// STOP THE STIGMA // social experiment
STOP THE STIGMA
This was a project entitled 'change it now' which initially led me to look into changing the law about sanitary products and making them free and easily accessible. Those who had internet access could order what they needed monthly online in 'period packs' which could consist of boxes of tampons, menstrual cups and sanitary towels.
For homeless women as well as struggling students this would be greatly beneficial as they'd also be free from shops and in local restrooms.
This I found an issue needed to be adressed, particularly after George Osborne ruling it unecessary to change the 'tampon tax'.Because of course not leaking blood is a luxury...
Whereas shaving for men a necessity?
Anyway. I then did some research trawling through hundreds of sanitary product adverts, only to find that women are furthermore being opressed.
Internalised sexism shines through the idea of being 'discreet'. An advert I found from the 80's mentioned 'the thing we don't talk about once a month', and almost all current day adverts focus on the emphasis of being 'discreet'. Fine, you don't want blood creeping down your jeans but the fact that period blood isn't ever shown is bizarre. The representation of blood is a blue liquid graphic. We are embarrassed of the period. We are embarrassed of being women, this natural process which gives life should be hidden.
This prompted my social experiment; I wanted to see people's reaction to me asking so blatantly for a spare tampon, as if i were asking for a tissue. For example shouting out at people, walking up to strangers and exploiting a taboo topic.
Carrying out this experiment I noticed I felt very tense, scared of who to approach and who overheard. I kept questioning why, but it's obvious. We've all been conditioned to think of periods as 'disgusting' and women have been educated to hide their pads in their bag, hold their tampon tight in their fist when going to the toilet, hide cramps for stomach aches and constantly check if they've ruined leaked on their friends bed. Its pure paranoia.