A yoga instructor told the world that periods are nothing to be ashamed of by filming herself in white leggings.
Steph Gongora completed a series of poses before posting the video on Instagram, along with the caption: “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. 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.”
Gongora went on the say there’s a culture of shame that surrounds periods, with many women feeling embarrassed about sanitary products.
“Tampons? What are those? 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 said.
She also revealed that she misses events when she’s on her period.
“I’ll tell myself it’s the PMS, sure, but it has more to with the risk of being ‘caught’, at what...I’m not quite sure,” she said.
Despite all this, Gongora, who’s based in Austin, Texas, said she considers herself “lucky” compared to others in the world.
“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 said.
“Why? Because hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed. Have left us feeling dirty and ashamed.”
She called on both men and women to “stop pretending” when it comes to periods and using “silly pet names” like Aunt Flo.
“Stop wasting so much effort hiding the very thing that gives this species continuity,” she said.
“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.”
The video has received more than 239,000 views but has received a mixed response.
One person said: “Your period doesn’t offend me, it’s just something I don’t want to see.”
While another added: “I started following you because of this video. I agree that no girl/woman should feel ashamed or be talked about when leakage occurs. It is a natural, routine occurrence that we spend a great deal of our lives tolerating and not by choice.”