For some reason or another, menstruation is still stigmatized as a dirty and shameful act. But, honestly, it’s 2016, and the universe seriously needs to get over it.
British jewelry designer and feminist hero Lili Murphy-Johnson is on a mission to replace the attitudes of our period-shaming society with menstruation-themed accessories that sparkle and shine.
“There is an interesting conflict with the perception of the female body, being seen as so perfect, yet also as so grotesque and unclean,” Murphy-Johnson wrote on her website. “Drug stores are oversaturated with products to manage periods, all playing up to the idea that periods are dirty and something wrong with the body, something to hide.”
Each crystal-encrusted piece in Lili’s collection is handmade to represent different phases within the menstrual cycle, from PMS and cramping to the heavy flow days so many women are forced to deal with each month.
“Periods aren’t something that happens on accident,” Murphy-Johnson said in an interview with Cosmopolitan. “I want this to be something that [people] actually choose to show, reclaim, and say, ‘Yeah, I have periods. Everyone does and this is my jewelry.'”
“The idea came from me dealing with my own PMS,” Murphy-Johnson told Mashable.“The irritability and anxiety that I felt was stopping me from being able to think of ideas for a jewelry collection, so I decided to start by replicating these PMS symptoms into jewelry to get me started.”
Everything in the collection retails from $38 to $1,265.
“I hope that [this collection] can give space for conversation about menstruation, and that it can be a way to enjoy wearing period stains,” the 23-year-old designer told Refinery 29. “Half of the population experiences [menstruation] regularly through their lifetime; it should be something people feel comfortable talking about.”
In an earlier more “experimental” collection Murphy-Johnson focused on the emotional side of menstruation by creating something she dubbed the “Bouncing Necklace.”
“They represented the irritability of periods—that sense of swelling and frustration you often get,” Murphy-Johnson told Broadly. “I was trying to find a parallel to what people find irritating in jewelry and when I did research online people kept complaining about how they hate it when necklaces bounce on their chests. It’s all about that idea of being swollen and irritable and having things on your chest.”
Unfortunately, the online shopping site Etsy wasn’t exactly thrilled with the bold collection. According to Women’s Health, Etsy suspended Murphy-Johnson’s period-themed jewelry shop, deeming the pad rings and sparkly bloodstains as “inappropriate.”
Teen Vogue reached out to Etsy for comment, receiving the following statement:
“Etsy highly values artistic expression and we allow a very wide range of art, including art pertaining to menstruation. One can search our marketplace to see that there are many items pertaining to menstruation and related matters; we encourage you to explore the amazing diversity of items made by our community.
That said, all items on Etsy, including art, must make sure to follow our policies for mature content and prohibited items. In some cases, sellers who are unwilling to follow these policies may be removed from the marketplace.”
According to Murphy-Johnson, several of her pieces were sold in Sweden, Britain, and the U.S. before Etsy suspended her account.
“Some of them were bulk orders, so I like to think that groups of girls bought matching period necklaces,” Murphy-Johnson told Broadly.
[Photo from Lili-mj.com]