Period Piece: Another collaboration with Lily
At this point in my life, I have no problem whatsoever with my period. Rather, I LOVE my cycle, and I do my best to learn about and connect with it as much as I can. But that wasn’t always the case. Like most girls in our society, I was taught to talk about it with hushed voices and women only, and to hide all evidence of my monthly bleeding, lest I would be up for some shaming. I vividly remember the stress in High School, fumbling awkwardly in the front pocket of my bag to try and inconspicuously grab a tampon, tightly clutching it in my hand all the way to the bathroom, hoping no one notices. But… Why?
As part of the system that gives us LIFE, about half of our population goes through a monthly period of pain and bleeding, and we tell them to… push it away, out of sight, out of mind? How does that make sense? Shouldn’t we instead give them our love and support? To address the absolute absurdity of this taboo, I collaborated again with the beautiful Lily and together we created a series of in-your-face photos, aimed at confronting the viewer with reality, and then ask that same question again - why is this wrong?
“Periods are gross”
When you think about it, the only “gross” or otherwise dubious part of periods is, potentially, the blood. Yes, blood can be scary, and a bad sign in the context of illness and injury. But blood also symbolizes the life running through our veins, and in the context of menstruation (as long as you’re not trying to get pregnant) is a good sign. It’s a sign of fertility, of your body working the way it’s supposed to; a symbol of renewal. It’s truly something to celebrate, if anything.
Of course, there’s no need to start wearing bled-through underwear as an accessory like in these pictures - we are still dealing with blood, and some level of privacy and hygiene is to be expected. HOWEVER, the sight of bloody panties shouldn’t be appalling, either. In my opinion, it should be regarded like any other blood-stained piece of clothing, because that’s what it is. The cause here is just quite clearly a person’s period. No biggie.
How can we better support people with periods?
First off, the reason I say “people with periods”, is because not all, nor only, women have periods. When talking about periods, it’s important to remember that there are trans men and non-binary folks who have periods, and trans women who do not. There are also of course cis women who for whatever reason don’t get a period. If you want to support those who get periods, it starts with including everyone who does. Periods can be particularly hard for transgender individuals as it can tie in to feelings of dysphoria, so they deserve even more support.
Secondly, we need to think AND TALK about periods and the issues we have with them. Especially if you are someone who doesn’t get a period, but also if you are - we have a lot of internalized bias and judgement when it comes to menstruation, and if we want to overcome that, it needs to be faced. So when you see these photos, or are confronted with the topic in another situation, think to yourself - what reaction do I have, why do I have that reaction, and is that the reaction I want to have? Who is it serving? Through reflection, and through talking about these reactions and feelings, we can change them. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, my Instagram inbox is open to all!
Lastly, and I direct my attention here particularly towards those who do not get periods - support your friend / partner / parent / whomever when they need it! Learn about menstruation and talk to your loved ones so you better understand what they go through, and don’t. question. them. It’s different for everyone. For example, some do get more irritable or cranky, due to hormonal changes (or excruciating pain), while others don’t. Either way, it’s a symptom, not a joke. Buy some chocolate. Offer a massage. Maybe start carrying some tampons or pads in your bag - who knows, you could really help someone out someday.
I could talk about the topic of periods forever, and I will definitely write more about the menstruation cycle from a different point of view later, but for now I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Now that you’ve seen the pictures and read the post, ask yourself again - Why is this wrong? If you still have an answer to that question, I’d love to hear it in the comments, here or on Instagram, where the discussion is already full-on going.
Also, don’t forget to check out Lily! She wrote her own beautiful blog post which is definitely worth checking out, and she creates awesome art which she shares on her Instagram account: @r_a_d__ish. She’s crazy talented!
WITH LOVE, Maud