Have you noticed recently that periods are having a bit of a resurgence lately? People are no longer whispering the word, 'period' or 'menstrual', but reclaiming it, stating it matter of factly, proudly even. Period shaming is coming to an end. And we think it's about bloody time too, pun intended.
Periods hit the headlines
The debate made the mainstream headlines in 2015 when Instagram created controversy after removing Rupi Kaur’s photo showing period blood.
thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. 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. this image is a part of my photoseries project for my visual rhetoric course. you can view the full series at rupikaur.com the photos were shot by myself and @prabhkaur1 (and no. the blood. is not real.)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.
And the momentum returned more recently in October 2017 when Bodyform switched tact and abandoned the alien blue liquid from their adverts; they became the first brand to use a red liquid.
In an era of photoshop editing and Instagram filters it is refreshing to see something as common to humanity as periods finally being portrayed realistically. It shouldn't be ground-breaking in 2017 but when the term 'fake news' became the word of year, it almost feels revolutionary.
The red liquid is featured in part of their campaign, #bloodnormal, with the slogan, "Periods are normal. Showing them should be too."
There is no such thing as a happy period
We've come a long way since the 80s Tampax ad with Courtney Cox - and yes, it's definitely worth watching
But the tide did turn, do you remember Bodyform's hilarious reaction to a viral post from Richard back in 2012? They come clean and shatter the illusion and admit, "Sorry Richard, there's no such thing as a happy period."
Starting a global conversation about periods.
But away from good branding, there have been other great initiatives tackling the period taboo globally as well. One such example is Pravin Nikam aka The Period Man on a one man mission to get men and women talking more about periods in India and challenging taboos that have a detrimental impact on young girls.
In a similar vein Aditi Gupta talks about her comic book ‘Menstrupedia’ in an enlightening TEDtalk.