Hey folks! Here we are again at the cycling of the...cycle. Just a quick couple of links this month to keep you in the menstruation loop, as it were. And a shout-out to all my friends out there dealing with cramps and heavy bleeding on top of travel, family, and holiday anxiety this Thanksgiving week here in the States; I feel you. We can do it. If I had any photoshop skills, I would put a picture of Rosie the Riveter with a tampon in her fist here, but I do not, so please accept this Beyoncé version as a consolation. (And if any of you out there with Photoshop know-how want to help me out...that would be amazing.)Read More
Yeah, it's not Monday, but we're still going to talk about menstruation. Don't stress out about it too much; alliteration is not the only literary device we know how to use here.
1. I've recently started more actively using the Clue app and while I'm not yet ready to actively endorse it, I do quite like their newsletter, which has been bringing all kinds of interesting period content to my inbox. I'm not sure if you can subscribe without registering in the app, though, so I'll pass along the best stuff here for those who don't want to sign up. First off is this piece, "Is Period Slang Ever Useful," offered in support of Clue's #justsayperiod campaign. It's built around an interview with the professor who taught my menstruation studies class, and it's all about the power of words and language, so I might be biased, but I think it's worth a read. And don't ever forget that the term "period" itself is a euphemism. Interrogate ALL THE THINGS!Read More
While my PMS brownies (Ghirardelli double chocolate from the box plus a few swirls of chunky peanut butter—the perfect combination of low-effort and high-reward that my current mental and physical state demands) are cooling on the stove, let's go for a quick surf on the crimson wave: Welcome to another Menstruation Monday!Read More
By rights, this should probably be a monthly feature, but apparently this blog was a little off its cycle in July. Anyway, it's August now, so it's time for a new roundup of some interesting recent menstruation-related links! (And a reminder that if you ever see any fun period news on the web, you should absolutely send it my way! Never enough of that good good #periodcontent.)Read More
I'm sure #menstruationmonday isn't a thing, but I'd definitely like to make it one, so I'm starting this week by sharing some recent(-ish) interesting internet ephemera on the subject of periods.Read More
Last week we had the final meeting of our micro-seminar. The theme for the week was "Resistance to the Menstrual Status Quo" and it seemed designed to give a hopeful, progressive view for future work and activism (and to trouble them, naturally). Of course, it also ended up being a general wrap-up of the course. Most everyone agreed that we wished we had more time to tackle all the complex issues that we were just starting to get a handle on, but that's something I've felt at the end of most classes I've taken, not just those that only lasted a total of 10 hours. In any case, here's what we read for the last day:Read More
I have been sick with a gross spring cold and also (appropriately) laid out with terrible cramps, so this is a little delayed (in fact, we just had our last class this week), but I'm making good on my goal to write up every week of the course. The theme for week 4 was "The End of Menstruation?" (yes, question mark and all). The readings focused on menstrual suppression practices and various ways to think about them. And ho boy, is this a loaded topic. We read:Read More
The theme of this week's class was "Representing the Menstrual Cycle." The readings covered a pretty wide range of topics:
- "Construction of Negative Images of Menstruation in Indian TV Commercials," an article from the journal Health Care for Women International (2012);
- "Menopausal and misbehaving: When Women 'Flash' in Front of Others," a chapter from Embodied Resistance: Challenging the Norms, Breaking the Rules (2011), a collection co-edited by the seminar instructor, Chris Bobel;
- and a piece by Leslie-Jean Thornton on representation of menstruation on Twitter, "'Time of the Month' on Twitter: Taboo, Stereotype and Bonding in a No-Holds-Barred Public Arena," published in the Sex Roles journal in 2011.
For week two of the seminar, the stated topic was "Experiencing the Menstrual Cycle." This took the form of readings on the embodied experience of particular groups of menstruators: religious women, masculine of center people and transgender women, and women in relationships (in the context of PMS). Here are the readings:
- A fact sheet published by The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, "The Menstrual Cycle: A Feminist Lifespan Perspective";
- Two articles from Sex Roles: A Journal of Research: "Restriction and Renewal, Pollution and Power, Constraint and Community: The Paradoxes of Religious Women's Experiences of Menstruation" by Nicki C. Dunnavant and Tomi-Ann Roberts (2013) and "PMS as a Gendered Illness Linked to the Construction and Relational Experience of Hetero-Femininity" by Jane M. Ussher and Janette Perz (2013);
- and an article from Culture, Health, and Sexuality, Joan Chrisler et al.'s "Queer Periods: Attitudes Toward Experiences with Menstruation in the Masculine of Centre and Transgender Community" (2016).
- We also watched short videos on the impact of menstruation in the homeless population (although the video didn't address the intersection of trans issues and homeless issues in this arena, which seems like a strange omission given the high rates of homelessness among trans youth, especially) and women soldiers (fair warning, this is a very weird and problematic video).
The first session of the seminar was dedicated to the topic of "Conceptual Frameworks: Stigma, Disciplined Bodies and Commodification." Here's a list of the readings:
- A chapter entitled "Feminist Engagements with Menstruation" from the instructor, Chris Bobel's, book New Blood: Third-Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation (2010);
- "Technology and Passing," a chapter from Sharra Louise Vostral's book Under Wraps: A History of Hygiene Technology (2011);
- "The Menstrual Mark: Menstruation as Social Stigma," an article by Ingrid Johnston-Robledo and Joan Chrisler from the scientific journal Sex Roles (2013);
- and Gloria Steinem's fairly famous 1978 piece from Ms., "If Men Could Menstruate."