 12:20 am

        She’s pretty unapologetically transphobic and big on the concept of ‘real women’, I believe.

      • MrRabbit
        November 4, 2012 at 12:38 am

        It would hold up better if it acknowledged not all women menstruate and that some men do. But given Steinem’s transphobia, it’s predictably framed. I do agree with Steinem though, that if menstruation was a (cis) male thing society’s attitudes towards it would be very different.

        (As an aside, it is unacceptable and disappointing that a cis woman involved in the feminist movements early on has actively participated in the erasure of trans women from these movements. I think a lot of younger women (35 and below) believe trans women are just becoming involved in feminism now, when in fact trans women have been actively feminist since the 1960s and have had to fight so hard to be even tolerated by cis women. This is why Steinem is so hard to take for trans women and for cis women who are anti-transphobic.)

  8. pheenobarbidoll
    November 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I don’t have mood swings on my period, I’m pretty well pissed off the whole time. I love to wake up in a pool of blood at 3 am and have to change the sheets, change my clothes and sometimes even take a shower, said no one ever.

    • Alexandra
      November 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      Yeah, heavy periods are the worst. I ruin my sheets once every two months at the longest.

      • Ledasmom
        November 4, 2012 at 9:48 am

        I am trying to remember who referred to it as “that ‘time of the month’ when I’m ‘not at my best’ because I’m ‘bleeding from my vagina'”.
        Seriously, it’s inconvenient and messy and, now that I’ve had what kids I’m having, I do not see the point of it. For some reason I have never mastered ideal pad placement and leak off the front or the back at least once per period. I have taken to wearing black pants and black underpants, being less than interested in stain removal.

      • tmc
        November 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

        As a person who hates pads and gets infections from tampon use, the Divacup has been a godsend for me.

      • November 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

        (Apologies if you know this, but I didn’t until fairly recently) Hydrogen peroxide will help take blood out of your sheets/undies/car seats/cats/wherever bizarre place it gets. The fresher the blood the better it works, and it can take a lot of it, but it’s better than having to get rid of sheets.

  9. AJ
    November 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    [deleted for shameless self-promotion. Save that shit for Sundays. -C]

    • Kristen J.
      November 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Oh dear god, do not link to Tom “likes to give out the name of rape victims” Leykis.

  10. JetGirl
    November 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I love this. There are so many fun touches, like the blue liquid she drinks, and the red gelatin in the boardroom.
    I grew up with guys who, unlike Richard, saw periods as something deeply disgusting and upsetting (example: my 18-year-old brother once freaked out because my mom or I had left a pad — not used — on the counter). I always just rolled my eyes about this. Yeah, periods aren’t fun. And the marketing is ridiculous. But at least we aren’t buying pads wrapped in discreet brown paper any more. There’s no shame. Progress?

    • matlun
      November 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      Really? I mean sure it is disgusting in much the same way as other messy bodily functions, but who freaks out from seeing a roll of toilet paper?

      Btw, I seriously LOLed from that video, so thank you Caperton for improving my day.

      • JetGirl
        November 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm

        Well, my brother was a major asshat back then. Well, honestly, he’s still an asshat almost 30 years later. And he has a 12-year-old daughter. Hopefully, she and her mom are rolling their eyes at him now.

    • (BFing) Sarah
      November 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Yeah, I vividly remember one of my first “period experiences” was being shamed by my mother and grandmother for putting a pad in the trash can, folded up. It was like my second period or something like that and I, foolishly, thought it was just another piece of trash and not a source of deep shame that needed to be hidden at all costs. I was taken aside and told that I MUST wrap the pad ALL AROUND with toilet paper otherwise my grandfather might notice it and KNOW WHAT IT IS (GASP!!!!!!) when he was taking out the trash. I seriously felt so disgusting and embarrassed and before that I think I had felt almost…I don’t know…maybe proud about getting a period for the first time? Or something like it…relieved maybe? I’m not sure. Anyway, I also remember wondering why a grown man with seven children (four of which are daughters) needed to be sheltered from a pad in the trash (it was folded up, people!). I mean, I was 12 and I could handle it.

      Also, it really irritates me when people assume that women act differently when they are on their period. I am testy all month long and I tend to snap regardless of what “time of the month” it is. I really don’t get PMS…and I get really annoyed when someone implies that that is the cause of the dressing down they are receiving. Its not PMS, my dear husband, its the fact that you cannot seem to find the hamper where your dirty socks belong. Its annoying every day of the month.

  11. Patu
    November 4, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Nothing is more guaranteed to piss me off than a man implying I’m being unreasonable because I’m on the rag. I hate the ‘all women turn into raging irrational monsters once a month’ trope like burning, so I found this vid a great satire.

    • November 4, 2012 at 4:25 am

      When I’m told I’m on the rag I get very angry too.

      My periods don’t result in mood swings, but pain. And once the pain reaches a certain threshold I am not longer interested in catering to the needs of others. My period also results in an increased sex drive, but I bet my boyfriends don’t make long suffering faces in regards to that.

  12. MrRabbit
    November 4, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I no longer have a uterus but I have my ovaries and I’m still getting used to the fact that I need to keep track of things like mood swings, breast tenderness, etc. My hormonal cycles do mean that at certain times I’m more cranky and sensitive, but that doesn’t mean my feelings aren’t valid. I hate that dismissal.

  13. Clytemnestra's Sister
    November 4, 2012 at 6:54 am

    That was a wonderful retort to somebody who never really grew out of the pee-and-poop-jokes-are-funny phase of his life.

    • NC73
      November 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Well, I also never grew out of that phase. But the video response was great. Couldn’t watch it, but any transcript that reads “quiet farting noise” is the best transcript ever.

  14. November 5, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Loved the video response — particularly the fart at the end, as a reminder that we’re human beings with bodily functions that are perfectly normal and not magical or scary.

    • November 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Trufax: I had a conversation with a guy a little while ago where I legitimately had to inform him (he was so sad) that women do in fact poop and fart and have crotch sweat.

      Hilarious, but heart-breaking.

Comments are closed.