When ‘the Rag’ is ‘the Rag’

Let’s talk about Period Poverty

Period Poverty identifies with women and girls not able to afford menstruation products. Equally, the lack of understanding around menstruation and aims to reduce taboos around the subject.

The latest research from Plan International UK in regards to Period Poverty dates to December 2017. (https://plan-uk.org/media-centre/plan-international-uks-research-on-period-poverty-and-stigma)

To summarize: 10% of girls are unable to afford sanitary wear and 15% struggle with cost. 14% have needed to borrow menstruation products due to financial matters and almost 20% have chosen a less suitable product due to cost. Further details are given around taboo’s and stigmas around menstruation, the most alarming being 14% were not aware of what was happening when they started their period and nearly a quarter didn’t know what sanitary product to use. 

Period Poverty looks to have surged during the pandemic. ‘A bloody good period,’ the leading charity for supplying sanitary produce to food banks and community groups have seen a 6 fold rise in demand since the start of the pandemic. 

Period Poverty results in girls absent from school and women not present at work. Poorer standards of education may result in dropping out, girls becoming more vulnerable to violence, abuse and sexual exploitation. Adults most affected are often: refugees, homeless women, students and those on a low income. Principly, stigma and financial issues result in women not being able to have their period with dignity. 

What Can I do to help end Period Poverty?

Firsty, buy brands which give to period poverty charities, Always being a market leader. Make cash donations to charities such as action aid with tackle this issue globally and the homeless period which help women who are rough sleeping. The Period Project, Merseyside does incredible work, forefronted by Natalie Denny, she also provided opportunities for direct donation of unused menstrual items and there are opportunities to get involved further. Become involved in activism, Bloody good period promote opportunities through their website and signing petitions is not to be forgotten. Raise awareness through in person talks and via social media which has developed into a more powerful tool over the course of the pandemic. Finally, educate yourself, are you aware of what a menstrual cup looks like?

https://periodprojectmerseyside.com/

https://www.bloodygoodperiod.com/

Oppression; the push-up bra

 

Oppression colour copy

Oppression: the push-bra

Oppression identifies with a core item of woman’ under apparel as a leader in female subjugation: the Push-up bra.

A push-up bra pushes the breasts abnormally upwards to present the image of a larger cleavage. It is a fantastical projection of what women should look like, an imaged informed by the male gaze. The female presented has been hypersexualized, the figure of a centrefold pin-up popular with male magazines such as FHM and Playboy. We see an abnormal image of a female-shaped by the push-up bra, a girl who is stick thin but large breasted. We do not see the imaged of a woman with a large bosom balanced out by the healthy weight of her hips, we do not see a health athletic girl with a modest bust to match the slenderness of her body.

Push-up bras are unhealthy, they increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Not wearing a bra at all is not immoral or an invitation for sex, oppressive messages of the necessity of bra wearing are passed down from previous generations as part of societies dress codes.

In ‘Oppression’ we see the push-up bra presented by the barbed wire structure of the apparel which represents a restriction of bodily movement. Towards the top, we see stray sections which look to potentially burst the almost fake, balloon-like breast forms. On the lower section, the stray wire draws towards the rib cage showing a dangerously thin girl, possibly even anorexic. The pastiness of the skin and the lack of colour in her tome subterfuges the image of poor health.

The image of the woman is finished off with the ultimate image of Domination: the face being obscured from view with the low-economy household paper bag. The final stamp like font entitling the piece ‘Oppression’.

This is a strong graphical image of female oppression, an artwork which looks to promote breaking free from the restrictions: physical and psychological of the push-up bra.