Yoga instructor Stephanie Góngora (Insta-famous as @casa_colibri) posted a video of herself flowing through a beautiful asana sequence, like many yogis do. However there was something that stopped our thumb from scrolling on to the next thing, and hundreds and thousands of others—Steph’s yoga sequence wasn’t the only thing that was flowing.
Wearing all white, a period spot became very obvious on her pants. Steph’s post is a social statement - she wants to stop period shaming. Period.
What is Period Shaming?
Hiding a tampon in your sleeve rushing to the bathroom. Hiding the box of tampons in your shopping cart under other deemed un-embarrassing hygiene products. Anxiety about your tampon leaking and spotting on your pants. Taking all stops to avoid letting people know you are on your period.
Most of these things are unsaid. But Steph thinks this impact on women isn’t cool. Below is the video she posted on her Instagram, and she starts the caption with "I am a woman, therefore, I bleed. It's messy, it's painful, it's terrible, & it's beautiful. And yet, you wouldn't know. Because I hide it."
I am a woman, therefore, I bleed. . It's messy, it's painful, it's terrible, & 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. Tampons? Shhh. We don't say those words out loud. Hide them. In the back pocket of your purse, in the corner of the bathroom drawer, at the very bottom of your shopping cart (please let me get a female cashier). Events or engagements get missed. I'll tell myself it’s the PMS, sure, but it has more to with the risk of being "caught," at what...I'm not quite sure. . And I’m lucky. . Over 100 million young women around the globe miss school or work for lack of adequate menstrual supplies, & fear of what might happen if the world witnesses A NATURAL BODILY FUNCTION. . WHY? . Because hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed. Have left us feeling dirty and ashamed. . STOP PRETENDING. Stop using silly pet names like Aunt Flo because you're too afraid to say "I'm bleeding" or "vagina." Stop wasting so much effort hiding the very thing that gives this species continuity. . START talking about it. 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. . This #StartSomethingSunday , I want to highlight @corawomen . . Cora Women is a 100% Organic tampon company. . But that’s not all. They are also breaking barriers. Making it ok to talk about periods, even on social media. Providing personalized, delivered tampon/pad orders right to your door. AND for every box purchased, donating a box of sustainable pads to girls who can't afford menstruation products. . Fuck yeah. That's the kind of stuff I can galvanize behind, NO money OR product needed. Just a mission I support on a topic we should ALL be talking about. . THIS IS JUST A LEAK, NOT FREE BLEEDING ✌????
Blood is gross. Snot is gross. Poop is gross. Smelly things that come out of our body are gross. Evolution has shaped our behavior to avoid these substances. The body physiologically responds with disgust - wrinkling the nose (to block out smells), getting nauseous (to avoid digestion of the substance), and a tendency to back away (to avoid contact with the substance). This response has evolved to protect us from these substances because they contain bacteria and germs that could make us sick.
When you watched this video of Steph, you might have noticed yourself wrinkling your nose, turning your head away, or simply thinking “that’s gross.” That’s a normal response, but what Steph is saying is that it’s important for women to not have to feel ashamed about this normal bodily function.
In a Cosmo article, Steph wrote, “I've been successful in getting people to talk about period shame, something that was shrouded in such silence for far too long. It's not like I'm going to start free-bleeding. It would mean a lot of stained clothes, car seats, and sheets...But I do hope that this cycle of shame and intolerance around the very thing that gives our species continuity can, one day soon, stop.”
Steph wants yogis and all women to be free from tension and anxiety felt by a constant pressure to hide. If you’re in a yoga class and you leak, oh well. It happens. Steph believes that no woman should feel ashamed of that. It’s life. It’s natural. So go with the flow.