By: Allison Waldbeser
Although 2015 was the year of the period, we think EVERY year should be a time to bring menstruation to the public eye. Not only is it important to break the period taboo, but it’s crucial to be able to talk about menstruation without feeling uncomfortable, judgmental, or shameful.
Unfortunately there are some people who still hide tampons under their sleeves, skip fun activities due to their periods, and don’t know how to talk about menstruation without expressing some awkwardness. We’ve put together a list of four period activists who have inspired the world in some way with their amazing stories – and that you’ll probably want to be best friends with after.
1. Rupi Kaur
An overall badass – she’s a Canadian-based poet that writes about violence, abuse, love, loss, femininity, and the menstrual taboo. Though Kaur started writing at a young age, it wasn’t until 2015 where she posted a photo-series on her Instagram account to de-stigmatize the period taboo. Her picture (that showed herself lying on a bed with a period stain on her butt) was quickly removed *twice* by Instagram, but they later apologized and restored the picture after seeing the controversy it had caused on Facebook. Nice move, Instagram.
Her first book milk and honey made the New York Times bestseller list, which includes four chapters surrounding different themes such as “the hurting”, “the loving,” the breaking,” and “the healing”. Her poems have not only inspired people to become aware of the issues she addresses, but it has sparked a greater conversation and inspired others to be more vocal and in-touch with themselves.
2. Kiran Gandhi
Kiran, also known as the drummer for M.I.A., decided to bleed freely during the London Marathon in 2015. Why, you ask? For these bloody reasons: To raise awareness for those who can’t afford menstrual products and have to hide their period away, and for those who feel ashamed talking about their periods and pretend like it doesn’t exist. Kiran did not plan to have her period during the marathon, but her actions definitely had a positive impact in the menstrual activism world. Wearing a tampon for this event was simply not an option for her – why be uncomfortable for the comfort of others? Kiran thought it would be “absurd and oppressive that she should compromise her wellbeing, just so that other people didn’t feel grossed out”. Keep doing what you’re doing, Kiran, WE SUPPORT IT!
3. Lili Murphy-Johnson
Ever heard of period-inspired jewelry? Or did you ever think you could view PMS in jewelry form? Artist Lili Murphy-Johnson is changing the way people view menstruation by making art out of the personal experiences she’s had with menstrual cramps, PMS, and the desire she has to de-stigmatize periods, into a beautiful collection of jewelry. Her collection is a compilation of menstruation and the hardships the female body undergoes during this time. Her collection focuses on PMS, period products such as tampons, pads and sanitary towels, blood, and everything in between menstruating humans use to ease the pain. She hopes her pieces inspire positive conversations and shifts the concept of period stains towards a better light. Check out her collection here.
4. Jen Lewis
Jen Lewis takes her period blood to a whole new level and creates a collection of art pieces that her and husband, Rob Lewis, call Beauty in Blood. It all started one day after taking her menstrual cup out and having blood on her fingers, wondering why society thought menstruation was so disgusting (we don’t get it either!). Since then, her and her husband have created beautiful photographs using Jen’s own menstrual blood, and water. She wanted to create a visual that would make others see how unique each flow is and the beauty in the movement of the liquid. We LOVE her art pieces and wish we had a them on our walls! Check them out here.