Hollywood actress Jessica Biel has launched a sex education online video project to help women learn more about their bodies and break the stigma surrounding menstrual health and reproduction.
Biel teamed up with activist Saundra Pelletier to create sex education content that will educate women how their bodies work as a way of helping them build confidence and not be afraid or embarrassed about their natural functions.
According to People magazine, the idea came after many questions the actress herself had about her body when she was trying to conceive. Talking to Glamour magazine, Biel said:
"Suddenly I realized I really didn't know what's going on inside my own body. It was shocking."
For Biel, women have to garner the "courage to stand up for what [they] believe in" and to help women do that, she wants more educational resources that discuss reproductive health and other sex ed issues including puberty, contraception, menstrual health, pregnancy and more.
"This campaign has everything to do with women's bodies," Pelletier says. "There is no topic that is off-limits."
The aim of this digital initiative is to educate women about their bodies so that they build confidence and not feel embarrassed or frightened about what's happening to them when they are teens, when they get pregnant and after they give birth.
"We want girls to know what their [body is going through] so they don't feel scared or ashamed or gross," Biel told Glamour. Pelettier added: "There is power and dignity in understanding your body."
Sandra Pelletier is the founder of WomanCare Global, a non-profit that is making it possible "for all women to have choices when it comes to their reproductive health—no matter where they live." Now she wants to bring this information to girls across the US:
"More than half of our nation's pregnancies are unplanned, and just 22 states require public schools to teach sex education," she said. "Jessica and I realized we can help change this."
Among the most stigmatized menstrual health issues is a woman's first period. Biel shared her own first-time story hoping women across the world would not feel embarrassed about openly discussing their own.
"I was in a school play, wearing a gray beard and this pad the size of a skateboard and thinking, âWhat is happening to me?'"
The cultural stigma and silence that revolve around menstrual health makes life difficult for women, especially in developing countries. It is believed that 10% of girls miss school because of hygiene products' high cost and lack of appropriate school facilities. Project Dignity, Pelletier's other initiative, offers free reusable hygiene products in a bid to combat the issue.