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By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

July 11, 2022 | 4 min read

Health care brand Canesten, alongside agency partner AnalogFolk London, has launched a huge campaign to spread the truth about vulval and vaginal anatomy and health.

‘The Truth, Undressed’ film takes the form of a social media short, layered with images of fruits and illustrations – typical of what users might find if they search for information on the female anatomy. But, obviously, an orange is not a vagina, so the brand is encouraging viewers to visit its website to find truthful images of real bodies and educate themselves on women’s health.

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Once on the platform, users will have access to information about how female bodies look and behave, helping them become more informed and better armed to spot and address concerns about their own health.

Photography is a key element of this campaign and all images were shot by Sophie Mayanne, who is known for shooting Mothercare’s award-winning ‘Beautiful, isn’t she?’ campaign.

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“The truth of the female anatomy is dressed up in a societal culture of sex and defined as explicit by default. We live in a world where porn is readily available on the internet, yet many young people don’t know the first thing about what kinds of infections there are or even what the vulva is supposed to look like,” said Daria Costantini, brand lead for Canesten, Bayer Consumer Health UK.

“We hope that through this program we can start to move imagery of real vulvas away from a sexualized depiction and into an informative, educational space to equip young people with the essential information they need to better understand their bodies, as well as normalize conversations.”

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To coincide with the website and film, the program will also include comprehensive lesson plans that have been developed in partnership with The PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) Association to teach young people about vulval and vaginal anatomy and health.

This part of the project is a direct response to the staggering statistics that only 6% of UK women (aged 18-24) found out about intimate health conditions through school or university education, and just under two-thirds (60%) only found out about vaginal infections when they first experienced them. Sadly, research also revealed that 46% of women in the UK are worried about the appearance of their vulva, with many admitting they would change something about it if they could.

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“The lesson plans will support schools to teach this important health topic effectively and appropriately,” added Liz Laming of The PSHE Association.

“Until now, it has been difficult for young people to learn the facts about their bodies and understand vulval and vaginal health when historically the vast majority of images of vulvas represented in porn and other forms of media and popular culture have been both over-sexualized and depict a societally ‘perfect’ body, which is not representative of reality.”

‘The Truth, Undressed’ campaign is part of Vagina Academy, which is a global education activation Canesten and AnalogFolk first launched in February 2021 in Brazil.

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“No one should feel ashamed of having a vulva or a vagina or just saying these words, yet a lot of women find it hard to even talk about vulval and vaginal health issues with their doctors. That’s why we’ve created The Truth, Undressed: to cast shame and taboo aside,” added Amandine Fabian, creative director at AnalogFolk London.

“We used a bold look and feel and real photography that inspire self-confidence and empowerment to send one message across: vulvas and vaginas are just like any other part of the human body. The Truth, Undressed goes beyond a simple advertising campaign – it’s a shift in mindset.”

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