Despite the moments of anger, frustration and befuddlement about the state of the world, 2017 made us stronger, prouder, more outspoken and more honest – especially when it came to our bodies and periods.
LENA gathered our favorite impressions of people, protests, experiences and moments that shaped 2017 and made us ready to take on 2018 with the same power, confidence and love.
ALL ABOUT THE BOD
If 2016 was all about freeing the nipple, 2017 was a year for freeing the body. In art, photography, advertising, and magazines, real bodies have slowly infiltrated the mainstream, showing off those things we may have once considered our flaws. We are now seeing how the striking beauty of stretch marks, freckles, rolls, body hair, and every type of body shape, size and color can not only be accepted but worshiped.
Some of our faves?
- This shot from body positive activist @Khrystyana, and her project #theREALcatwalk, where she gathered women of all shapes and sizes and threw a body positivity fashion show in the middle of Times Square.
- This self-portrait from @jheydamc, captioned: “I’ve been learning how to feel free in my own body, a body to love and live in, a body that is beautiful and for myself, free from being unwarrantedly sexualized and free to fluidly exist.”
- Stella Maria Baer’s watercolor boob paintings.
- Ashley Armitage’s (AKA @ladyist) “No Apologies” series for Refinery 29
- Body hero Barbie Ferreira’s “BODY PARTY” video for Teen Vogue
- Allure’s “Dispelling Beauty Myths” series, like this one on about body hair or this one about double mastectomy.
TAKING A STAND
Now, more than ever, fighting for one’s rights has become a crucial part of being a menstruator. Nationally and internationally we took some big steps in 2017. We applaud the honesty, courage and persistence of everyone who came forward this year with the truth, even if at times it felt like no one was listening.
What gave us the chills?
- The #FreePeriods protest in London lead by Amika George – an 18 year old on a mission to get her government to provide free menstrual products to the UK youth that need them
- The Women’s March on Washington and the collateral protests around the world in support
- #MeToo – the hashtag that propelled a movement to acknowledge and give voice to victims of sexual abuse and harassment
- Chaupadi – the long standing Nepali practice of banishing women to live in isolated huts for the duration of their periods, was finally outlawed in August
- The people of India protested the super heavy tax on menstrual products by sending pads with messages on them in the mail to their legislators
LET'S TALK ABOUT BLOOD, BABY
Finally, after what seems like an eternity of periods being a no-no convo, people have begun to discuss and depict menstruation without tiptoeing around the bloody truth. At LENA, we believe that creativity is what fuels change so from original artwork to adverts to memes, we raise our cup to those 2017 groundbreakers who weren’t afraid of a little blood. Here are some media moments we think helped to broaden the menstruation conversation.
What got us talking?
- Artist Montana Kitching’s illustrations about period feels
- Artist Liv Strömquist’s period-based illustrations that took over the Swedish subway system
- @Ladyist’s candid photos and comments about menstruation
- Janelle Monae's poignant tweet that started a very necessary conversation about the administration and our bodies
Bodyform's "Blood Normal"ad campaign where they gave up the standard “blue liquid” in favor of something that actually looks like blood
- This Buzzfeed period woes/ Game of Thrones mash up
- Rebecca Bunch's hilarious song about Period Sex
- Weaver Erin M Reilly’s period-themed tapestries