Philly Woman Instagrams Period Blood, World Freaks Out
If you are a woman living in 2015, chances are, you’ve scurried to the bathroom with a tampon or pad tucked up your shirt sleeve or in your back pocket or maybe even in your waistband — you know, if it’s summertime and you don’t have shirt sleeves and your back pocket is exposed to the world (i.e. your coworkers). Because periods aren’t supposed to be talked about and evidence of them is certainly not supposed to be seen. At least that’s how we’ve all been conditioned. But one Philly woman, Louelle Denor, a philosophy student at Temple, has taken to Instagram to counter this idea with a very bloody selfie capturing her face, a Softcup, and a hand covered in period blood.
It’s come to my attention that women are having their accounts banned for showing menstrual blood (and no nudity). This is very seriously fucked up. If this was a picture of blood from a finger laceration, there’d be no issue. Yes, this blood is from my #vagina . It happens every month. The thing I’m holding in my hand is a #softcup #menstrualcup and it’s awesome but messy to remove. #periodblood #menstrualblood #iamafeminist #femenism #feminist #equality #menstruation #blood #bloodyfingers #periodshame #havingmyperiod
The photo above, posted two weeks ago, has gotten Louelle Denor a good amount of attention. A few minutes ago, a coworker sent me an article from The Independent, based in the UK, discussing the backlash from the photo — read: people telling Denor to “kil yourself now plz” — and two days ago, after receiving several scary comments, Denor herself wrote a piece on Medium titled “I Posted a Picture of Menstrual Blood. Now People Want Me Dead,” explaining her original intentions in posting the photo, and how peoples’ reactions (i.e. lots of crazy comments) showcase a bigger problem.
So, why did she post this bloody period pic, you ask? Well, as some of you might remember, a few months back, another woman posted an Instagram photo featuring period blood. The photo was removed by Instagram, and the Internet promptly freaked out about Instagram promoting the idea that menstruation, a normal bodily function that most healthy women experience on the regular, should be hidden. As Denor explains in her piece on Medium, in posting this photo, she was “standing in solidarity with women” who’ve had their Instagram photos deleted for showing menstrual blood. (It’s worth noting, Instagram hasn’t removed Denor’s photo.)
She goes on to make the point that we see blood all the freakin’ time, but when it’s period blood, it’s suddenly considered offensive — offensive enough to get you banned from Instagram in some cases, and to help you rack up a ridiculous amount of comments that many would consider to be much (much) more offensive than said photo.
I’m going to go ahead and say that I, woman and all, am not really interested in seeing anyone’s period blood in my Instagram feed, mostly because I think blood is gross (I close my eyes when I watch old episodes of Dexter, and that blood isn’t even real). But I do see Denor’s point: Promoting the idea that periods are NSFW — or worse, offensive — by deleting evidence that they exist does nobody any good. Just ask the girl who just had a panic attack about her tampon falling from its hiding place mid-bathroom scurry.
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