Whether part of a giant sculpture to call out plastic pollution or affixed to shoes in an artwork that visibly celebrates menstruation, tampons have emerged from the sphere of the intimate to become symbols to encourage open conversations about periods, reproductive health and the environment.
Documentaries, surveys and hashtags. Periods are everywhere and tampons are no longer taboo accessories. In the realms of art and design, they now come with a message.
British artist Ella Daish has created a giant tampon applicator sculpture to raise awareness regarding the pollution created by plastic tampon applicators. The work was made of 1,200 plastic applicators picked up in British public places.
“I have been asking people to send me any plastic tampon applicators they find polluting their local environment, beach, or waterway,” explained the artist on her Instagram account.
“The time to act is now. Together, we must do everything we possibly can to ensure a better, cleaner future. Put people and the planet before profit and pollution,” said Daish, calling out the Tampax brand in particular with the hashtag #EndPeriodPlastic.
Apart from directing attention to the pollution created by these plastic applicators, the artist is also advocating for healthier and greener period protection for women worldwide.
Although many women, when caught unawares by their period, still feel obliged to discreetly ask friends or colleagues for a spare and then tuck it into their sleeve on the way to the bathrooms, Israeli designer Netha Goldberg has created a pair of sneakers that make tampons proudly visible and easily accessible.
Her “Netina” collection of shoes includes a red model that features tubular visible openings around the shoe, which can be used to hold several tampons at once — a bold way to break the taboo around menstruation. CC