Menstruation Cups And Instagram’s Period-Phobia

By Christian Scibetta

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In a recent controversy, Instagram censored artist Ruki Kaur after she posted an image that featured her in bed with period blood on her pants and bed sheets. The site took the image off of its servers, stating it failed to follow community guidelines and Kaur responded by posting the image again, which Instagram removed a second time.

The question now for Instagram users is why are images of female menstruation considered too graphic for the Internet. In The Guardian, Jessica Valenti argues that woman frequently post sexualized pictures of their bodies, but it becomes too graphic if those pictures feature natural reproductive functionality

Without a doubt, the recent Instragram controversy reveals that female hygiene remains a taboo. Spoken in code during menstruation pad commercials with mysterious blue liquids or by hushed conversation in health classrooms.

Surround this growing debate of appropriateness is the new popularity of the menstruation cup. A device that captures period blood to be washed out is easily reusable and much more sustainable than disposable tampons. To get a better look at a menstruation cup, the feminist co-op bookstore Bluestockings in the east village is the best place to go and ask more questions.

Early on a Thursday morning, the East Village Bluestockings is already buzzing with activity. Only moments after opening, community members are taking advantage of the seating in the store while others are browsing one of the many books on gender studies.

The comparison to the infamous feminist bookstore of IFC’s Portlandia is almost impossible not to make. The major difference however is how helpful the employees at Bluestocking are with any questions or concerns shoppers might have.

Sarah Olle at Bluestocking is happy to assist any interested customers interested in menstrual cups. “Mainstream menstruation companies are super wasteful, and not to mention super expensive. We try to display our menstruation cups openly to get visitors to the bookstore more comfortable with the idea.” The Diva Cup is their most popular reusable menstruation device and comes in two sizes (pre-pregnancy vagina and post pregnancy vagina). “Its important that you pick out the right size” Sarah affirms.

When asked about her opinions on the recent Instagram scandal Sarah questioned the move. “I’m not sure what Instagram’s restrictions are for posting, perhaps it has something to do with gore and blood. Otherwise its simply perpetuating the notion that menstruation is dirty, that during which woman should be isolated and its something they should be ashamed of. Removing that image, just because she was on her period exacerbates that shame that woman are subjected to.”

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