New art on the Stockholm underground

I have written before about how the entire underground system is an art gallery. This new art by Liv Strömquist in several stations of the Stockholm underground is….interesting.

Here is some of it.

I have VERY mixed feelings about it.

My parents were products of their time I guess. I never saw either of them naked, never had a discussion with them about sex and barely knew what a period is when I started mine. In addition I was educated in a convent where there was no sex education, no talk of periods, or relationships or anything. The whole concept of sex was shameful and periods were called ‘being unwell’. We were told that we couldn’t swim or wash our hair when we had a period or use tampons until we were married etc etc. There was no Google or YouTube for those questions you were embarrassed to ask out loud. I had period problems for years but it was not something you talked about so I didn’t realise that it was common and easily remedied.

So from that perspective I am glad that there is an openness today about bodily functions such as menstruation. I am thrilled that YouTube, Wikipedia, and Google exist to help people navigate their changing bodies and things that sometimes go wrong when you have your period.

On the other hand, however, I am not sure that enormous pictures like this are what I want to be faced with on my daily commute. Not on my own behalf, but on behalf of all the people of all cultures, religions, countries, nationality and ages who travel through these stations daily. I think of how these photographs would make my mother feel, or elderly people, or people from more conservative cultures who feel that this should be seen and discussed in private. I am sure there are parents of young children who wished to have that conversation at the right time and place for their family instead being forced to discuss it on a crowded train platform during rush hour. I could understand it more in a regular art gallery where people have the choice of whether to see the exhibition or not. I would definitely go and see it.

I feel the same about going to the toilet. We all do it, we all know we do it, we talk about it sometimes, and it is natural and healthy, but I wouldn’t want to see photographs of it as I wait for my train. Even adverts for sanitary products use blue liquid to demonstrate their products.

What do you think?


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

10 thoughts

  1. I live in Stockholm and passes those pictures every day to work. Like in all totalitarian countries one just have to accept what they want you to see. We cannot change or as a man object. I don’t like them, just like I do not like to watch excrements on pictures. This is something private. In the same time it is interesting to reflect on why I have that feeling.

  2. I think we all as adults know about intimate aspects of both male and female bodies that aren’t ‘wrong’, ‘sinful’ or any other such expression, just intimate and private. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, just private. However, we don’t want to go back to the attitudes of the Victorians, so maybe this sort of art has its place, but maybe not public transport.

  3. I like being disturbed. It shakes up my belief systems. I like what comments others have made above. I’m not sure what I think but just my own reticence means I’m happy menstruation is being exposed in such a way. How many of us women have suffered years past from keeping shtum about such a powerful and natural and impoertant part of life! As always Janet love your posts. Love to you and you gorgeous fluffies xxxx

  4. Hi Janet,

    That art is extremely confronting, and in the subway too … I doubt it would appear anywhere here in Australia… not yet anyway. I think that most men would be embarrassed and quite horrified too. I like to think I am very broadminded but this is unnecessary in my opinion.

    I am in my early 60s and my mother told me all about menstruation when I was about 10 years old and gave me a book to read, and I thought this is never going to happen to me! LOL!

    I enjoy your blog and the wide variety of subjects.

    Cheers, Di

    Sent from my iPad


  5. I agree with this part “I feel the same about going to the toilet. We all do it, we all know we do it, we talk about it sometimes, and it is natural and healthy, but I wouldn’t want to see photographs of it as I wait for my train.”

    It’s pretty idiotic to think that there is some “need” to make menstrual bleeding “normal” through images like this. Most Swedes already get “procreation education” in public schools and even if someone actually has issues with menstruation, they are a tiny minority.

    Force-feeding images on the majority because of issues of a tiny minority is just stupid.

    But in any case, if some “need” for these exists then we presumably also need images for defecating and farting as well. for starters….

Leave a Reply