LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – New Bodyform & Libresse research* reveals striking statistics around women’s intimate experiences:
- 62% of people agree women’s health and intimate experiences are not talked about openly
- 40% of women felt that their mental wellbeing was negatively impacted as a result of not being able to openly share their experiences
- 54% would like to be able to talk more openly about women’s intimate experiences such as miscarriage, endometriosis and menopause
Essity, leading global hygiene and health company and owner of Bodyform, Libresse, Nana, Nuvenia, Saba and Nosotras, is committed to breaking the taboos that hold women back and creating a more understanding world. In 2020, Bodyform & Libresse have created their boldest campaign to date, confronting a damaging etiquette that women live with every day, one which dictates what they should – and shouldn’t – feel about their bodies.
With #wombstories, Bodyform & Libresse push back against the single, simplistic narrative girls are taught from a young age: start your period in adolescence, repeat with “a bit” of pain, want a baby, get pregnant, have more periods, stop periods, fade into the menopausal background.
The reality is, of course, much messier, but society doesn’t encourage women to talk openly about the highs and lows of their intimate health, especially in times of global uncertainty. A new research study of women and men by Bodyform & Libresse found that two thirds of women who experienced miscarriage, endometriosis, fertility issues and menopause said that being open with family and friends helped them cope.
And yet the same research found that half of women feel society wants them to keep silent about their experiences, while half of women felt staying silent about their issues damaged their mental health. This leads to a damaging silence around a range of difficult and sensitive issues that women face every day. The physical concern may be treated, but the emotional dimension is often left unheard and overlooked.
Tanja Grubner, FemCare global marketing & communications director at Essity, comments, “Although this campaign was conceived long before the pandemic changed everything, the issues women face didn’t just get put on hold or go away because of what was going on around us. In many instances, Covid-19 has increased the isolation women feel and the complexities they experience. The pandemic has seen women forced to give birth alone, have their fertility treatments and endometriosis surgeries delayed and postponed. Now more than ever is a time to ensure women speak up about their bodies and experiences.”
Bodyform & Libresse believe that this culture of silence reinforces taboos and impacts women’s confidence and wellbeing. Since taboos are weakened by open and honest conversation, Bodyform & Libresse are starting one. Loudly.
With #wombstories, Bodyform & Libresse want to encourage an open culture where everyone can express what they go through without fearing they won’t be properly heard or believed and without feeling shame that they are somehow less than what they were taught to be.
The team worked with Golden Globe winning and Emmy-nominated director, writer and producer Nisha Ganatra, a predominantly female crew and an all-women team of animators and illustrators who have imagined the life of wombs.
Nisha Ganatra, Golden Globe winning and Emmy- nominated director, writer and producer, says, “When they’re at their best, our bodies are incredible machines that give us pleasure, and, if we want them to, help us propagate the human race. But they don’t always work. Hell, they don’t often work. Irregular periods. Endometriosis. Miscarriages and infertility. Our bodies can bring joy but also pain and devastation. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that lasts a lifetime.”
“I feel particularly drawn to this project. The work I feel most passionate about is the work that meaningfully resists outmoded social norms that no longer fit the cultural moment but persist, nonetheless. When my daughter is an adult, it shouldn’t just be acceptable for a woman to have ownership over her body and over her narrative. It shouldn’t just be acceptable for people to be who they want and to love who they want and to choose not to have children if they want. This should be the norm.”
Nicola Coronado UK and Ireland consumer marketing director at Bodyform, comments -“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.”
#wombstories will encourage open conversation so that nobody will have to hide the sometimes difficult, sometimes painful realities of their bodies.
Nadja Lossgott, Executive Creative Director of AMV BBDO and Art Director on the campaign says, “Periods don’t just exist in isolation. They are connected to this entire ecosystem centered around our wombs, which almost acts as a second seat of power that rules us in such profound ways. We have this intensely complicated relationship with it. And yet this life-long bittersweet journey with our bodies is still considered something to shut up about. By visualising and anthropomorphising our wombs, we can begin to open up an emotional and human way to express these often complicated, contradictory feelings of love and hate, of pain and pleasure, of the mundane and the profound we constantly deal with.”
To promote an open culture where everyone can express what they go through without the feelings of guilt or shame, Bodyform & Libresse commissioned a global listening project, collecting the true experiences of women sharing their emotional relationship with their bodies. Bodyform & Libresse are committing to listening to people and society to continue to break down the barriers that hold back. Everyone with a story can take part in the listening project here (link to website article page on #wombstories archive)
Essity, creator of Bodyform & Libresse, will continue with proud taboo breaking until the work is done and there are no more secrets.
**Research conducted by Essity Libresse in February 2020 with 8,121 people (4113 women and 4008 men) aged 18 – 55+ in the UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Russia, China, Argentina and Mexico. Of these people 5,632 were parents, 2,489 were not parents.
Chief Creative Officer: Alex Grieve
Executive Creative Director: Nadja Lossott & Nicholas Hulley
Creative Director: Toby Allen & Jim Hilson
Creative Team: Nadja Lossgott & Nicholas Hulley
Production Credits – TV Producer: Edwina Dennison
Production Credits – Assistant TV Producer: Lucia Fioravanti