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Viva la Vulva

Although a feminism fringe group today claims that vagina shouldn’t be used as the mascot for female power — since it is quite obviously not trans-inclusive and it would be a lot more empowering and rewarding for women to focus on their outstanding abilities and stamina, than to chant “Pussy Power” and flash their genitals —, many artists and brands still prefer to place the female organ at the center of their awareness campaigns. And maybe they have their own reasons.

In this case, the Swedish brand Libresse’s #BloodNormal campaign boldly challenged the stigmas around women’s periods — including, gasp, showing blood as red in an ad —, being rewarded with the Glass Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. “Media and advertising add to the stigma of periods as dirty and undesirable.” Ashley Tate said. “It wasn’t until 2017 that an advertisement for period products depicted period blood as red and not the innocuous blue liquid we’ve come to associate with those commercials.”

According to David Griner of Adweek: “Feminine product ads spent decades peddling shame and discomfort around the way women perceive their bodies, but there’s a new era dawning. And now it has an anthem.”

80s ad for Playtex Portables Tampons
Women’s March, London, UK, 19 Jan 2019 – Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz
Women’s March, London, UK, 19 Jan 2019 – Photo: Will Oliver/EPA
Frame from Viva la Vulva

The anthem is Viva la Vulva, a visually lush and wonderfully enjoyable piece of film that combines animation with inspired art direction, creating a range of vaginal metaphors that are bound to stick with you. From U.K. agency AMV BBDO, the ad probably wouldn’t work without the pitch-perfect track, Take Yo’ Praise from Camille Yarbrough, famously sampled by Fatboy Slim’s Praise You in 1998.

Along the same lines of Viva la Vulva, the brilliant animated documentary by Lori Malépart-Traversy, Le Clitoris, or maybe the vagina-celebratory mantra from Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: “Mea Vulva Mea Maxima Vulva”.

“Mea Vulva Mea Maxima Vulva” – Frame from Nymphomaniac by Lars von Trier
Frame from Viva la Vulva
Frame from Viva la Vulva

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