It wasn't too long ago that Instagram removed an image of a fully-clothed woman who happened to have period blood on her pants. Then, when another woman posted a photo showing her period blood, commenters suggested she take a cyanide pill and "Kil yourself now plz." Women constantly get the message that our periods are gross, weird, inappropriate, and other terrible things — and it's our job to keep them under wraps.
This week, yoga instructor Stephanie (Steph) Góngora, known on Instagram as @casa_colibri, is saying: NOPE. Góngora posted an Instagram video in which she moves through a gorgeous yoga flow including handstands, arm balances, and a full hanumanasana. It's the usual #yogisofinstagram stuff, except Góngora has her period — and is actively bleeding through her white yoga pants.
Góngora told Cosmopolitan about how, as a young gymnast, she faced crippling anxiety when she had to practice during her period. "The possibility of leaking through even two super-plus tampons and a pad during an hour-long class enveloped my life," she explained. Now, as a yoga instructor, she still gets worried about springing a leak during class, and she started to ask herself, why do we care?
She decided to film herself bleeding during her yoga practice — making a statement and kick-starting a crucial conversation in one fell swoop.
"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 — that catching people's eye with something a little more shocking might be necessary to snap them out of their social media scrolling," she told Cosmo. She added that "leaks are SUCH a typical occurrence for me, and something, I believe, women shouldn't have to be ashamed of."
"I've been successful in getting people to talk about period shame," she explained, "something that was shrouded in such silence for far too long... I do hope that this cycle of shame and intolerance around the very thing that gives our species continuity can, one day soon, stop." We hope so, too.
Since posting the video, Góngora said she has received "hundreds, if not thousands" of messages applauding her actions, thanking her, expressing disgust, and — yep — telling her she should kill herself. Nevertheless, she's proud of the statement she made with her video and confident in the fact that now, at the very least, people are talking about it. We know there's nothing quite as inspiring, awkward, hilarious, and necessary as a quality conversation about periods.
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