This yoga Instagram star is confronting period stigma brilliantly

Bridie Pearson-Jones
Monday 22 May 2017 11:00
news

Steph Gongora goes by @casa_colibri on Instagram.

She's racked up 339,000 followers by posting videos and pictures of herself performing impressive yoga poses in exotic locations.

In a recent post, the 30-year old from Texas, wants you to know that women have nothing to hide.

The video, which has been viewed over half a million times, show Steph performs yoga poses in white leggings with period blood visibly showing through.

In the post caption she explains why.

I am a woman, therefore, I bleed.

It's messy, it's painful, it's terrible and it's beautiful.

And yet, you wouldn't know. Because I hide it.

She then explains how women are shamed into not talking about their period.

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).

She adds that despite feeling shame, she's one of the lucky ones...

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.

WHY?

Because hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed. Have left us feeling dirty and ashamed.

...and that all women should not be afraid to talk about it.

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.

Speaking to People Steph explained why she decided to do it.

I had a few people comment or [direct message] me or even email me that they wanted to kill me or that I should kill myself, and far too many individuals (men AND women) comparing menstruation leaks to defecating through their pants in public or just whipping out an erect penis in public But, there were so many grateful comments, stories, and emails as well.

The video I posted was just a leak at the end of my hour-long yoga practice. I was wearing a tampon, felt it start to leak, and decided to take advantage of the situation to discuss something that had been mulling around in my head for a few weeks. So I just pulled on my white pants and kept flowing.

She added that she was moved by the comments.

It was heartbreaking and heartwarming to hear about someone’s leak in high school that tormented their dreams for years, or how another women felt so ashamed of her period growing up that she vowed to change things for her daughter.

It was amazing to me how many trolls would scream that period shaming doesn’t even exist or isn’t even a thing anymore, when the three comments before theirs on the feed were stories about being personally shamed or ashamed during menstruation.

They miss work for fear of leaking in public, and they miss school, putting them behind in their studies. It’s unacceptable.

More: This woman made a ‘period explosion’ in the street to test society

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