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“There!” I thought satisfied as I hung the blood stained long john bottoms under the bathroom sign.
Of course it wasn't real blood. Just paint that I strategically sat in in order to create an art piece that would hopefully bring about a new awareness towards period stigma.
Just a few more touches and we would be ready to open the doors for our Red Tent Revival.
I had moved onto the stage as my partner found pens and notebooks to gather signatures for the petitions that will help bring an end to the pink tax and secure menstruation equality for all.
I plugged in my instrument and stood back to give the stage a once over when a young man and woman pulled opened the front door, pouring daylight into this dark and once unassuming rock-n-roll club.
They slowly made their way into the room, blinking their eyes and then staring in awe at the transformation. They were obviously unsure and completely unprepared for this event.
What was once a safe and predictably blank space was now decorated in period art, signs and information.
I didn't pay a lot of attention to them at first but then it happened... Tickles had come back in from the patio just as the bartender approached. They intersected right by the bathroom sign and without hesitation the young woman exclaimed; “That's Nasty!! Who did that?!”
Taken aback but not missing a beat, Tickles quickly explained that our shows were about ending period poverty and that it starts with ending the stigma.
Indeed the Art seemed to be working.
And there it was. The doors hadn't even officially opened and that toxic patriarchal narrative had already introduced itself, knocked over the center piece and kicked a hole in the wall.
There's something so deeply disappointing when people with a uterus habitually keep the order.
I understand it's not happening on a conscience level but rather the product of societal conditioning. Nevertheless, how do you break down a taboo that has the very people who bleed believing there is something “nasty” about something so natural. How do you stop the habitual cringes or feelings of shame and embarrassment from the very sight of blood. How do you break apart a systemic taboo that is centuries upon centuries in the making?!
Understanding the history of period stigma can help shed a light on the issues and give historical context to the inequalities at play. But the only people interested in the academic research are already engaged in this movement.
What we need is education on a grander scale and the ability to reach people from all walks of life.
The ability to communicate what is considered “taboo” in a safe space and make it relatable. When you're able to make that information fun and engaging you begin to break down the taboos.
Considering all the ways in which we divide ourselves and then all the ways in which we connect...What I've noticed is how Music and Art have always been a bridge.
Think about the different concerts, shows and exhibits you've visited and how many different people you find yourself surrounded by.
All there with one common goal... To find out what the Artist is going to communicate this time. Almost subconsciously we find ourselves rallying behind the message of an Artist even before we fully understand its impact. There is great power and influence to be found in this formula.
That's why we created the Red Tent Revival. I believe an Artist's job is to record the truth as it's happening. To be unafraid, unapologetic and unashamed. We bring together femmecentric Artist's who magnify the work through their music and entertainment, helping to promote the movement to end period stigma and ultimately, end period poverty. We also celebrate the business and organization who take on the Period Positive Challenge and commit to becoming a menstruation supportive space and encouraging other local businesses to join in as well.
We hope by engaging our community through music, art and entertainment we can encourage more businesses to step up and choose to support the people who menstruate increasing dignity and opportunities for everyone.
In the U.S. many of our leaders still find it difficult to even utter the word, “Period”.
Currently (HR1882) The Menstruation Equality For All Act 2019 which was drafted by, NY.D.Rep. Grace Meng was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security back on 05/03/2019 where it still sits today with only a 34% chance of passing.
If we truly hope to change this paradigm, to end the stigma that perpetuates disadvantages and missed opportunities connected with menstruation and period poverty we can not wait for our “Leaders” to do what is right.
We must be willing to stand up for one another and to make better decisions as a community.
We must be willing to commit ourselves to creating a more equitable society.
This all begins with a choice... We must first be the change we wish to see in the world.
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Written by, Za Unitt