Written by: Maya Galinsky
Period art we absolutely love
Menstrual art is redefining the dreaded “time of the month.” Every menstruator understands how the word “inconvenience” relates to their menstruation. Whether it is for vacation, a hot date, beach day (or honestly anything taxing), menstruation is the last thing that appears to be on your side.
The public has been wired to depict menstruation with weakness, disgust, and shame. Politicians publicly use menstruation as a twisted form to insult women, and most media messages in the United States portray menstruation as undesirable (Chrisler et al., 2015). no wonder 58% of women have felt embarrassed because they were on their period (Siebert, 2018).
Women all around the world are on a mission to change this perception. They take their menstrual blood to reframe how the world views period blood.
This portrait, titled “Whatever,” is inspired by the beginning of the Republican National Debates in 2015. Trump referred to Megyn Kelly as bleeding out of her “wherever” to rationalize why she was mean because asking a tricky question during the debate. This painting is in response to that comment. Levy told USA Today: “I was outraged that he was basically using women’s periods not just to avoid a political question but also to insult her and all women’s intelligence.” Levy used this piece to give back confidence and inspire courage to fight for equality for themselves and others.
Lewis’s “Beauty in Blood” collects menstrual blood before drizzling it down a clean toilet bowl to render exciting designs. Her work transforms the negative stigma of blood into a thing of beauty to promote women’s rights.
Páll crafted “The Diary of My Period,” where she painted 1 square of the image every month for nine months. She explains on Facebook:
One drop of experiment and I realize the beauty of the pain, the value of the period, fertilizing my whole being. The periodic elimination of my ovum with my menstrual flow inspired me to give birth to something which has a biological end and to create the start of the end. The focus is not on the blood, but the work has it’s message because of the menstrual flow. Each month a woman has the chance to became pregnant, but with the menstrual flow the ovum is eliminated, and the chance to have a baby in not relevant at all. My concept with this elimination of the ovum, through the menstrual blood I gave birth to an artwork during these nine months and actually I created a “start of the end”… When an “ovum dies” an “artwork is born”.
Zoe Ward’s “An Expensive Habit”
Ward’s “An Expensive Habit” is a symbol of period poverty. As a single mom, she had to pick tampons over food when she dealt with a 6-month long period. Her protest is in the hope that people will realize how young girls are affected when their parents cannot afford feminine care products. Her message for those who are outraged she expresses on Daily Mail,
We should be more outraged and upset over New Zealand children missing school because they cannot access essential menstrual products.
Jasmine Alicia Carter
Carter, a period artist and founder of the Menstrual Art Movement, reclaims the sanctity of menses through art and expression. She entirely ditches paint in place of blood, and her life’s work is to inspire, educate and heal through her work.
Chrisler, J. C., & Gorman, J. A. (2015). The medicalization of women’s moods: Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. The wrong prescription for women: How medicine and media create a “need” for treatments, drugs, and surgery, 77-98.
Siebert, V. (2018, January 11). Nearly half of women have experienced ‘period shaming.’ New York Post. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://nypost.com/2018/01/03/nearly-half-of-women-have-experienced-period-shaming/