Steph Gongora is a yoga instructor from Austin, Texas. She took a photo of herself in a standard yoga pose, except there was one unusual thing: Steph was bleeding between her legs.
The instructor was menstruating, and she purposefully snapped the photo to convey a powerful message.
“I am a woman, therefore, I bleed,” she wrote. “It’s messy, it’s painful, it’s terrible, and it’s beautiful. And yet, you wouldn’t know.
Because I hide it. I bury things at the bottom of the trash. I breathe, ragged and awkward through the cramps, all the while holding onto this tight-lipped, painted-on smile.”
But there’s more to this story than merely feeling awkward about discussing Aunt Flo. Steph wanted to bring to light a issue that women suffer all over the world.
“Over 100 million young women around the globe miss school or work for lack of adequate menstrual supplies and fear of what might happen if the world witnesses a natural bodily function,” she wrote. “Why?”
Many cultures create fear and stigma, known as menstrual shaming. This is particularly cruel because a woman’s menstrual cycle is not only natural, it’s also responsible for all human life.
“Start talking about it,” she wrote. “Educate your daughters. Make them understand that it can be both an inconvenience and a gift, but never something to be ashamed about.
Educate your sons so they don’t recoil from the word ‘tampon,’ so when a girl bleeds through her khaki shorts in third period (pun intended), they don’t perpetuate the cycle of shame and intolerance.”
What do you think of Steph’s statement? Is it TMI or an important message that people need to hear?
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