Feminine hygiene brand Libresse has retracted its advertisements that featured illustrations of flowers inspired by vulvas after a small group of conservatives described it as a “dishonor to women.”
The artwork was no longer available on its online platforms today, after Libresse on Friday apologized to the Yadim Muslim Women’s Council, even as thousands, including a celebrity, defended the the sanitary pad brand. The group with under a thousand followers, also known as Maya, was insisting that the female genitalia was being misused for promotional purposes.
“To misuse an image of women’s private part on the advertisement design of your sanitary products is dishonour to women,” said the statement by Maya, led by Islamic law professor Safinar Salleh.
The Muslim group, which has a little more than 800 followers on its Facebook page, also framed the floral illustrations as exploitative.
“To widely promote it as a motif on your sanitary pad packaging, a design on our national heritage of kebaya in your ‘V-Kebaya’ campaign, and as origami in your ‘Know Your V’ campaign are also considered exploitation of women’s bodies in advertising.”
Libresse said they did not intend to offend anyone with the artwork and subsequently withdrew the ad.
“We understand your concerns and we have withdrawn a particular advertisement from various advertising channels,” the brand wrote on a Friday Instagram post. Today, the V-Kebaya ads can no longer be found on Libresse’s official website and social media accounts.
“As an inclusive brand we value every voice, we are actively engaging with the community members who expressed their views and shared their advice with us,” Libresse added.
Besides ads, the offending V-Kebaya campaign included sanitary pads wrapped in illustrations of chrysanthemum and peony flowers inspired by the shape of the vulva, based on a modern interpretation of the traditional Nyonya Kebaya dress worn by the Peranakan community in Malaysia.
Many came to Libresse’s defense online, including Malaysian actress Sharifah Amani, who tweeted a photo of herself with a pack of pads, saying, “Know your body. Talk about it. Thank you @Libresse_MY for always encouraging healthy conversations about our bodies. Know and love your body.”
Nadiahhamzah_ chimed in: “What a shame Libresse had to take down their Know Your V campaign after all that flak. It was a daring attempt to get the conversation started and for all of us women to be informed.