OK, OK, so we've never been tempted to take a photo of our menstrual blood. But then again, we've never been tempted to take a photo of any other kind of blood either. And that's the issue.
Periods are annoying, inconvenient and messy. Sometimes, they’re a bit messy. Sometimes they’re really messy. Sometimes they’re not messy at all. But when you consider the fact that most women will – at least at some point in their lives – experience them on a regular basis, it’s probably time we stopped being quite so squeamish about them.
That’s why Louelle Denor, from Philadelphia, decided to post a picture on Instagram of her used mooncup,with her fingers covered in menstrual blood.
She says she wanted to protest the fact that many ‘women are having their accounts banned for showing menstrual blood (and no nudity)’ on the social media site and are judged for doing so, while society is pretty accepting of blood in every other context – on TV, in films, in music videos, in video games, and so forth.
And she makes a really great point. Because while the image of her menstrual blood is totally gross, it’s no more gross than it would be if her hands were covered in regular, cut-my-hand-while-slicing-a-cucumber-with-a-bread-knife blood.
Leaving us with a choice.
Either we can censor TV, films, music videos and video games so that there’s no blood on any of our screens at all. Or we learn to accept that menstrual blood is the same thing. (If you’re not into blood, then sure – you probably don’t want to see it on your Instagram feed. But that’s not because it may or may not have come out of somebody’s vagina. It’s because blood is a bit weird, and the idea of it pulsing round your body is a bit strange, and sometimes all of that combines to make you feel a bit faint and like you might throw up on your desk.)
But here’s the thing. While all of that makes sense to most people, there are a whole lot of other people who don’t agree. And they’ve reacted in a really mean way, by trolling Louelle relentlessly, and even sending her death threats.
One user actually reported the image as showing ‘graphic violence’, and Facebook users have campaigned for the photo to be taken down. Meanwhile, images and videos that actually do show ‘graphic violence’ (such as the film of these two reporters being murdered live on air last week), are freely posted across social media.
So while Louelle’s post might seem a bit extreme and a bit deliberately provocative at first, if it can evoke such a strong, violent and aggressive reaction from so many people, then maybe it’s more necessary than we first thought.