Embarrassing Bodies - Encouraging a change in perceptions to embrace our quirks

As part of the Cheltenham Science Festival, the Embarrassing Bodies’ doctors, Dr Dawn Harper and Dr Christian Jessen, will be presenting a behind the scenes look at the show.

On the surface, Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies might seem like it’s created to shock us as a nation, and to some extent that’s true. However, there are underlying effects from the show which encourage us to be more open about our bodies and to challenge our perception of what’s normal.

The Embarrassing Bodies doctors show absolute professionalism towards their patients. They are matter of fact and help to find a solution to the problem. It may not make people want to share their problems with the nation, but it may, however, nudge them towards their GP.

Part of our job at Gravitas PR is to confront and shift public behaviour – helping to create new social norms. We have previously encouraged conversations around taboo topics and created an online community for women to share ‘intimate’ problems to help people realise they’re not alone in their issues. By encouraging the media to talk about these issues we help raise awareness and help soften any ‘embarrassing’ factor.

Another campaign we worked on was to encourage the public to think more about protecting their eyes from UV rays. We are all familiar with how damaging the sun can be to your skin but not many know they should protect their eyes too. We worked to share the dangers with the media and explained how to protect eyes from the sun in an effort to encourage more people to wear sunglasses.

We’re currently working on a menopause campaign and it is surprising the number of women who put up with a number of problems because they just believe it is part of going through the menopause. And it’s not surprising after hearing all of the scare stories that are so readily available. We also found that a lot of women don’t know who to turn to. By encouraging conversations women can be more open with each other, share their experiences and if something isn’t right, support one another in finding the answer.

The new Bodyform advert is tackling taboos surrounding periods with the message “No blood should hold us back”. It is created to challenge period perceptions and encourage women not to be held back from exercise if they’re on their period.

No one is the same; we’re all different and have our individual ‘body quirks’. Some may be more unusual than others, but as a nation we seem to be more understanding and accepting of these differences. It’s now up to us to make these conversations the norm so that no one has to suffer their quirks in silence.



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