Bodyform is officially woman's best friend. The provider of essential period wares has released an advert showing a sanitary towel in action on TV, for what I believe to be the first time ever.
The groundbreaking ad shows a trapeze artist sat on the toilet, applying a sanitary towel to her leotard before she goes out into a circus arena to perform some badass stunts.
It shouldn't really be that big a deal, but it is. When I watched this advert I was amazed that a woman applying a sanitary towel to her pants had finally made it mainstream.
It's sad, really, that it's taken so bloody long to do.
For me, putting a sanitary towel on is the same as, say, blowing my nose - I probably do it about 10-20 times a month. This is why it surprises me that tissue adverts featuring people blowing their noses have been airing on our TV screens for yonks however sanitary towels had to hide away behind closed doors like they were something to be ashamed of.
I'm going to be honest with you now, when I first started my period, I didn't properly know what a sanitary towel was. I hadn't a clue what was hiding in those colourful little plastic wraps.
In fact, when I opened one out for the first time, I didn't know where I should be putting it or what I should be doing with it. I looked at it like it was some alien object.
My mum was away on holiday at the time and I was staying with my cousins (two of whom are male and one of whom is female and was about six years old). Thankfully my aunt intervened before I could attempt to stick the darn thing to the inside of my legs (I thought that was what the wings were for).
Reliving that rather baffling experience as a young teen, I'm really pleased to see that adverts are helping to a) ensure period stigma is well and truly smashed and b) educate future generations of girls.
Earlier this year Bodyform released another brilliant advert showing real blood - another TV first. In the ad, a range of women were filmed doing sports such as boxing and running, and drawing blood in the process. The tagline was: "Women bleed in sport all the time, but it doesn't hold them back. Why should periods be any different?"
Other people and companies have been helping to smash period taboos too. In March, Bristol-based company Coexist introduced a 'period policy' for its female workers, based on the idea that paying attention to employees' monthly menstrual cycle can be "good for business". Meanwhile in February, Superdrug announced it would refund Tampon Tax through its loyalty points system.
Last year, period subscription boxes became a 'thing', menstruation-inspired jewellery took off, and the creator of Lammily dolls introduced a period extension kit for young girls, so they could learn about periods while playing with the doll.
Menstruation - a perfectly natural bodily process - is no longer something to be embarrassed or ashamed of. It's being normalised and even heralded as something incredible. Something to be proud of.
I wholeheartedly believe all of the work that is being done to de-stigmatise periods will only have positive repercussions for future generations of women and young girls.
Thanks to Bodyform's new advert - and the many other companies and movements helping to normalise periods - girls like my younger self will no longer feel ashamed or terrified by menstruation. They'll feel empowered by it instead.
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