By Shaka Ramanathan

As a teenage girl growing up in today’s world, I find myself paying close attention to the ways women have to adjust themselves to best-fit society’s unspoken yet rigid guidelines. It may be the 21st century, but there are definitely still disparities between the expectations of men versus those of women, as well as stigmas surrounding the basic biological processes essential to women, such as menstruation. I made this collage for my anatomy class after being assigned a project that allowed us to explore any science-related process. The stigma surrounding periods is something I’m really passionate about, especially after seeing firsthand how girls in other countries don’t have access to basic necessities to take care of themselves. Across the world, an estimated 100 million young individuals lack access to adequate menstrual products. Essentially, only 12 percent of young people with periods have access to the products they need. After learning about the horrific details that become part of some women’s everyday life, I wanted to create a visual for the damaging effects on one’s emotions while showing the literal process being experienced  by women. I was inspired by the examples set by other women standing up to period poverty and stigmas, such as Amika George, Kiran Gandhi, Rupi Kaur, and countless others, because their initial blows to the barrier preventing women from openly embracing another aspect of themselves are what have led so many people to become more aware and take action.

-Collage, mixed media