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May 15, 2019
Photo by Leyre on Unsplash
Whilst some people have been doing it forever (literally – it’s a centuries-old practice), many haven’t even heard of it; we posed the question "Would you free bleed, yes or no?" via our Instagram @MoxieHQ yesterday and the responses were interesting… a few of you said “yes”, a heap more said “no” and some simply replied with “???”.
Before we share what you (really) think, let's start with the most common FAQ: what even is 'free bleeding'?
‘Free bleeding’ is when a person experiences their period without blocking or collecting period flow – so, essentially it means to bleed without the use of tampons, pads, or other menstrual devices used to absorb period flow or menstrual blood/fluid.
You may remember the story about Kiran Gandhi from back in 2015, when she ran the London marathon whilst on her period, freely flowing and with her period visible through her tights. This wasn't a leakage-freakage accident, she intended it entirely; her aim was to "transcend oppression" and raise awareness for women who don't have access to sanitary products. She made international headlines and certainly made a statement, but did she start a movement?
Many doctors agree that there’s medically no reason why people can't or shouldn't free bleed - from the menstruator’s perspective, anyway - so we asked YOU what you thought via our stories on Instagram. Here are (just some of) your verdicts:
Melissa: "There’s nothing worse than stained underwear or pants".
Cat: "It makes me want to change every hour".
Lizzie: "I tried it once and it wasn’t that bad. It was messy, but I sat on towels just in case. It was a bit more stressful at work. I did leak through my clothes".
Kiah: "I don’t want to wash more clothes. I just use reusable pads".
Sarah: "I say no because I think it’s a bit like making a statement for the sake of it. We don’t do other bodily functions in public, why do we need to do this?"
Luna: "YESSS I’m all for it! Less waste!"
Iona: [answered no]. "My period is so heavy I can't last more than an hour without changing my tampon/pad".
Jessica: "I do sometimes if I’m at home but otherwise it’s too messy".
Gen: [answered no]. "The feeling of dry blood on my skin".
Allie: "If it’s the middle of the night I might just roll over and go back to sleep and leave it for future me to deal with. But generally, it’s too messy".
Olivia: "I’ve done it before but OMG not again. I thought I was being less wasteful, but I probably made up for it in water usage by having to wash all my clothes and sheets after every single use. Waaay too messy for me".
Anita: "I get that periods aren’t meant to be shameful, but I don’t need to bleed in public or tell everyone I’ve got my period. It’s messy and unhygienic. I’d be really embarrassed if I left a stain on a seat somewhere public".
Some super interesting and mixed reactions, right? Turns out that 85% of you said “no” to free bleeding and only 15% said “yes” when we asked you on Insta.
It may only be a small sample size surveyed, but we're not fully convinced there's a mass movement even on a broader level just yet. Although, one thing's for sure: society's attitude towards periods is changing, albeit slowly. And that's the main game, isn't it?
If nothing else, this has given us the opportunity to open up important conversations and talk about periods more, and really does highlight the fact that there's no one-way, or right way to period. Many of us are fortunate to even have the choice in whether or not to free bleed - many people who experience 'period poverty' (when someone doesn't have adequate access to hygienic or effective means of sanitary/menstrual protection) on the regular, sadly don't. Is it the choice to free bleed that's a privilege in itself?
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