Bayer’s intimate healthcare brand Canesten addresses its Brazialian audience by creating Vagina Accademy, an ongoing educational program that challenges social taboos rooted in harmful myths and misconceptions related to vaginal health.
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While Bayer’s intimate healthcare brand Canesten is available in Brazil’s consumer market, openly discussing vaginal health is still a social taboo rooted in harmful myths and misconceptions associated to lack of education. In fact, 1 in 4 Brazilian women admit being ashamed of even saying the word ‘vagina’, which poses huge issues for getting treatment when there’s a problem. And the issue has only been amplified amid Brazil’s current political scenario, with a conservative government backing abstinence-only rather than safe sex education.
Faced with a great challenge, Canesten decided to counter body shame with bad-assery, collaborating with multiple creators to help young people set themselves free from shame and discomfort by arming them with all the knowledge they need to understand how their vaginas work, empowering them to have honest conversations about their bodies, and giving anyone, anywhere, access to treatment.
Welcome to “Intensivão da PPK” (Vagina Academy), the shame-free, digital school of vaginal health that teaches young people everything they need to know about how a vagina behaves, in a fun and forthright way.
In Canesten’s school of vaginal health, students enroll, have lessons, share notes and take an exam, but unlike a real school, famous TikTokers are the teachers: interactive lessons (covering everything from clothing that upsets your vagina PH to the perception of ‘normal’ vaginas) are led by headteacher and pelvic physiotherapist Claudia Milan, body positive advocate Hana Khalil, and psychologist and comedian Pequena Lo, as credible experts in their fields – and bold, engaging and fun.
Since the launch of Canesten’s Brazilian pilot in February 2021, the channel has received over 44 million total video views, with 210,000 enrolled Brazilians, and 17,500 classrooms filled, in addition to driving the de-censorship of the word ‘vagina’ on TikTok, a world-first.
The ongoing educational programme has now rolled out in Italy and Australia, and will follow soon in the UK with an educational campaign including lesson plan materials developed in partnership with a national teaching syllabus association for use in secondary schools, plus a new microsite, PR and social media.
Whether through the unstereotyped representation in media imagery and inclusive language that form the educational content offered in its lessons, or the diverse team of empowered women who deliver them, Vagina Academy has been charting the path and breaking harmful gender and body stereotypes in Brazil, within a cultural context where social pressure on beauty standards set upon women is higher than ever. Vagina Academy’s media studies lessons, for example, teach a young audience that vaginas come in all shapes and sizes, addressing alarming statistics that show Brazil as the world’s leading country on labiaplasty procedures.
“As a global leading brand in the category, we see it as our responsibility to be an agent of positive change in pursuit of shame-free intimate health. The launch of Vagina Academy is the first step in our commitment to helping women of all ages and backgrounds to set themselves free from shame. By doing away with shame, bringing in easy and friendly education they will be able to truly understand their bodies, talk more openly about issues, care for themselves better and ultimately live their lives more fully,” said Patricia Corsi, Global Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at Bayer Consumer Health.