Let me tell you a little story. When I was nine we had our first 'period' talk at school. A note was sent home to our parents, we all giggled and secretly looked forward to it as we'd finally lay the playground rumours to rest. My mum was one of the only parents to come along to the session; I was mortified. In retrospect I know she was being supportive and open with me, but at the time I was soooo embarrassed... you just don't talk about your noo-nah in front of your mum! Periods were a no-go area, a huge taboo and something that was kept secret because you were just to humiliated to talk about it.
Fast forward a few years, I was at secondary school and the 'Tampax Lady' came in to give us the updated version. (This time it contained a little bit of willy talk, but all in all just about periods again.) The best thing about this was we were in an all girls school now so we could discuss freely and grab as many boxes of tampons as we could carry. We got those ugly blue plastic boxes too - you know the ones, they were really unsubtly to carry your tampons in but everyone knew what they were anyway. Periods were becoming easier to talk about and now we even had accessories.
Fast forward a few more years and the way we think about our time of the month has completely changed. It's no longer quietly whispered, it's shouted from the rooftops in the form of a bucking bronco, Mother Nature's pearls and 'woooooaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh bodyfooooorrrrrrmmmmm, bodyform for yoooouuuuu!' I feel like some genius stood up in a boardroom and went: "Hang on a minute... every woman on this planet is using these products every four weeks. Maybe we can go somewhere with this and make a bit of dosh on the side too."
Not only are the products now advertised next to the news instead of just 'lady programmes', but the companies are realising that us ladies will accessorise anything we can. Remember the Jemma Kidd lipgloss giveaway last year with every purchase of Always? When you've got a market that needs a functional product, why not make it a bit of fun too? Now Bodyform are re-launching their cult towel tins, periods are fashionable again... literally. After I saw the advert I went on the hunt to four different shops until I found some of the free tins; then I bought two packs of towels that I won't even use just so I could get the funky tins. They have the message "I'm such a show off. I talk loud and I don't apologise. Why should I?" Exactly.
My favourite find of the day though has to be Carefree who are currently giving away free knickers with every pack - yep, free knickers. Brands are starting to understand that, like everything else we buy, offers and freebies will influence us. Periods are a fact of life and alongside them go tampons and towels. With girls being confident and sure of themselves younger and younger, we're all proud of who we are and what's in our handbag. (No more 'is that a sweet?' - the crappest campaign ever.) However, even though I'm not in the slightest bit embarrassed to go and buy a box of Tampax from Boots, I know the boys at the tills are... so, yep, I head straight for their bright red faces!
What do you think about the way in which our lady-times are treated by brands now? Do you want freebies or just great technology that makes the crappy times a bit more bearable? Or do you really care?