A popular yoga instructor took to Instagram to make a powerful statement about period shaming -- though some felt as though she took it too far.
Steph Gongora posted a photo of herself dressed entirely in white while on a yoga mat, with her legs spread out wide. What showed between her legs, however, was a small red spot. She explained her controversial photo in the accompanying caption.
I am a woman, therefore, I bleed. . It's messy, it's painful, it's terrible, & it's beautiful. . And yet, you wouldn't know. Because I hide it. . I bury things at the bottom of the trash. I breathe, ragged and awkward through the cramps, all the while holding onto this tight lipped, painted on smile. . Tampons? What are those. We don't say those words out loud. Hide them. In the back pocket of your purse, in the corner of the bathroom drawer, at the very bottom of your shopping cart (please let me get a female cashier). . Events or engagements get missed. I'll tell myself it’s the PMS, sure, but it has more to with the risk of being "caught," at what...I'm not quite sure. . And I’m lucky. . Over 100 million young women around the globe miss school or work for lack of adequate menstrual supplies, & fear of what might happen if the world witnesses A NATURAL BODILY FUNCTION. . WHY? . Because hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed. Have left us feeling dirty and ashamed. . STOP PRETENDING. Stop using silly pet names like Aunt Flo because you're too afraid to say "I'm bleeding" or "vagina." Stop wasting so much effort hiding the very thing that gives this species continuity. . START talking about it. Educate your daughters. Make them understand that it can be both an inconvenience and a gift, but NEVER something to be ashamed about. Educate your sons so they don't recoil from the word tampon. So when a girl bleeds through her khaki shorts in third period (pun intended), they don't perpetuate the cycle of shame and intolerance. . This #StartSomethingSunday , I want to highlight @corawomen . .
Cora Women is a 100% Organic tampon company. . But that’s not all. They are also breaking barriers. Making it ok to talk about periods, even on social media. Providing personalized, delivered tampon/pad orders right to your door. AND for every box purchased, donating a box of sustainable pads to girls who can't afford menstruation products. . Fuck yeah. That's the kind of stuff I can galvanize behind, no money or even product needed. Just a mission I support on a topic we should ALL be talking about.
The issue of menstruation being a taboo subject is something that has been debated for decades, but the feminist movement has catapulted it into the mainstream consciousness as a hot button issue. Some see posts like Gongora’s as inappropriate and too graphic to be seen. Many women, however, feel strongly that periods are a natural occurrence and should not be shamed.
Poet and womanist Dominique Christina told The Independent her thoughts:
There is a culture of shaming around women's bodies particularly as it relates to menses.
I sat in Sunday School listening to stories about how corrupt the world was and that the catalyst for evil was a woman. That this woman, for her sin, was "cursed" with blood. Now, as a little girl, that is an incredibly [stigmatizing] picture of woman. For me it was like, oh great, so my body is evidence of God's punishment? I am the accursed one? I come with a borrowed rib and the "imposition" of blood because God was displeased. And apparently I was also [an] evil temptress who contributed to the "fall of man". Gotcha. There is no daylight in that constructed narrative for women.