An artist is attempting to show women how ‘special’ their period is by smearing menstrual blood all over her face.
Gabrielle Schlegel, from Canada, was scared to tell her mum when she got her first period at the age of 13. By the time she became sexually active in her teens, her monthly periods became something she used to dread.
However, everything changed in October 2014 when Gabrielle discovered spirituality and yoga and after seeing a woman on Instagram using her menstrual blood to paint, the keen artist thought she’d give it a go by collecting her blood in a menstrual cup.
The artist also takes time to relax with period blood face masks, which she says help to prevent breakouts and leave her skin looking radiant.
Now, she no longer dreads her monthly bleeds, and instead looks forward to having the chance to indulge in self-care and celebrate being a woman.
Gabrielle has started sharing her pictures on social media in a bid to break down the stigma associated with the monthly cycle.
Aside from the unfortunately common feelings of dirtiness and shame, as a teenager, I felt as though my period was a great nuisance.
Being an athlete, I wasn’t very fond of it due to the low bodily energy which impacted my athletic performance.
The increased care and rest that my body needed while bleeding felt like a burden, and as adulthood approached, it preluded much pain and discomfort. Therefore, naturally I began to dread the onset of blood each month.
Many feel ashamed and embarrassed, simply because they were taught to feel that way. We are so casually encouraged to enshroud and be discreet about our most innate, human life-giving processes. That does not come naturally.
For thousands of years, societies have been ruled by males and more masculine ideals, in which menstruation was not the most embraced or of critical importance in accepting.
Thus resulting in generations of shameful mothers inadvertently teaching their daughters to feel that same shame their mother taught them to feel in regards to their monthly bleed.
I once felt utter disgust when my blood would accidentally get on my hands while changing my tampons as a teenager. Physical feelings of nausea would literally come over me. As mentioned earlier, these feelings are not natural, but taught.
Once I overcame the shameful feelings of disgust I was conditioned to feel in regards to these acts, feelings of freedom, empowerment, and a love for my body gracefully replaced them.
Now, Gabrielle wants other women to experience the liberation that comes with using menstrual blood to connect with their bodies.
I want to help others feel good about it as well. Because our lives have become so visually orientated with the influence of social media and I am continually inspired by those sharing their truths online, I knew it would be the perfect tool to reach many people at once with my message,’ she said.
Seeing myself in the mirror, with my blood smeared all over my face, really allowed me to realize that there is absolutely nothing disgusting or wrong about menstrual blood.
In fact, it is completely harmless, manifesting without a wound to the body of any kind.
If anything, it is the most sacred fluid the human body is capable of secreting. The literal shedding of the uterine lining that was preparing to grow a human body, should a fertilised egg have been implanted.
It has been a whole other level of embracing my period. Not only does it leave my skin absolutely glowing, in my experience, it actively works in treating breakouts, as there are stem cells and many nutrients that are meant to help grow a baby if pregnant and the uterine lining were not to shed.
Whatever works for you, Gabrielle.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.