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painting the town red: menstruation street art around the globe

April 29, 2024

Street art has long been a powerful medium for social commentary, tackling issues society often shies away from. One such topic gaining visibility through street art is menstruation. Artists worldwide use their creativity to challenge taboos, break stereotypes, end stigma and foster open conversations about menstruation. Let’s explore some impactful menstruation street art from Northern Ireland, Sweden, the USA, and India. 

Courtesy of Wee Nules

Belfast, Northern Ireland: Menstruation Matters Campaign

Our journey begins in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a mural supporting the Menstruation Matters Campaign became a focal point for advocacy and awareness. The mural was painted by street artist Wee Nules (Nuala Convery) to promote menstrual equity and destigmatize menstruation. Unfortunately, it fell victim to vandalism shortly after its creation, emphasizing the need for continued dialogue and education.

In response to the vandalism, Wee Nuls expressed devastation, speculating that the individuals most likely found the mural offensive. Despite this setback, Wee Nuls remains resolute in creating awareness through digital and street art.

Stockholm, Sweden: The Night Garden Exhibit

Next, we venture to Stockholm Sweden, where controversy and creativity collided in the heart of the metro. Liv Strömquist’s exhibit, “The Night Garden,” sparked a whirlwind of reactions with its unapologetic portrayal of menstruation. Some commuters squirmed in discomfort, while others applauded the boldness of the artwork.

Amidst the debate, Strömquist stood firm, championing the importance of dialogue on taboo subjects. Supported by SL, the Stockholm transport company, her art became a beacon of inclusivity in public spaces, challenging societal norms one sketch at a time.

Used with permission from Instagram. Jul Uncensored.

Ohio, USA: Bold Street Art by Jul Uncensored Celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day

Jul Uncensored, an artist, business owner, and podcaster based in Ohio, brings a bold and unapologetic approach to art centred around sex education, social issues, and body positivity. In 2020, Jul Uncensored created a provocative piece celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day. This artwork featured a depiction of a bloody tampon, accompanied by a powerful message challenging the societal stigma surrounding menstruation.

By confronting taboo subjects head-on, Jul Uncensored sparks vital conversations about mensuration and body autonomy. Through her innovative and fearless expressions, she pushes boundaries and advocates for greater acceptance and understanding of menstrual health and hygiene.

India: Murals for Menstrual Hygiene Advocacy

Our final destination lands us in India, unveiling a landscape where murals serve as vibrant expressions of advocacy for menstrual hygiene—2019 World Menstrual Hygiene Day marked a pivotal moment with the #PeriodsPeCharcha campaign led by Srilekha Chakraborty. This initiative targeted the critical gap in education, particularly in regions like Jharkhand, advocating for mandatory menstrual hygiene.

Complementing this endeavour, “The Missing Chapter” campaign, a collaboration between Leo Burnett India and Whisper tackled the alarming dropout rates of girls triggered by puberty. Through strategically placed murals by local artists, this campaign aimed to demystify puberty and menstruation, effectively breaking cultural taboos and initiating candid conversations within communities. Despite hurdles such as vendor cancellations, these murals stand tall, seamlessly integrating into local landscapes while serving as potent symbols of empowerment and enlightenment in the ongoing journey toward menstrual awareness and equality in India.

Menstruation Street Art as a Catalyst for Change

As we conclude our journey of menstruation street art, it’s clear that art has the power to transcend language and cultural barriers, sparking meaningful conversations and challenging societal norms. From Northern Ireland to India, artists use their platforms to advocate for menstrual equity and promote open dialogue about menstruation.

And amidst this movement for change, platforms like The M Scale support transformation one review at a time. By allowing users to review establishments’ menstruation facilities and make changes openly, The M Scale amplifies voices and fosters a more inclusive environment for all.

So, as you traverse city streets or glide through subway tunnels, keep an eye out for the whispers of change painted on the walls. In those strokes of defiance lies the promise of a world where no topic is off-limits and every voice is heard. Let’s continue to support and amplify their voices as we work towards a more inclusive and understanding world!

Freya Devlin

Freya is a content writer and SEO specialist passionate about traveling. From exploring bustling cityscapes to uncovering hidden wilderness gems, Freya hopes to inspire readers to seize the present and embark on our own journeys.

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