Another for the file of stuff too crazy for me to have made up:
|From the Menstration Matters website, |
on which things are posted periodically
What is Menstrual Activism?
Menstrual activism—or social activism that works to upset, challenge, and reverse impulses to silence and shame menstruating women—has many goals, tactics, and styles. It takes as its central premise the fusion between menstruation and anarchy (some call menstrual activism “menarchy”) and targets a wide range of social and political problems: the toxic substances in tampons and commercial menstrual products; increasing diagnoses of “premenstrual dysphoric disorder” (PMDD) and “premenstrual syndrome” (PMS); negative depictions of menstruating women in film, television, music, and popular culture; over-medicalization of menstrual cycles, including menstrual suppression; double standards in imagining women’s bodies as “dirty” and men’s bodies as “clean”; men’s attitudes about menstruation and menstrual products; early menstrual education and messages of shame and taboo embedded in such messages, and a variety of other problematic aspects of contemporary menstrual culture.
Menstrual activism is both formal (e.g., Blood Sisters) and informal (e.g., individual women making menstrual art); it offers coherent, organized critiques and tactical interventions (e.g., working to pass a congressional bill on tampon safety) and it draws from organic and informal modes of communication and connection (e.g., women sharing first period stories on Facebook). It offers showy and artistic public displays (e.g., Spanish performance artists walking along public streets wearing pants stained with menstrual blood) and more private and subtle shifts of thinking (e.g., women embracing menstrual sex). It draws from the culture of punk and anarchy alongside the do-it-yourself aesthetic that arose in the early 1990s, just as it puts into dialogue diverse and sometimes painful social questions about bodies and identities. Chris Bobel (2010), whose work on menstrual activism stands out as exceptional, wrote of the possibilities of menstrual activism, “Menstrual activism helps us see what’s at stake in the spirited debates about what to do about gender and the ongoing struggles to engage a truly racially, ethnically, and economically diverse movement of social change advocates around a common issue” (13). Menstrual activism offers multiple, diffuse, tactical, and intuitive forms of resistance, many of which this book considers in detail. It builds upon what we already know about the benefits of resistance, as those who rebel through activism on behalf of any issue have better physical health and more enjoyment of life (Rittenour and Colaner 2012), fewer eating disorders (Peterson, Grippo and Tantleff-Dunn 2008), better mental health outcomes (Szymanski and Owens 2009), and more satisfying sex lives (Schick, Zucker and Bay-Cheng 2008). I argue that menstruation and resistance go hand in hand, that menstruating bodies are always already infused with the potential for activism, solidarity, defiance, feminism, and rebellion.