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Friday, April 16, 2021

About 24 students stained their pants with fake blood. Here’s why.

<p>Sophia Ahmed, a UF materials science and engineering sophomore, stands near the rock sculpture on Turlington Plaza applying washable red dye on her pants. Ahmed, 20, is an organizer for “Are You Seeing Red?,” and said the point is to raise awareness about the lack of free menstrual products on campus.</p>

Sophia Ahmed, a UF materials science and engineering sophomore, stands near the rock sculpture on Turlington Plaza applying washable red dye on her pants. Ahmed, 20, is an organizer for “Are You Seeing Red?,” and said the point is to raise awareness about the lack of free menstrual products on campus.

Jenny Boylan carried a bucket of fake blood and water on Turlington Plaza at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Boylan, 30, a UF political science doctorate student, helped organize “Are You Seeing Red?,” a “bleed-in” protest to raise awareness for accessible menstrual products on campus. She used the blood to stain the back of about two dozen students’ pants.

An unexpected period can disrupt a student’s day and distract her if she does not have access to a pad or tampon, Boylan said.

“If you’re disgusted with our bloody pants, then maybe you should rethink whether or not this is important for everybody or if everybody would use it,” she said. “I think you all collectively benefit from me not bleeding in your seat.”

Sophia Ahmed, 20, and a UF material science and engineering sophomore, started planning the protest after a Student Government Senate committee voted against a code revision to fund an initiative that would provide menstrual products on campus on Jan. 15.

Although organizers did not expect everyone to paint their pants, they hoped the visual inspires students to advocate for accessible menstrual products.

Shannon Mathew, a UF psychology and sociology senior, was one of the first students to paint their pants at the protest.

The 21-year-old said she’s had no access to a tampon in an emergency too many times to count.

“This is a part of reproductive justice,” Mathew said. “I’m not ashamed of my period, and I don’t think anyone should be.”

Contact Amanda Rosa at arosa@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter at @amandanicrosa.

Sophia Ahmed, a UF materials science and engineering sophomore, stands near the rock sculpture on Turlington Plaza applying washable red dye on her pants. Ahmed, 20, is an organizer for “Are You Seeing Red?,” and said the point is to raise awareness about the lack of free menstrual products on campus.

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