The Period Purse targets menstruation embarrassment

A new campaign from the non-profit aims to fight stigma by encouraging people to "say the word."

The word “period” makes some people squeamish. Period.

“Say the Word” is the latest effort to make the topic more mainstream from The Period Purse, a non-profit that “strives to achieve menstrual equity” by providing free menstrual products and education focused on reducing stigma. After all, menstruation affects approximately half the world’s population, and yet is often treated as a taboo topic.

Developed by agency Doug & Partners, “Say the Word” uses video to disabuse preconceptions and to normalize discussions surrounding the fact that one in seven Canadian girls miss school due to a lack of menstrual supplies, and one in three women under 25 struggle to pay for them.

“There’s this huge menstrual wave happening across Canada,” says Jana Girdauskas, who founded The Period Purse in 2017. “I think people are saying, ‘hey, this is something that we need to talk about [in the open to] really reduce the stigma.’

Girdauskas says the campaign’s premise is that acceptance will come with repetition. In each of the three unique videos, repeating the term “period” over and over again adds a dose of humour. The campaign elements include video, social and as a suite of custom GIFs searchable through the hashtag “#SayTheWordPeriod.”

Many marketing efforts in the feminine hygiene space have been focused on reducing period stigma. In 2016, Cossette created “No Shame” on behalf of subscription delivery service Easy, focused on eliminating stigma with artistic yet frank images of menstruation, such as tampon strings and blood floating in bath water. In February, The Diva Cup urged women to question traditional feminine hygiene products through its “Inner Revolution” campaign, promoting itself as an eco-friendly tampon alternative.