VIDEO: Edinburgh Fringe bosses 'ban' huge vagina-shaped balloon flying over city for campaign

The campaign is by womens health and wellness brand, Elvie, designed to raise awareness around pelvic floor health.
The campaign is by womens health and wellness brand, Elvie, designed to raise awareness around pelvic floor health.
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More than 1,200 people have signed a petition after a women's health brand claimed Edinburgh Fringe bosses banned them from flying a vagina-shaped balloon over the Capital as part of a campaign.

Women's health and wellness brand, Elvie, wanted to fly the blimp to raise awareness of pelvic floor weakness.

Tania Boler, CEO and founder of Elvie.

Tania Boler, CEO and founder of Elvie.

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The group said their original plans included a pop-up on the Royal Mile but that the design on the outside of the structure was deemed unsuitable.

Elvie said they had commissioned a vagina-shaped blimp to be tethered in Festival Square to encourage people to visit the hashtag #LetFannyFly for people to find educational content around pelvic floor weakness, which can lead to incontinence. They claim that this idea was "shot down" by the council.

But the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society say that they have been working to find a space for Elvie on the High Street and that at no point have they banned them from participating.

A spokesperson for Elvie said the blimp now sits in a field half an hour outside of the city "just waiting for the opportunity to fly."

The statement says: "The reality is that pelvic floor issues are extremely common, affecting almost 10 million women in the UK. Yet, there is a cloak of silence shrouding this topic. It’s overlooked, or worse, treated as taboo and something to be ashamed of. We came to Edinburgh Fringe because we believed it was one festival that would not let taboos dictate their agenda.

"The fact that our campaign has been banned because it involves a part of a woman's anatomy shows that taboos around women’s health still run deep in our society. Vaginas are nothing to be ashamed of, half of us have them. And that’s hardly fringe now is it?

"Our mission is to help all women laugh freely and fully without the fear of embarrassment. We would welcome a change of heart by the Fringe and Council so that we may raise our balloon and join the festival as planned."

Elvie has partnered with pelvic floor physiotherapist and comedian Elaine Miller to combine humour and education around incontinence to tackle the health issue.

Elvie commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK women by OnePoll, which revealed 49 per cent of women in the UK admit to experiencing bladder leaks as a result of a simple laugh, with one in five describing their bladder as 'weak; or 'very weak.'

They also say that, with an estimated 2.8 million visitors to Edinburgh for the Fringe, their data suggests that 420,000 women could expect to experience embarrassing leaks during the month-long event, preventing them from enjoying all the Festival has to offer.

Elvie is encouraging people to sign their petition here to get their campaign off the ground.

A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said: "The Fringe Society have been liaising with a third party agency over the past few months regarding a space for Elvie on the High St and at no point have we banned them from participating.

The space in question is located right next to St Giles Cathedral and – alongside colleagues in City of Edinburgh Council – we have to consider the interests of multiple stakeholders when considering what activity can take place in that location.

"We have been supportive of Elvie’s initiative from the outset, and have offered their agency multiple alternatives (both in terms of separate sites across the Fringe and different ways of organising their stand on the High St), but sadly have not been able to reach an agreement with them to date.

"The Society remains open to discussions with Elvie to try and find a way forward that suits both parties."