Libresse Malaysia backtracks on vulva-inspired ad after religious group calls it a ‘dishonour to women’

Should we be ashamed of the way women are created?

Feminine hygiene product company Libresse has pulled the plug on its ad placing the spotlight on the vulva after facing fierce criticism from a religious group.

In a statement on Thursday (Sept 16), YADIM Muslim Women’s Council (MAYA) chairperson Dr Safinar Salleh slammed the ad for “undermining the dignity of women and against the norms of decency in this country”.

Displaying the vulva motif openly on clothing, packages, bags, origami and other items, is not acceptable in our culture nor allowable according to our religious values.

Libresse takes a step back

In response to the backlash, Libresse Malaysia thanked the public for their feedback and announced its decision to withdraw the ad from all advertising platforms.

The brand also clarified that it had no intention of offending women.

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We have always stood for all women and our intention is to encourage all women to embrace their femininity and full potential.

A community divided?

Following the issue’s escalation, netizens have been largely split over the matter.

Several netizens voiced their support and praised Libresse for taking the bold step of dismantling the stigmatization of periods.

Through period education & art, Libresse Malaysia is trying to normalise what’s common to most women…periods and their vaginas/vulvas/labias.

Others also hit back at critics accusing Libresse of degrading women, calling it “ridiculous”.

What actually is degrading? Laws that treat women and girls as second class citizens are degrading.

Some, however, stood on MAYA’s side of the argument.

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Wardah Media has urged the public to boycott Libresse and claimed that it was promoting pornography.

“It’s disappointing”

Following Libresse’s decision to back down, some netizens expressed their dismay over their refusal to stand by the ad.

One netizen said that the ad was a good opportunity to educate and raise awareness on menstrual cycles.

Menstrual cycle and vaginal health should NEVER be sexualised. There is NOTHING to be ashamed about it.”

Screenshot: Facebook/ SubtleMalaysianTraits

What do you think? Did Libresse do the right thing with the ad? Let us know!

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Cover Images via Twitter/ jambufloyd and 988

Proofreader: Sarah Yeoh