We’re having a period party! No, we are not celebrating getting our period for the first time, but we are celebrating the incredible nature of the female body. Often women are looked down upon for having periods but it is not something we can control; we were designed this way. There is a stigma about menstruation that is unclean and shouldn’t be talked about; but jewelry designer Lili Murphy-Johnson believes otherwise. Lili designed jewelry “inspired by menstruation and the frustrating, leaking female body” in response to this stigma. Menstrual taboo is heavily seen throughout American culture. Just try asking a macho man to pick up a box of tampons for you and watch him squirm or freak out. Also shown in advertising, for example, period commercials show how absorptive pads are with blue liquid. Last time I checked, period blood is most definitely not blue. Everything about feminine menstruation products make women feel like they need to hide their natural body’s function. Pads come with “invisible wings” and tampons have backup leak guards because god forbid they leak onto their clothes and people see that they are menstruating. Also, a woman can definitely not wear white clothes on her period just in case. If she is moody in the slightest bit, people just chalk it up to PMS. The stigma is ridiculous; girls should not feel shameful for having a period. Lili Murphy-Johnson feels the exact same way. In her collection of period inspired jewelry, she includes multiple creative pieces shown more on her website. “Laila’s Flower” is a beautiful, deep red flower photographed on the crotch of a woman wearing white pants. She designed an embellished pad for a ring. Her charm bracelet has tampons and sanitary wipes. Lili also embroidered red beads onto undergarments called “Overspill.” To represent how PMS feels, she put a bouncing ball on the end of a necklace to show the irritation of PMS. Each part of her collection was creatively photographed in a way to represent the beauty of being a woman with a period and how people should not look at periods so negatively. Even these photographs were scrutinized for being too “inappropriate” and “wrong” on websites like Etsy and Instagram. This is absolutely mind blowing to me because people like the Kardashians can post almost completely nude pictures but Lili can’t post artistic jewelry or photos representing periods. Although some of her photographs were of women in underwear, this is more covered up than some photos I have seen on those websites. You walk by a Victoria Secret and see huge breasts but a little bedazzled period panty is inappropriate. If the undergarments are “clean” though, then that is fine. But these women in these pictures have periods too. One example of a photo being censored was a photo that went viral of Rupi Kaur in a bed with a spot of menstrual blood on her pajamas. It is a common thing for women to wake up and realize they started their period on their sheets; yet Instagram censored this photo. Lili’s work was also criticized that she was just trying to shock people, kind of like the free the nipple campaign. Her collection was created in order to represent how her period made her feel, and other women alike. Her collection is only shocking to those who are shocked by periods (and those people need to be educated immediately). It seems silly to actually wear this type of jewelry but who cares- the message behind the jewelry and photographs is so much greater than wearing a simple statement piece. Lili wants people to become aware and start communicating about menstruation. Periods are completely natural and should be talked about just like every other human bodily function. Since more than half of the population is female and has experienced or is currently experiencing menstruation, Lili argues it should be a comfortable topic to discuss. Granted, I probably wouldn’t sport a ring in the shape of a pad but it doesn’t mean periods shouldn’t be open. Periods are normal; shaming women into silence for having them isn’t. To look at more of her pictures, check out her website: http://www.lili-mj.com

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