Home Bizarre Bear or Tear? — Menstruation ‘Art’ Provokes Tension in Stockholm Metro

Bear or Tear? — Menstruation ‘Art’ Provokes Tension in Stockholm Metro


This is exactly like a hobo who decides to take a dump in the middle of the underground train. You can’t not acknowledge the fact yet you can’t say anything. Never mind. I guess, a sane person never would grasp these things.

A series of wall-sized black-and-white paintings of women spreading their legs wide to reveal a red splotch of period blood, on public display in the Swedish capital’s underground system, have proven divisive among passengers of various ages.

Painted by feminist cartoonist Liv Stromquist, the posters, featuring female figure skaters doing leg lifts, dominate the platforms of the central Slussen station. The metro station, like most others in the Swedish capital, serves as a display space for an ever-changing exhibition of degenerate art.

Reactions since the images were put up in late September have varied – from urban indifference, to tourist picture-taking, to upset commuters posting on social media to signal their displeasure.

One Twitter user said that it’s “not enough to just get periods, now you have to stare at them in the subway,” while another complained that the posters forced them to explain periods to their alarmed four-year old. Someone simply called the images “disgusting.”

Several objected to using a public space and a captive audience to display such controversial images, while one meme compared the stately dignity of Moscow’s Stalin-era underground with Stockholm’s tunnelbana, which is ridden by about 1 million people each day.

Stromquist, who does not herself live in Stockholm, and who has previously spoken about her own childhood shame over periods, has refused to engage those objecting.

“This discussion always comes when I exhibit my art, because it’s a taboo in society and evokes strong emotions,” she told national broadcaster Sverige Radio. “I’ve not commented on the discussion, and it’s not my place to give judgments to my own art… I’m very excited that some people have enjoyed it.”

So what’s next: pictures of people defecating or urinating? Those are natural biological acts and “taboo” too.

The committee of public transport company SL, responsible for choosing the posters, has said that the mentally ill ‘artist’s’ repulsive work “celebrates the human body in all of its shapes and forms,” and does not plan to remove it prior to the scheduled date next August.

Interestingly, commuters didn’t take things into their own hands and didn’t tear the posters down. What a tolerant country, indeed! Well, not for too long, I guess — right, ‘new Swedes’?

Please your eyes with some real art! This is Nordic Summer Evening by Swedish painter Richard Bergh. It was painted in a less degenerate era of this miserable country.