Ovary Actions: menstruation euphemism gifs to smash period taboos

Oakland, California-based stop motion/GIF artist Headexplodie (aka Annie Wong) thinks that society is overreacting to menstruation, an ordinary biological process that affects half our population. That's why she created "Ovary Actions" (get it...? Overreactions = Ovary Actions), an ongoing series of lovely animated gifs based on period euphemisms. She's hoping they'll take some of the stigma out of "that time of the month."

She writes:

I’m interested in the cultural paradox that exists around menstruation. Although it’s an ordinary and healthy part of life, we treat it as if it were a mysterious thing which leaves us with a confused and silly view of it....

I just think it’d be cool if we could all be more chill and comfortable with talking about this thing that for so long has been painted with a broad brush of negativity.

I personally used to think about my periods as something to be ashamed of, to hide, something that made me feel absolutely gross. But since embarking on this project I’ve opened myself up to various menstrual educators, artists, and entrepreneurs, and seeing their work in my daily feed makes periods seem totally normal. Being able to talk openly about it with my friends has done the same. Normalizing periods is the first step in being able to take better care of our reproductive health.

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"Panty Painting" 🔴 It would be comforting to think that whenever I experience a period leak that I haven’t “ruined” my panties, I’ve just coated a canvas in crimson! Painted a portrait in pink! Drawn a sketch in scarlet. We’re all just creating works of art down there 😌 _ One of my favorite outcomes from this project is having menstruators share their stories with me. Yesterday someone told me about how "you've got your 'period panties' (already bled on panties) and your 'regular panties' (pristine!)." Before starting this project, I got pretty mad at myself and my period for ruining "regular panties." Now I've lightened up about this...why get so upset/feel shame for a natural function of my body? Like, who is gonna care that much about my panties, really? _ This is one of the GIFs in my #OvaryActions series. More at OvaryActions.com.

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"Ovary Actions" 🔴 Meet my friend, Myrtle. She's a pretty chill uterus. Generally, she doesn’t make herself known, but when it’s that time of the month…she might have an ovary-action! _ The last time I had intense PMS mood swings, I stomped around and made angry faces at my boyfriend, then locked myself in the bathroom. The shame and stigma surrounding PMS kept me from just being open and honest about what I was experiencing. After a few minutes, I took a deep breath, pulled out my phone, and texted him (still in the bathroom): _ "Just a heads up, today is a hard day for me because my PMS is real bad," and sent him this GIF. I felt super relieved to get the feelings off my chest. Thankfully, he is the most awesome partner on the planet and responded with compassion (and SNACKS!). Plus, having this ridiculous GIF to share made me laugh. _ TLDR: So, can we just lighten up a bit on the PMS shaming? I’m not overreacting…I’m just ovary-acting! _ This is one of the GIFs in my #OvaryActions series. More at OvaryActions.com

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"On the Blob"⠀ 🔴⠀ Living in the United States, I have not personally heard this one much but, apparently, it is one of the more popular euphemisms in the UK! ⠀ _⠀ I kinda like this one because I think blobs can actually be cute and funny. Also, I really wanted to show a maxi pad without that problematic blue liquid you always see in commercials. I’d rather see a happy-faced, slimy blob thing on a pad instead of some clinical blue liquid that makes me feel ashamed for bleeding.⠀ _⠀ This is one of the GIFs in my #OvaryActions series. More at OvaryActions.com⠀

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"Mother Nature's Gift" 🔴 I thought this would be a fun one to post on the first day of spring. Much like “monthly gift,” this menstrual euphemism ties the idea of your period as a present which I’m sure many of us wished came with a receipt so we could exchange it for something better, or at the very least some store credit. _ Menstruation can be considered gross and horrific, yet, it is “Mother Nature’s Gift.” Mother Nature is also responsible for plant life and flowers, which are almost always used to represent beauty and femininity. So what’s the deal? Are we blessed by nature or cursed? It’s an interesting juxtaposition. Women can be beautiful, blossoming, bloody, beasts. We’re complicated like that. _ This is one of the GIFs in my #OvaryActions series. More at OvaryActions.com

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"Your Monthly Surprise (aka Monthly Gift)" 🔴 Aww, you surprised me with a gift...in my pants. Gee, thanks, you shouldn't have! Who else can relate to the dread of being surprised by your period? Once upon a time (before fancy apps) I tracked my cycle on a paper chart using the Fertility Awareness Method. Though I'm glad it helped me learn about my body, it was A LOT of work. _ Nowadays I use @clueapp, which I highly recommend for the app's clean design aesthetic (no pink flowers, thank you!) and their website has a ton of great information about reproductive health. BTW, this isn't sponsored, I just actually really like Clue! _ This is one of the GIFs in my #OvaryActions series. More at OvaryActions.com

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Surfing the Crimson Wave

If you love this project as much as I do, be sure to follow her on Instagram. Also: can we all just agree that "Headexplodie" is the best artist name ever?