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Art highlighting menstruation causes controversy in Swedish subway system

November 2, 2017

An art exhibit in Stockholm’s subway system, where art is permanently on display at 90 of 100 stations, has sparked controversy by featuring images of women menstruating. Art by graphic artist Liv Strömquist, a popular feminist and satirist, shows ice skaters in black and white with red period blood staining their leotards — in one image, a caption reads: “It’s Alright (I’m Only Bleeding.” Other images in the series, which is titled The Night Garden, showed birds, trees, and naked men — but according to, Sweden’s national broadcaster, users on social media have singled out the menstruation drawings as “disgusting.”

“It’s not fun explaining to a four-year-old about the red between the legs,” wrote one user on Twitter. Others questioned whether subway users should be forced to see art that they might find offensive.

Strömquist, for her part, said she was unbothered by the controversy, and that she felt the taboo surrounding menstruation was worth discussion.

““It’s weird that it’s deemed so provocative, as it’s something that we see all the time,” she told “I have a hard time understanding that.”

And Strömquist has supporters on social media, who advise anyone who might be offended by the imagery to “get over it.”

Despite the complaints, transit officials have stood by Strömquist’s work, noting that the exhibit seeks “to celebrate the human body in all of its shapes and forms.” Strömquist’s art, and that of three other artists, will remain on display until next August.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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