A yoga instructor has made a powerful statement in an effort to put an end to period shaming.
Social media star, Stephanie Gongora, took to Instagram last week to share a confronting video of herself with her 256,000 followers.
In the inspiring post, the 30-year-old performs a series of challenging yoga moves while “free bleeding” - which is the act of omitting the use of sanitary items, such as a cup, tampon, or pad, while menstruating - a dark blood stain visibly soaking through her white pants.
Since it was first uploaded the video has been viewed nearly 325,000 times and received more than 5,900 comments.
“I am woman, therefore, I bleed,” she captioned the post. “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.”
“Hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed, have left us feeling dirty and ashamed,” she continues. “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.”
“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 writes. Why?”
Gongora’s video has been flooded with negative comments, with some labelling her as “gross.” But scattered amongst the negativity, there are women who have praised the yogi for taking a stand and attempting to end the taboo of menstruation.
Speaking with Cosmpolitan, Gongora revealed her motivation behind the bold post.
“I knew a bright red blood spot on pristine white pants would make a statement in a society that rarely takes the time to actually read,” she said.
“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, so I don’t think it’s in the cards for me.”
“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.”
You can see the video here. Warning: contains graphic content.
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