This new campaign about period poverty wants to make you angry

The #SeeingRed campaign aims to motivate people to take action about period poverty

Joanna Whitehead
Wednesday 05 May 2021 13:57
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Hey Girls UK release 'Seeing Red' campaign video
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A new campaign film about period poverty that has been scientifically designed to evoke anger and motivate viewers to take action has been unveiled.

Social enterprise Hey Girls aims to raise awareness about the scale of period poverty in the UK, where one in 10 young people are unable to afford period products.

The #SeeingRed campaign was created in conjunction with Dr Philip Gable, associate professor of psychological and brain science at the University of Delaware, to develop an emotion-driven film that utilises key stimuli to evoke anger in those who watch it.

Beginning with a “trigger warning” notice and the statement that “this film has been designed to provoke anger”, we watch a teenage girl get her period at school, while being inundated with quickfire shots of people laughing and poking her.

Viewers also see people struggling with “violations” such as street harassment; a young trans man discreetly trying to use period products in what appears to be a school toilet; while messages such as “calm down” and “it was only a joke” pop up in text speech bubbles, creating an overall sense of the challenges faced by women and non-binary people in society.

The not-for-profit group hopes that the film will prompt viewers to channel their feelings of anger into a force for good by backing the campaign.

A survey by the charity Plan International revealed that period poverty surged during the Covid-19 pandemic, with as many as one third of 14 to 21-year-olds struggling to access or afford period products during lockdown and resorting to using newspaper or other means as alternatives.

Celia Hodson, founder and CEO of Hey Girls CIC, said: “Period poverty in the UK, or anywhere for that matter, is something many of us aren’t aware of or feel inherently connected to. It is something that we should be angry about. Poverty is happening on our streets and is something each individual can help to change.”

“We hope #SeeingRed will put a bloody spotlight on the unjust realities of period poverty and encourage those who watch it to pay attention to the issue and then motivate them to do something about it,” she said.

“We want to show people how a simple switch in behaviour or small action, such as opting for one of Hey Girls’ period products, can directly support people in most need.”

The news comes as it was revealed that millions of young people who were promised free period products by the government are still not receiving them as less than half of schools and colleges have signed up to the scheme.

The government announced in spring 2019 that pupils at primary and secondary schools would be given free sanitary items from early 2020.

But data released in January shows 60 per cent of primary schools were yet to sign up to the scheme and 24 per cent of secondary schools were yet to sign up to the scheme.

Only 48 per cent – £2,791,000 – of the money the government allocated to programme has been spent.

Gemma Abbott, who campaigned for the scheme to be introduced, previously told The Independent: “We are facing the greatest recession since records began. We know families are under a great deal of financial pressure.

“And period poverty is just one facet of financial poverty. If you can’t afford food or are struggling to heat your house, period products will inevitably be a secondary concern,” she said.

To find out more about the #SeeingRed campaign, go to heygirls.co.uk/seeingred/

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