Social media is heavily integrated into our daily lives, but where do we draw the line between the personal and the uncomfortable?
A yoga instructor in Texas recently posted a video of herself bleeding through her white pants on Instagram in an attempt to end the stigma surrounding menstruation.
With a considerable disdain for menstruation — a process that happens once a month for the majority of the female population — the need to unpack period stigma becomes evident.
While her efforts were valiant, I don’t think her approach to de-stigmatising periods was the right one.
Seeing images of someone’s bodily fluids may only provide unsolicited shock value. Shock value can capture someone’s attention and spark conversation around the topic, but for squeamish people, shock value only serves to be inconsiderate.
Although bodily fluids are seen at hospitals or in movies, they are generally not seen on social media because people can be appalled by its unconventional presence.
There are many people, myself included, who feel faint at the sight of blood, even though blood is natural.
With this being said, I believe that there are many other ways to de-stigmatise periods.
Red fluid can be used in period commercials rather than blue to convey that periods aren’t some mystical process. It can also provide a more accurate representation to what a period looks like.
We can continue to portray periods in other art forms like movies, TV shows or contemporary art to reduce their shock value and normalise them in society. Period portrayal in other art forms is less unsolicited because they are viewed voluntarily and also with ratings/warnings beforehand.
One great example of using period blood in art was Sarah Levy's painting of Donald Trump. After Donald Trump infamously made an insult at Megyn Kelly, saying: "You could see that there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her ... wherever," Levy used her period blood to bring attention to Trump's sexist comments and stop period shame.
She believes that menstrual shame is related to the overall body shame that many girls and women in our society are raised to feel. She thought the message would be more powerful if delivered in a humorous way.
We can talk about periods in our daily lives and how it impacts our schoolwork, exercise and more. By introducing periods into our daily discourse, the notion of periods will become more normalised. In general, people will become more desensitised to menstruation and hopefully realise that it is a natural process that the female population goes through.
We can encourage more attendance for sex-themed talks at university or make more of them mandatory because menstruation is a widely misunderstood concept that stems from the female reproductive system.
As a woman, I recognise the importance of eliminating period stigma. The menstrual taboo is destructive and absurd, but there are many ways to eliminate the stigma surrounding menstruation. Let’s achieve period positivity without having to post our bodily fluids on social media.