Blood in the shower: a visual history of menstruation and clean bodies

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In 2017, pad brand Bodyform® launched the ‘Blood Normal’ campaign. By depicting realistic-looking blood, the campaign marked a first for a disposable menstrual product. In the advertising video, blood was shown trickling down the thighs of a showering woman. Despite its novelty, the image of the bleeding woman in water calls back to longstanding debates about menstruation, water and cleanliness. In this article, I discuss the visual and cultural history of this imagery, exploring how Bodyform®’s campaign compares to older narratives. Drawing from ethnographic material, critical menstrual literature, and historical research, the article investigates how the seemingly groundbreaking ‘Blood Normal’ campaign leans on decades of links between periods, water and cleanliness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
JournalVisual Culture and Gender
Early online date19 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


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