period protest, sherbaz lehri

Pakistani Students Protest Period Stigma in This Public Art Installation

Earlier, we wrote about several super-cool American and Indian campaigns that helped make 2016 the “year of the period” — including Happy to Bleed and Pads Against Sexism, in which university students lined their campuses with pads. Well, wombs continue shedding their lining — and feminists continue urging society to shed its stigmas — in 2016. (DID YOU SEE THAT WORDPLAY??)

Now, the period protests have moved to Pakistan, where a group of students at Beaconhouse National University created a social media frenzy around their protest of the sharmindagi (“shame”) with which we are socialized to treat menstruation.

In a class project/protest, students Mavera Rahim, Eman Suleman, Mehsum Basharat, Noor Fatima, Sherbaz Lehri, and Asad Sheikh ignited social media when they lined a university building with pads bearing anti-stigma messages, and staged a conversation in front of it. Said Suleman about response to the project (quoted at Scroll):

The response goes to show exactly why this is an important issue that needs to be addressed. Especially when girls too are disgusted by it. A friend of mine wrote ‘Internalized hatred is real, especially when you’ve been conditioned to view your healthy body functions as disgusting and unnatural’. It’s a life-long process to unlearn these behaviours, for women and men alike. I know that I’m still struggling with it. The patriarchy runs deep.

You can see more coverage of the installation over at Scroll. And just for random fun, you can read this really fascinating BBC article on why humans, and not, like, squirrels, menstruate.

To all my menstruating humans (and bats, isn’t that wild??) — bleed on!

Photo credit: Sherbaz Lehri

Reina Gattuso is passionate about empowering conversations around queerness, sexual ethics, and social movements with equal parts rhapsody and sass. Her writing has appeared at Time, Bitch, attn:, and The Washington Post. She is currently pursuing her masters.

Reina Gattuso writes about her sex life for the good of human kind.

Read more about Reina

Join the Conversation