Audiences are now demanding brands and influencers to take a real stand on societal issues and have open conversations, rather than just producing polished content and product promotions. This rise of authentic and inclusive conversations has become clear with our data showing major growth in conversations surrounding body positivity/acceptance and mental health.
This trend has also made it into the realm of women’s health, particularly with previously sensitive topics like fertility and miscarriages, which have seen a significant boost in conversation and engagement. In honor of National Women’s Health Week, we’ll investigate the data behind these rising women’s health topics, and highlight some brands and influencers who are contributing to these authentic and inclusive conversations.
Once taboo, conversations about periods, fertility, and miscarriages are now on the rise. Comparing 2019 to 2020, our data found that influencer conversations around fertility and miscarriages significantly increased across all social platforms, with engagements increasing by 160% and 107% respectively. These topics have continued to see sustained growth in 2021 (Jan-April), with engagements up 109% and 103% compared with the same period last year.
In our analysis of influencer content, it appears that they are focusing on educating their audiences on a variety of women’s health issues. For example, Dr. Kerry-Anne Perkins (@callmedoctor.p) is an OBGYN who shares educational content on topics like vaginal health, fertility, menopause, diet, and supplements. Dr. Perkins is pulling back the curtain on various women’s health topics and making information more accessible by creating TikTok videos that are upbeat, but also jam-packed with need-to-know information. We’ve also seen influencer conversations go beyond informational and get deeply personal and raw. For example, Bry Manesse (@thebabydustjourney), openly shared the emotional and mental hardships of her miscarriage on TikTok and walked her audience through the emotional and physical journey of becoming pregnant with her rainbow baby.
Another great impact that these open and honest conversations have had? Brands are now taking notice. Newer brands are taking a holistic approach to women’s health offering a variety of products. For example, Rael doesn’t believe feminine care should be used for only a certain time of the month, so their product portfolio ranges from period care to skincare. Not only are brands catering to more aspects of women’s health, they’re also standing up to societal issues.
The increased conversation around these types of topics have also opened a dialogue about inherent bias. The biggest example — the assumption that periods are only experienced by women.
Periods are already an isolating experience for trans, intersex, and non-binary individuals, equating periods to solely women is a tremendously harmful tendency. The experience of getting your period or picking out comfortable underwear can be filled with gender dysphoria. In response, brands are taking these issues head on and aiming to alleviate this discomfort.
For example, TomBoyX is an underwear company that caters to those who prefer less feminine undergarments, and Pyramid 7 is known for their boxer briefs that can comfortably house a sanitary pad. By featuring LGBTQIA+ models or not using models at all to display their products, these brands are also rewriting the narrative for how these products are featured on the human body.
Age-shaming has not only been used as a tactic to sell products to women for a long time, it continues the fallacy that a woman’s worth is based on her appearance. A few years ago, there was a call from consumers for brands to throw out the concept of "anti-aging." While some brands listened, others simply found new terms (e.g. “anti-wrinkle”) that weren't exactly the same, but served the same purpose. Now consumers have taken it a step further: they want open conversations about what it means to age.
Menopause has been a great example of these conversations getting the space they deserve. Comparing 2019 to 2020, our data showed an uptick of 63% in engagement surrounding menopause, and engagements are still up 45% in 2021 (Jan-April) compared with the same period in 2019. Influencers, like Meg Mathews (@megmathewsofficial), are breaking down the stigmas and bringing light to common menopause symptoms, like brain fog.
Brands are also following suit by providing a plethora of products to support women with their unique journey through this transitional time. From lotions and applicators to hair products and supplements, companies, such as Kindra and Better Not Young, have created a range of products to combat 34 common perimenopause symptoms that women can experience. These companies are revolutionizing the menopause narrative and empowering women to embrace this ordinary shift in life.
With around 6,000 women entering perimenopause every day, it’s hard to understand why brands haven’t focused their attention in this direction. In most cases where we see certain demographics being underrepresented, we start to see that consumers create their own products... which is exactly what’s happening in the menopause beauty space.
Rochelle Weitzner is a great example of one of these consumers - she founded Pause Well-Aging after feeling frustration about the products available to her. With Hot Flash Cooling Mist, Collagen Boosting Moisturizer and a Fascia Stimulating Tool, Pause Well-Aging created skin care products to make menopause better. The skincare brand fully embraces the evolution of aging with their term “Well-Aging” showing that there is nothing to be against when it comes to aging.
Another brand paving the way for a more inclusive future is the skincare brand, Faace. With their recent launch of the Menopause Faace lotion, they have committed to a portion of the proceeds from every sale be donated to The Menopause Charity. These efforts help support those who need help and advice to navigate the rollercoaster ride of menopause.
In 2020, the mental health conversation grew tremendously. In a recent data report, we found that posts about the topic increased by 48% and engagements in those posts were up by 115% (comparing 2020 to 2019). By influencers and consumers focusing on mental health and wellness, this previously stigmatized topic turned into an open, honest, and supportive dialogue.
Influencers continue to break down stigmas and judgements surrounding mental health in 2021, like Anna Wannquist (@annaboebana) and her “aggressive pep talks” and “daily mental health reminders” on TikTok. Along with influencers, brands are also prioritizing mental health and wellness by providing and advocating for more mental health resources.
From inception, Rare Beauty has embedded mental health into the DNA of the brand. The brand focuses their efforts in three main pillars: content, community, and the Rare Impact Fund- where the brand has committed to raise $100 million for mental health foundations over the next 10 years. Their recent mental health campaign advocates for more financial support of providing mental health services in educational settings. Through education and monetary giveback efforts, Rare Beauty is embodying authentic and inclusive conversations surrounding mental health.
The increase in open and honest conversation, coupled with brands providing more inclusive products, is a step in the right direction for women’s health issues. For brands looking to make a change: authenticity is key. Think beyond traditional monetary ROI, and invest in your communities by supporting organizations, working with representative influencers, and pushing yourself to continuously improve on how you engage with these topics.