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.
1. First, this McSweeney's piece by Madeleine Trebinski from April, "Anything Men Can Do, I Can Do Bleeding," which functions as an interesting update of Gloria Steinem's famous "If Men Could Menstruate" piece from Ms. magazine in 1978. I'd love to talk more about how the humor/satire women mobilize around menstruation has or hasn't changed in almost 40 years.
2. Here's an interesting artifact at the intersection of consumer feminism, Women's Empowerment™, and actually breaking taboos: a post on the popular Cup of Jo blog sponsored by LOLA tampons selling a "First Period Kit" (branded with the message "This Too Shall Pass") and paired with a feel-good discussion of menarche. At the time I'm posting this, there are over 430 comments, so clearly this provoked some discussion; the readers seem desperate to share their stories. It would take a lot more time and energy than I have right now to parse through the dynamics of the comments, but I bet there are some interesting trends to be discovered.
3. Chelsea Clinton made what seems like the slightly odd choice of pairing menstruation activism with breastfeeding activism in this piece connected to her work with the Clinton Foundation. I'm a little puzzled by lumping to two together and also because of the things I read and watched and discussed in my Critical Menstruation Studies seminar, I am a little skeptical of some of the lines of argument she's using, but it's interesting to see this come up as a passion project attached to the name Clinton.
4. Here's a Teen Vogue story from May (and the New York Times story that inspired it) about two current bills in Congress designed to require greater transparency from the companies that manufacture menstrual products. It doesn't look like there has been any progress on those bills in the last few weeks, but we should all keep an eye out.
5. This British nonprofit is trying to get a period emoji included in the next Unicode Consortium update. The voting is over now, and I'm not sure which emoji won, or if they have any chance of actually getting it accepted, but it's an interesting argument about how topics get normalized in our current cultural vernacular. Personally I'm all about the 💉 — do you have one that you like to use?
6. Finally, the weirdest menstruation-related internet thing I've encountered lately is one that feels weirdly made for me. I enjoy watching/listening to ASMR videos sometimes to help with anxiety and stress (if you don't know what ASMR is, I highly recommend this episode of the podcast Reasonably Sound, which is how I was introduced to the concept). I don't really "have" ASMR, but I still find the videos incredibly soothing. One of the content producers that I like is a British woman named Emma at the YouTube channel WhispersRedASMR. She has this lovely nurturant thing going and a Very Good accent. Anyway, the other day, she posted a video that is sponsored by Clue, the period tracker app. She calls it a "PMS Relief Role Play." It's strange, because it has menstruation and PMS as the background context, yet it's completely (pardon the pun) bloodless. And it's also an advertisement, despite being the softest[-spoken] sell ever pitched. I really don't know how I feel about it, but I do use Clue, and I just might save this video for my next bad PMS day to see how it feels. If anyone wants to talk more about the specific, fascinating intersection at the middle of the ASMR community-menstruators-period app users Venn diagram, I would be 10000% down for that.