This Menstrual Blood Instagram Is Bloody Great

One of the most interesting things about making the switch from tampons to the menstrual cup — as I did over two years ago — is how much better I actually “get” my period as a result. While I’m not exactly throwing moon cycle parties and painting my face with menses, being a little more up close and personal with my monthly flow has made me decidedly less grossed out or annoyed by it, as women are so often taught to be. So it is with that newfound appreciation that I found myself following the Instagram account @Menstrual.Blood, which posts photos of what I’d like to call “menstrual evidence,” like stained panties and bloody toilet bowls. I mean, seriously, if a leaky tampon is going to ruin your favorite pair of lace boyshorts, you might as well turn them into art, right? And some of the images are, frankly, kinda beautiful. (STAY WITH ME HERE.) Which is exactly the point, according to Jennifer Williams, who started the account.

“I made this Instagram account to frame menstrual blood as something beautiful and something to be proud of; to bring it out in the open, rather than taboo and hidden away,” she told me via email. “Some cis-men have also submitted pictures, which I think is great because I see it as a form of support. It’s something everyone can be amazed by, and I hope it encourages people to see more of themselves–not just their menstrual blood—as beautiful, magical, and totally bad-ass. “

Like me, Williams’ feelings about her monthly cycle were changed when she made the switch to a menstrual cup. “I loved feeling the weight of the blood and seeing how vibrant and textured and varied the flow is day to day — whereas those details were often lost in a disposable pad or tampon,” she explained. Shortly thereafter, she got a non-hormonal copper IUD as an extra form of birth control, which made her periods heavier, longer and crampier — but she’s not complaining. “In choosing the copper IUD, I found even more pride in my period,” she told me. “This was no longer a monthly burden, but a feat of strength — that every month my body made this magical elixir of life, and that every month I still carried on through pain and fatigue and intense emotions. I felt super tough, like what could be more metal than life-giving blood and tissue that leaves my body with every new moon?”

I’m quite content with my cramp-less period as is, but I’m totally down with Williams’ sentiment, and have on more than one occasion, looked into the toilet bowl, the contents of my just-dumped Diva Cup swirling like a literal blood red watercolor, and thought, Oooh pretty! And next time, I won’t forget to snap a photo and send it her way. [Instagram: Menstrual.Blood]