Sunday, 4 October 2009

Feminism and Menstruation

The Guardian achieved a rare thing last week- I started reading an article, exclaimed "oh my god" and threw the newspaper back on to the coffee table. As progressive as I like to think I am, once told what the picture shown here on the right was I felt an immediate feeling of revulsion. The picture is one of Ingrid Berthon-Moine's portraits of women wearing their menstrual blood as lipstick. Kira Cochrane's piece in Friday's Guardian is a fascinating feminist exploration of menstruation touching on emergent issues of environmental sustainability (she writes 'it's estimated that a woman will dispose of 11,400 tampons in her lifetime - an ecological disaster'). The piece comes in the slipstream of a new book to be published next Spring by Chris Bobel, an associate professor of women's studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston called New Blood: Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation. The article and Bobel's book explore the silence surrounding menstruation and the attitudes/shame associated with it. My own initial reaction was a good example of this. The full Cochrane article can be read here.

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