Often when we (as a society) think of periods, it’s with utter disgust, yet that shameful stigma is not attached to how we view rape. One feminist campaign is challenging our perception by conflating our dichotomic views on menstruation and rape.
German activist Elonë is fighting back against rape culture by decorating her city of Karlsruhe with messages against sexual abuse and street harassment written on menstrual pads.
"Imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as they are with periods," Elonë wrote on one pad — quoting a tweet that inspired her to launch this project.
That message perfectly captivates the campaign’s major goal. In today’s culture, menstruation is taboo. From a young age, women are trained to be ashamed of their periods and forced to keep them private. Period sex is considered gross and blood turns blue during menstrual pad commercials. What if this disgust and embarrassment was applied to sexual abuse instead? What if men who raped were treated with the same kind of shame that men who have sex with menstruating women experience? What if it wasn’t engrained in our society that dominance over women is more natural and accepted than a woman on her period? This campaign teaches us not only to look at how women’s bodies are treated by the general public, but forces us to remember that women are human — not purely sexualized beings.
Elonë has, of course, received backlash with one troll asking, “Why did you waste pads to spread a disgusting feminist stereotype instead of doing something useful with them like donating them to homeless women who they would actually help?"
Elonë responded: “Yes please teach me how to donate. Feminism isn't disgusting."
The activist has, in fact, donated some boxes to poorer women and homeless shelters.