Sometimes it’s difficult for women to speak openly about their menstrual cycles -- just think about all of the hilarious euphemisms for periods that are out there. Now Kotex is trying to make women more comfortable discussing their periods openly in China, AdAge reported. And they’re using social media to do it.
The feminine hygiene brand is sponsoring a five-episode video series titled “Stuff Girls Don’t Say,” aimed at young women in their teens and 20s. Sina Weibo, a microblogging website which has 300 million Chinese users, acts as a host for these videos. They all feature the fictional female character An Xiaoqi, a young woman living in Shanghai. The character existed prior to Kotex’s involvement, and already had about 150,000 fans on Sina Weibo, according to a press release. “[We wanted to be] able to build personal relationships with our target audience in a way that wasn't "advertising' or selling, but more da jiejie [female mentor] in style," Bill Li, Asia Pacific senior e-marketing manager at Kimberly-Clark, the corporation behind Kotex, told Ad Age.
The lighthearted videos feature Xiaoqi and friends in situations where they probably would want reliable feminine hygiene product -- such as in the middle of a lunch date or during a busy day at the office. Two of them star Xiaoqi as talk-show host nicknamed “Da Qi Ma,” a play on the slang term “Da Yi Ma,” a popular Chinese period euphemism, reported AdAge. Xiaoqi doles out advice to young women, letting them know that white clothing is OK to wear while you have your period -- just don’t forget to use a little protection. The videos also focus exclusively on sanitary pads, as tampons are less common in China.
Kotex apparently hopes that these videos will get women talking more openly about their periods, and eventually the brand. According to a press release:
The Weibo-driven campaign was designed to raise awareness about the Kotex brand, educate women about personal care issues and eliminate the stigma surrounding the subject of menstruation.
The menstruation taboo is hardly specific to China. Always became the first company to run a feminine hygiene ad using the color red to depict the blood that ends up on menstrual products (just one red dot). And in May, VICE contributor and photographer Emma Arvida Bystrom shot a series of photos titled “There Will Be Blood,” depicting women bleeding through their clothing. The photos generated a discussion about the “shock value” of menstrual blood, and revealed the discomfort still associated with the subject. It remains to be seen what An Xiaoqi’s contribution to that dialogue will be in China.
Related on HuffPost: Period Euphemisms In Movies
'Clueless': 'Surfing The Crimson Wave'
One of the many reasons to love "Clueless" and it's heroine, Cher, are these words from the beginning of the movie: "Mr. Hall, I was surfing the crimson wave. I had to haul ass to the ladies'." That will be the last time Mr. Hall publicly asks her why she's late. The movie was an adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma," where of course such a direct referral to menstruation would be hard to find, but it is fair to note that with so many female characters in a single novel, it is no wonder that some were "indisposed" from time to time. You can find the sound clip <a href=" http://www.hark.com/clips/bvpydfrcfg-mr-hall-i-was-surfing-the-crimson-wave" target="_hplink">here.</a>
'My Girl': 'I'm Hemorrhaging!'
"My Girl's" Vada is much more knowledgable than your average 11-year-old in many ways. But the tomboy, who's mainly been raised by her father, is not ready for puberty's most dramatic act. After her unsettling discovery in the bathroom, she runs around the house in a panic looking for her father and comes across her potential step-mother. In a phrase that betrays both her know-it-all attitude and her confusion, she says, "I'm hemorrhaging." And after a little lesson from her stepmother, she assaults her poor best friend for being a boy. Oh, puberty.
'Carrie': 'You're A Woman Now'
In what is possibly the worst mother-daughter sex talk ever filmed, Carrie gets emotionally (and physically) assaulted by her mother. After telling her daughter, "You're a woman now," she tries to makes Carrie -- who is looking for a slightly clearer description of her situation -- repeat verses she has read to her from the Bible and slaps her when she doesn't comply. While this would have been extremely disturbing regardless of the circumstances, it becomes slightly more traumatizing considering the scene preceding it where Carrie gets her first period in a very unfortunate location, the shower of the locker room. As Carrie tries to figure out why blood is gushing from between her legs, her classmates realize the real reason and start laughing and throwing tampons and sanitary pads at her, creating what could only be described as the worst first period experience, ever.
'Forgetting Sarah Marshall': 'Time Of The Month'
The protagonist Peter's ex-girlfriend Sarah Marshall has a television show, "Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime" in the comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." "Crime Scene" is an hilarious exaggeration of the overuse of puns and mind-bending catch phrases on crime scene shows. In the clip from the show that Peter ends up having to watch on his way to Hawaii, Detective Hunter Rush has a very unique answer to why there is an excessive amount of blood on the victim, "He was either stabbed in the aorta or it was his time of the month." Who says a little period humor can't lighten the mood at a crime scene? You can watch the clip <a href="http://www.metacafe.com/watch/an-O3S_Y4YYhubm/forgetting_sarah_marshall_2008_flying_to_hawaii/" target="_hplink">here</a>.
'Ginger Snaps': 'The Curse'
<em>(Start watching from 3:10)</em> The Canadian movie "Ginger Snaps" revolves around the high school experiences of two outcast sisters. In addition to dealing with sex, parents and the general pain of being 16, Bridgette and Ginger have to deal with another challenge: Ginger gets bitten by a wild animal and gradually transforms into a werewolf. As if this isn't enough to deal with, she gets her period. When Ginger realizes that she got her period for the first time (as they are trying to remove a dog's dead body) she says, "B, I just got the curse" to her sister who is 15 and also hasn't had her first period."Ew," Bridgette replies, apparently more grossed out by this news than the carcass in her hands. "Curse" fits nicely with the supernatural elements of the movie, but drawing a parallel between menstruation and becoming half animal probably doesn't send the best message out of context.
'Juno': 'The Rag'
It's not surprising to see menstruation included in "Juno," a movie that revolves around a young woman's first sexual experience, childbirth and motherhood. In one of the scenes, Paulie and Juno end up being lab partners with a rather tense couple. After the girl declares that she has a "menstrual migraine," they get into an argument with her boyfriend who says, "Call me when you get off the rag!" Seeing a teenager use such a dated term and Juno's expression when she hears it together make this one of Hollywood's unforgettable period euphemism moments. Watch it <a href="http://candice-accola.net/videos/films/films-juno-001/" target="_hplink">here</a>.
'No Strings Attached': 'Crime Scene'
In the recent romantic comedy "No Strings Attached," Emma and her roommates share a menstrual cycle and a "girl's night in" where there is no shortage of ice cream or cramps. Her friend (with benefits) Adam pays the apartment a visit and lends the women an understanding ear. "It's like a crime scene in my pants," says roommate Patrice as she lays on the floor. But Adam hasn't arrived at the party empty-handed; he brings a "period mix" for Emma that has songs such as "Red Red Wine," "Evenflow," and "Sunday Bloody Sunday."