Students at the University of Florida wore fake blood on their crotches this semester as a part of a protest effort to demand more tampons in campus bathrooms.
Last Tuesday, 30-year-old doctoral candidate and activist Jenny Boylan carried a bucket of fake blood and water to the center of campus. Her mission? To cover more than 20 women’s’ crotches with fake blood to protest of the lack of tampons available in campus restrooms at the University of Florida.
The protest was organized in response a January 15 student government vote that shot down a proposal to provide menstrual products in all women’s restrooms on campus. The proposal was rejected, in part, because free menstrual products are already available on campus at a designated location. According to a Campus Reform report, students are already entitled to “three bags of menstrual products per week—each containing eight tampons, five liners, and five pads.”
“If you’re disgusted with our bloody pants, then maybe you should rethink whether or not this is important for everybody or if everybody would use it,” Boylan told the school’s student newspaper. “I think you all collectively benefit from me not bleeding in your seat.”
Sophia Ahmed, a University of Florida materials science and engineering sophomore, participated in the “bleed-in” for the men on campus that also get periods.
“Heteronormativity is rampant on this campus,” Ahmed complained. “Today I held a little protest for free menstrual protects. If you saw my butt that was evidence. And I say menstrual not feminine because menstruation should not be gendered. Some men get periods.”
Despite the student’s existing access to free menstrual products, one University of Florida senior, Shannon Matthew, explained that splattering fake blood over her crotch was a move in the ongoing battle for “reproductive justice.”
“This is a part of reproductive justice,” Mathew said. “I’m not ashamed of my period, and I don’t think anyone should be.”