The subject of women and their periods, throughout cultures is problematic to say the least. At best young women feel silenced into not talking about it and at worst they feel disgusting and ashamed. The range of emotion seems to shift throughout cultures.
My experience of growing up has been this:
British teenagers are embarrassed about, I lived in a perpetual cycle of trying to pretend it was never happening. The thought of talking about periods with boys was horrendous and if a tampon was ever spotted on my person, it was the most shameful experience ever. I look back now and wonder why we can never say, ‘Yeah? I have got my period, so what?’
So as a woman in my 40s now, I marvel at young female artists who use the menstrual cycle as a topic for their art. I am also stunned at the level of abuse these women have received online for daring to challenge society to confront the blood which flows monthly from a woman.
The hateful comments have compared the use of menstrual blood to using shit to make art, and despite the fact that bodily fluids have been used to make some art for many, many years. The public’s response is one of outrage.
Though for me, each bodily fluid has a function and the purpose served by menstrual blood is one which should be celebrated and not condemned.
On that basis, I applaud the women over time who have forced society to confront the very foundation of human existence. Seeing female artists use their menstrual blood to create art fascinates me - the images and links below are emotive and challenging.
Become present to how you feel and question yourself…
French photographer Mael Bussand has published many photos on her deviantart page.
Casey Jenkins, ‘Casting off my womb’
Carina Ubeda, ‘Cloths’
Judy Chicago’s Red Flag, in 1971.
Sarah Levy painted a portrait of Donald Trump using a tampon and her menstrual blood as a reaction to his sexist comments about women.
Jen Lewis and her husband took beautiful photograph of her menstrual blood.