Ads for sanitary pad in M’sia withdrawn after backlash for motif resembling vulva

The brand clarified that it is not their intention to offend any woman or community.

Tanya Ong | September 20, 2021, 12:46 PM

If one isn't paying too much attention, nothing seems out of the ordinary here:


Just a bunch of sanitary pads.

Look a bit closer, however...

This too.


These prints were part of feminine hygiene brand Libresse's promotional advertisement for the "V-Kebaya" series, featuring limited edition sanitary pads.

The packaging fuses a kebaya-inspired print with floral motifs resembling female private parts.

These pads were also part of a long-term Know Your V campaign, the brand's campaign to educate women about their bodies.

The campaign launched sometime last year, according to Branding In Asia, involving the release of a campaign film.

Under this campaign, there was also a tutorial on how to fold origami paper resembling a vulva, Malaysia Kini reported.

"Not acceptable": Maya

Safinar Salleh, chairman of Yadim Islamic Women's Council (Maya), released a statement on Sep. 16 addressing the campaign, claiming that the image of a woman's private part has been "misuse[d]".

Maya is a Muslim women's council under Yadim, an Islamic foundation under the Prime Minister's Department.

Citing religious values, Safinar said that such displays of the vulva motif is "not acceptable". The vulva motif not only "undermines the dignity of women," but also "violates the norms of decency in our Malaysian society".

She added that women's private parts should not be used as campaign material as it is "disrespectful" and degrading towards women.

The full statement:

A day later, on Sep. 17, non-profit organisation Wardah Media also criticised the campaign, calling it an insult to women.


The ad, however, received a range of responses on Twitter, with some highlighting that there was nothing "degrading" nor "offensive" about the packaging.

Libresse: "Not our intention to offend any woman"

Nevertheless, the advertisements have been withdrawn following criticisms.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Sep. 16, Libresse thanked everyone for feedback and said that the advertisement has been taken down from various advertising channels.

"It is not our intention to offend any woman or community," the brand wrote.

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

They also said that they are "actively engaging" with the community members who have expressed their views.

Top photo via Jambufloyd/Twitter.