As the battle for abortion rights heats up, one New Yorker is turning her attention to destigmatizing something even more common: menstruation. Yeni Sleidi donned a giant homemade vagina mask, which she tells Mashable is not as anatomically accurate as she'd like it to be, and is posting pro-period ads and tampon dispensers all over New York. 

Sleidi's actions are in part protesting Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) chairman Thomas Prendergast's response to a series of controversial ads by Thinx, a company that manufactures underwear for women on their periods. At first the ads were banned from the New York subway, but after protest (they meet all advertising guidelines), the MTA eventually approved them. That didn't stop Pendergast from saying, "on a personal level I found parts of those ads offensive." 

"The ads for Thinx underwear were approved, but the head of the MTA still stated that he personally found them offensive," Sleidi said. "Well, I'm offended that something as natural as menstruation is stigmatized, and that it's considered taboo to speak about it. I'm offended that the bulk of ads are designed to make women feel inadequate or sexually objectifies them [sic]. Women bleed out of their vaginas, have body hair and take giant shits. And it’s all natural. Get over it and let us live."

Photo by Yeni Sleidi

Thus, the giant walking vagina. Sleidi's own posters, which she puts up alongside tampon dispensers, feature popular (and bloody) movies like Jaws, Carrie, Game of Thrones, and The Shining. They emphasize the fact that periods are natural and that they shouldn't be a taboo topic of conversation. "We need to move beyond shame," she said, "and being able to laugh at it is a good first step."