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leak chic

This artist wants women to wear their period stains all over them

Chella Quint’s very unique campaign encourages young girls to be less self conscious about menstruation by “reclaiming the stain”.

CHELLA QUINT IS the brainchild behind a campaign to convince women, and teens in particular, that they don’t need to be so self-conscious about menstruation by encouraging them to reclaim the biggest period worry – the dreaded leak.

It has happened to every woman at some stage but it is definitely the most prominent fear among teens when it comes to that time of the month. Quint’s #periodpositive project centres around a line of jewellery and accessories with a logo which is essentially a period stain. There are even blood stain cuff links for men, if they’re brave enough.

Period Positive Period Positive

It started as a dissertation for the UK-based artist and comedian’s masters, which focused on using comedy interventions in classrooms, and her research found that the adverts teens were watching for sanitary products had a serious – and negative – impact on them.

“Modern adverts still say things like ‘discreet’ and ‘whisper’ and ‘keep it a secret’ and these are messages from ads from the 1920s to now,” she said, in conversation with this week at Trinity College’s Science Gallery.

There’s a brilliant advert from 1935 in the Ad Access archive at Duke University where this woman looks just horrified – I mean she looks like she’s watching a horror movie and the caption at the top of the ad says ‘Women! End accident-panic!’, and they created accident panic , it wasn’t a panic in the 1700s. People talked about menstruation in letters to their partners and families. In Victorian times women used red petticoats and they bled onto sawdust in factories, they used cloth pads.

Period Positive Period Positive

Quint explained that the company behind these sanitary products have a lot of control over the market and the information disseminated to teenage girls as they often send free samples to schools to use in menstruation education.

“Unfortunately, we’re not giving children the media literacy they need to interpret these messages of shame. You end up hiding an adult woman’s sexuality and you end up frightening young people and stigmatising them.”

 There’s no structure, there’s no standardised education about it and no other product comes into schools like that.

The StainsTM fashion line, which started out as a joke and really took off, uses the language of advertising to put out a different message, as Quint demonstrated for us:

StainsTM, is a removable stain you can wear on your clothing as you see fit. It’s a fashion statement that REALLY says something and that something is “Screw you Madison avenue, I’m taking this one back”. I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve and my blood on my pants. I’m going to reclaim the stain and reclaim my period because people, I’m telling you, red is the new black.

DSC_0306 Quint at her exhibit in the Science Gallery where proud stain wearers can take selfies to share with the world. Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

All money raised by selling the Permanent Stain range will be invested in further research into education programmes in schools, testing the resources Quint used in her dissertation and showing teachers how they can adapt.

StainsTM is part of the BLOOD exhibition currently running at the Science Gallery in Trinity College, where you can purchase some of the unique jewellery, if you’re interested in ‘reclaiming the stain’.

Read: The artist who injected his wife with horse blood is in Dublin>

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