It’s no big shocker that women have been silently struggling through their periods for centuries. We’re talking sneaking a tampon up your sleeve, quietly popping an ibuprofen at the water cooler and never talking, texting or tweeting about how bad your cramps are. EVER. Even with awesome new products like menstrual cups and innovative period cramp relievers, talking about periods is still mega-hush-hush (the period-tracker app Clue even released a scary video explaining how little guys and gals know about periods). Luckily, there’s a not-so-new period trend that’s disrupting the taboo of menstruation convos in a big way. Yes, we’re talking about free-bleeding.
After watching Buzzfeed’s LadyLike gals try free-bleeding for a day, we thought we would dive a little deeper into the menstrual trend that’s grossing out the internet. Put simply, free-bleeding is when a woman chooses not to use any menstrual products during her period. Yep, these women freely bleed onto their pants, office chairs and subway seats… all while giving absolutely zero effs.
While many cite 4chan’s “Operation Freebleeding” as the origin of the trend, it has been widely documented that political-driven free-bleeding actually started sometime in the 18th century. In recent history, a handful of women’s health advocates have expanded the idea of free-bleeding even further. In 2012, photographer Emma Arvida Bystrom created a controversial spread in Vice called “There Will Be Blood” which featured women in mundane situations with blood stains on their crotch. Then, in 2015, Kiran Gandhi ran the London Marathon while free-bleeding… and yes, the internet went insane.
But why the heck would someone choose to period all over themselves? Well, for some, calling attention to the lame taboo of menstruation is their motivation. For others, it’s a way of combatting the socio-economic and environmental issues attached to period products. Most homeless shelters frequently run out of feminine hygiene products and list things like tampons and sanitary pads as some of their most requested items. Similarly, things like poverty and living in remote areas are complicated barriers to making access to menstrual products universal.
We totally agree that no one should be shamed about their period and that the period tax should end immediately. But even if free-bleeding is a little too intense for your lifestyle, there are still tons of things you can do to help demolish the stigma of menstruation. From openly carrying your tampon en route to the bathroom to talking more opening about your symptoms, we can all chip in to help make menstrual stigma a thing that ends in 2017.
Do you have any ideas for breaking the stigma of menstruation? Tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)