If you are a person who has ever had a period before–and, as most of the content on this site indicates, it is quite likely that you are, in fact, just that kind of person–you will probably know that one of the most common emotion that goes along with having a period is shame. Like, you might be excited the first time you get your period, but after that, you’re pretty much expected to hide everything about it–your period products, your period underwear (no stains!), and, most of all, your period blood. This is, in many ways, infuriating–and doubly so when you consider the fact that many people don’t have access to proper menstrual product.
Zoe James, an artist from New Zealand, is looking to change that. How? By painting pictures of period blood. With period blood, naturally. If you’re confused or grossed out, good. That’s Zoe’s intention. She used her own menstrual blood to create a painting, called “Free Bleed,” to draw attention to the fact that many people around the world lack proper education and resources for their periods. Menstrual blood was used, she said, to spark outrage.
“People would not have been so offended, disgusted, and outraged if I had used red paint,” Zoe told Metro, “[And] of course I expected public outrage. However, I feel we should be more outraged and upset of the fact that New Zealand children are missing school because they can not access basic menstrual products.”
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone, but we’re definitely in favor of this movement here at Gurl. We’re pro-period and pro-free-bleeding-to-make-a-point, and we’re especially pro-free bleeding if it helps increase access to period products for people who need it around the globe.
But does this mean that, as a person who has a period, it is now your duty to create art out of your bodily fluids? Of course not! Like, you can, and you should feel emboldened to do so if period blood art has always been your biggest and most secret desire, but you certainly don’t have to. The takeaway, instead, is that period blood–and, by proxy, periods themselves–is a natural thing that shouldn’t carry the stigma that comes along with it.
What do you think of this painting? Does it go too far, or just far enough? Let us know in the comments!