The word period is not dirty. It doesn’t matter how many times we say it, sadly it still needs reiterating. While recently the voices of high-profile activists have been heard more loudly and clearly than ever before, societal stigmas still stick.
Just last year, period blood incited concern from Instagram reminding us all of the archaic feminine ideals at play on seemingly open online spaces.
‘Thank you @Instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique,’ said artist Rupi Kaur in response to Instagram’s decision to delete her post in 2016.
‘You deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. The girl is fully clothed. The photo is mine. It is not attacking a certain group. Nor is it spam, and because it does not break those guidelines I will repost it again. I will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. When your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified, pornified and treated less than human. Thank you,’ she continued.
After finding themselves become increasingly detached from waxed, non-menstruating and squeaky clean depictions of the female body, artists such as Rupi Kaur, Petra Collins, Harley Weir (and more), used their work to offer up all the more realistic interpretations.
Below, we have gathered anecdotes and imagery from artists around the world, who are owning their vagina and identity, and who we hope will offer up some inspo for those still searching for theirs.
“To all the young girls and women, do not let this discourage you, do not let anyone tell you what you should look like, tell you how to be, tell you that you do not own your body. Even if society tries to silence you keep on going, keep moving forward, keep creating revolutionary work, and keep this discourse alive. To those who reported me, to those who are disgusted by my body, to those who commented “horrible” or “disgusting” on an image of ME, I want you to thoughtfully dissect your own reaction to these things, please think about WHY you felt this way, WHY this image was so shocking, WHY you have no tolerance for it. Hopefully you will come to understand that it might not be you thinking these things but society telling you how to think.”
Follow Petra @petrafcollins
“Nature is always beautiful and also disgusting. Even the most beautiful people leak, bleed and shit.”
Follow Maisie @maisiecousins
“I bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. My womb is home to the divine. A source of life for our species. Whether I choose to create or not, but very few times it is seen that way. In older civilizations this blood was considered holy. In some it still is, but a majority of people, societies and communities shun this natural process. Some are more comfortable with the pornification of women, the sexualization of women, the violence and degradation of women than this. They cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that, but will be angered and bothered by this. We menstruate and they see it as dirty, attention seeking, sick, a burden, as if this process is less natural than breathing, as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. As if this process is not love, labour, life, selfless and strikingly beautiful.”
Follow Rupi @rupikaur_
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