Bloody Hell: Menstrual Activists Make Periods Public

Illustration for article titled Bloody Hell: Menstrual Activists Make Periods Public

Today we learned an awesome new word: Menarchy, or menstrual anarchy. This is just one name for the growing movement to make "the curse" something a little more bearable. Or, as the case may be, wearable.


The photograph at left is the work of artist Ingrid Berthon-Moine. It is part of a series of pictures that show women wearing the blood that was only recently inside their bodies on their lips. If you think this is gross, Germaine Greer has some choice words for you: "if you think you are emancipated, you might consider the idea of tasting your own menstrual blood – if it makes you sick, you've a long way to go, baby," she wrote in 1970. Berthon-Moine doesn't create these images to gross us out, but rather to show "what you usually don't see—tampons, blood, all that."

As the Guardian reports, Berthon-Moine is only one out of many modern period activists. Kira Cochrane also cites Cella Quint, the creator of a zine titled "Adventures in Menstruating," Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, author of My Little Red Book, and former Jezebel editor Moe Tkacik for her disgustingly illuminating narrative about exactly what happens to a tampon stuck inside a body for 10 long days. It seems like periods are suddenly hot shit. Cochrane writes:

It seems that menstrual activism (otherwise known as radical menstruation, menstrual anarchy, or menarchy) is having a moment. The term is used to describe a whole range of actions, not all considered political by the person involved: simple efforts to speak openly about periods, radical affronts to negative attitudes and campaigns for more environmentally friendly sanitary products. (It is estimated that a woman will dispose of 11,400 tampons in her lifetime – an ecological disaster.)

Cochrane also humerously mentions the Moon Cup-ers: the extremely vocal group of sanitary-product devotees that have got us reconsidering the cost (both environmental and financial) of tampons.

It's probably no surprise that we think this new found openness is pretty great. Despite the weird name, Menarchists are trying to do for periods what Oprah did for pooping. Periods are sometimes gross, somethings funny, often uncomfortable, but they shouldn't be taboo. I'm not going to trade my lip-gloss in for the au naturel look favored by Berthon-Moine, but the more people talk, write, and think about periods, the better.

It's In The Blood [Guardian]

Related: Ten Days In The Life Of A Tampon


Scott McDonald

Oh crap, this post reminds me that I forgot to let my wife out of the menstrual shack this morning. She's gonna be mad.