Photographer asks women to strip to their underwear to discuss period shaming

Sane Seven asks women to strip to their underwear in a social project that highlights the issues surrounding menstruation and the psychological effects of period shaming across the globe…

A portrait photographer Sane Seven asks women to strip to their underwear in a social project that highlights the issues surrounding menstruation and the psychological effects of period shaming across the globe.

At birth, all girls take part in a lottery. Some are born to an educated couple in a free-thinking country that respects human rights. Others open their eyes in a small village somewhere in Africa, Southeast Asia or the Middle East where sexist laws and strict orthodox traditions still define gender roles.

This fact alone will determine the huge differences in the way these girls will develop sexually and psychologically. The less fortunate will experience the horrors of genital mutilation joining the estimated 200 million of other girls and women who were forced to undergo this ritual to earn social ‘honour’ and to prevent social exclusion. Others will be forced into child marriage or will face breast ironing procedures to stop their breasts from growing to prevent sexual harassment and rape. Even their monthly period will be a source of shaming if they reach that age unharmed psychologically or physically.

As natural as periods might be, all women across the world pay tax for it in one form or another. In developed countries, that tax comes in the form of the money spent on sanitary products. In less developed regions, women pay the same tax with their pride, dignity, health, and, in some cases, their lives.

A recent report from India has revealed that in the city of Bhuj, a teacher forced 68 female college students to strip to their underwear to inspect if they were not menstruating. This was justified by the local religious rules that disallowed menstruating women to go into temples or kitchens, touch other people, sit with others at mealtimes, or sit anywhere else but the back of the class. The inspection was to ensure young women were not breaking these rules.

Jihadist Killers On Our Streets

Bertrand Russell once said, “Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed”.

Such ‘happy’ people often dominate our screens and media headlines spreading happiness beyond the shores of their own shallow ignorance. It could be an Australian senator Fraser Anning mumbling in his monotonous voice that ‘all Muslims are not terrorists [but] certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims’; another desperate Australian politician Pauline Hanson proudly reciting her carefully rehearsed racist drivel that ‘Islam is a disease [that] we need to vaccinate ourselves against’; Donald Trump and his indiscriminate Muslim ban, or Boris Johnson and his burka ‘letterbox’ jibe.

Stone of Brunei

Some say that when you see a rock coming, it hurts less. This will be of no comfort to the people of Brunei, where Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has introduced the law allowing the punishment of gay couples with death by stoning.

In 2019, the world is still grappling with who should react to this and what should be an adequate response. Is it down to celebrities and actors like George Clooney to defend human rights internationally? Should we leave this hurdle to the charities? Or is it one of those cases where the world leaders symbolically condemn the leader of another country and we all move on to the next big story unfolding elsewhere?