Animation studio Animade has created a social media campaign for charity Bloody Good Period featuring a pretty adorable uterus character going through a range of emotions typically associated with menstruation, from rage to lust. Bloody Good Period is a charity that provides menstrual products and education to asylum seekers and refugees. The aim of the GIF campaign, which has been rolled out across the charity’s social media channels, is to open up the conversation around periods as well as encourage people to support its important work.
Animade senior creative Frida Ek explains that the idea for the unusual approach came from seeing an image of the menstrual cycle represented by different emojis on Bloody Good Period’s Instagram. “It was such a simple yet relatable concept and I felt that it was something I’d love to explore more,” the director tells It’s Nice That. Much of the discussion around periods tends to focus around blood and tampons, or the physical effects, but Ek saw potential in portraying the emotional ups and downs. “The uterus is so powerful and amazing but can definitely be a bit of a prankster too and we wanted to make something fun and lighthearted about the subject,” she says. “Having the uterus personify each emotion felt like a fun and friendly way to connect with people and continue the work of BGP to help break stigma around all things surrounding periods.”
Ek put a lot of effort into turning the uterus into a lovable and relatable character. “When designing the uterus, I knew that the main shape had to be instantly recognisable, even when we added legs and turned the fallopian tubes into arms,” she says. “The design of the face itself was also very important, allowing it to express an array of emotions so that we could form that instant relationship with the viewer.” Getting the texture and colour right was also essential to the feel of the campaign. “I didn’t want it feeling like an actual organ but rather something friendly and squishy that you’d enjoy looking at, like a nice, shiny gummy.”
Ek opted for a gender-neutral characterisation of the womb, which is refreshing in comparison to the way many companies approach period products. The series also challenges the gendering of characters in animation in general. “There has been a long practice of slapping eyelashes or lips onto a character to signal that it is female, and it’s so engrained in us that a character with a pair of regular round eyes is often instinctively read as male,” Ek says. “I personally find it more interesting to see work that goes against those sort of tropes, and to try to break these templates that feel quite dated and murky.” Even if the majority of people with uteruses identify as women, there are still many that don’t, Ek reminds us. “With the focus of the project being to make something relatable, it didn’t feel necessary to assign the character a specific gender.”
The result is an endearing selection of GIFs that are heartwarming and approachable, accompanied by playful sound design by Sounds Like These. Ek says, “I’d love for people to get some joy out of the animations and hopefully even see themselves in them; be it due to a bad case of PMS, being in peak ovulation mode or just waking up too early on a Monday morning!”
Animade: Angry uterus for Bloody Good Period