Meet Jorden Willimas, who obtained a bachelor of Arts in film/video photographic arts at Newport University. Jorden designed the mask for the Talk Period / Stop taxing our period. period march which was held over the May bank holiday. Hear how she got involved in Talk Period.
In order to express my art practice, I have always used a vast array of mediums, conveying subject matter of a similarly varying scale. In the last few years, however, feminist values have become the primary motif, dominating my work. As I have learned about and grown acutely more aware of global inequality, I have developed a strong desire to fight for change, crossing the boundaries laid out by a historically patriarchal society, using art and activism as my vehicle. I cannot possibly think of a better platform to initiate change than the public domain
A couple of months ago, when reading an article in VICE Magazine, I found myself considering the sanitary tax and how it affects all women but, more deeply, the women most vulnerable in society. The article’s author, Maya Oppenheim, discussed the nightmarish difficulty homeless women and girls face when menstruating. Most women dread their time of the month, but may not be able to comprehend the hell it brings when you do not have access to even the most basic sanitary care. This struggle inspired me to start an online fundraiser to provide two night shelters with a variety of sanitary products. Moving forward, I will continue to campaign against the sanitary tax. I believe we must quash the worldwide taboo surrounding menstruation and challenge archaic legislation.
The aforementioned fundraising I carried out for the homeless shelter was definitely one of my proudest achievements recently, as the support was overwhelming. Resulting in the target amount being doubled. This provided 3,500 sanitary products for woman in Bristol and Cardiff. I then went on to create the Menstruation Demonstration event. I invited people to walk in solidarity to raise awareness of the challenges those who menstruate face, and to confront the intolerable sanitary tax legislation. The event launched with the presence of a silenced crowd. Their mouths concealed with a mask, to reflect the silence that is enforced from societal taboos surrounding menstruation. As the crowd descended through the streets of Bristol, they emanated a bellowing noise of chants and protests, breaking the silence surrounding menstruation. The passion and unity that was demonstrated by everyone involved raised awareness of the cause, serving on to reiterate the importance of intersecting activism and art.
I hold a fervent passion for all aspects of feminist practice, particularly with an interest in women’s health. I believe it is intensely important to confront characteristics of the feminine experience, which are typically disregarded or concealed such as the health risks attached to ‘feminine hygiene products’ and healthcare. Aiming to deconstruct the trust we place in superiority, science and advertising. Addressing these taboos will allow us to share and gain knowledge, and work together to make change.
Menstruation is a natural process that around half the world experience. It shouldn’t be treated as a shameful act that is unmentionable. We need to talk about it, by joining in solidarity and offering a voice we can address the issues that need to change. Menstruation shouldn’t come between a girl and her right to an education, homeless women shouldn’t have to choose between food and sanitary products, our landfills shouldn’t be overflowed with menstrual waste. Together we have a voice, so let’s talk period.
Getting involved with talkPeriod has been hugely important to me, because I believe it has created a voice amongst the Bristol community. It has been a pleasure speaking with progressive and like-minded individuals who are also passionate about the welfare of those that menstruate worldwide. I feel the movement will allow me to pursue my desire to fight global inequality.