by Michaela Kwoka-Coleman
Imagine that. Imagine a world where the cycle which is responsible for the continuation of our species is not talked about in hushed tones, hidden under socially constructed euphemisms. Who are we trying to protect with these nicknames? More important than who are we trying to protect, is why are we trying to protect them?
"Imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as they are with periods."
It's no secret women have periods. If we didn't, I wouldn't be writing this and you wouldn't be reading this because none of us would exist! I get that discussing menstruation around children is unnecessary- frankly they are children an they should be worrying about how they are going to sneak in a cookie before dinner- not sex and reproduction.
However, when it comes to adults, ambiguity is still the preferred method of discussion, that is of course only if complete avoidance is not an option. Now, I will not take the feminist-extreme stance and blame this intolerance on all men. I am aware of many (mainly older) women who carry on using the Puritanical-Victorian jargon they grew up hearing and saying. But guys, why are you so grossed out by periods? It's not like you even have to have them, but cringing when you heard the word “period”, “cramps”, or “tampon” is a bit childish, and you claim to be a man. Again, without a woman and her period, you wouldn't be here.
Now, let's talk about rape. I hope that word made you shudder or feel uncomfortable, yet chances are you didn't even think twice while reading it. So why is it that a natural human process is so unbearable and awkward to talk about, but a nonconsensual, unnatural and often violent act is becoming more and more normal in our culture? (If you don't believe me ask some of your friends at larger universities; I guarantee either they or someone they know has been either raped, roofied, or sexually assaulted/harassed).
Whatever the reasons may be, the more important thing is that it needs to stop. Luckily, our generation seems to be a generation of social activists, and there is one woman who has made it her mission to end this twisted stigma. Elone, of Karlsruhe, Germany, seeks to end the inequality associate with periods and rape. Using feminine hygiene products, mainly pads, as her medium, Elone has embarked on a blitz-crusade around her home city; she has been posting strong messages written on pads to poles, walls, and train schedules, basically any place public where a pad can stick. Each pad contains a short line- “rapists rape people, not outfits”, “my name is not 'baby'”, and “'you would look so pretty if you'... 'no'”.
Elone found the inspiration for her project in this tweet from @cutequeer96: “Imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as the are with periods”. I remember when this tweet was originally posted back in September; it struck me then and what Elone has done with it strikes me now.
Elone launched her campaign on 8 March, which is International Women's Day. After she uploaded photos of her installments to her Tumblr, her activism went viral, with women from Brazil, Sweden, and the U.S contacting Elone in hopes of initiating their own campaigns.
The message Elone wishes to send the world is powerful: the popular act of blaming the victim(s) in our rape culture mirrors the sexist and misogynistic shame placed upon menstruation.
Eliminating rape culture and creating true gender equality is not going to happen overnight, nor is Elone's art installment going to be the societal turning point for it, but it's a damn good place to start.
Original story via [Bust, Elite Daily]
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