We have received some critical feedback from the community, asking why we are holding the Menstruation Celebration. In the minds of some, we are reducing women to our bodies; in drawing attention to menstruation, we are obscuring and overlooking the diversity of womanhood – the variety of experiences that women have. One person rhetorically asked: If you are having a part about menstruation, why are we not celebrating ejaculation?
Rather than address these concerns from a position of defense, I want to tell you why it is meaningful to me to celebrate menstruation. While not all women are menstruators, monthly bleeding is a reality that many women have to deal with. Our society tries tirelessly – with odored tampons, thong-fitted pads, vaginal deodorants, Midol – to hide the existence of menstruation. We pretend it is not happening. When it is acknowledged, it is constructed as a nuisance, a pain, a thorn in one’s side. I am not saying that all bleeding women should love their cramps or love the mess of menstruating – cramps hurt. But I do feel that celebrating menstruation, drawing attention to the fact that it is happening ALL THE TIME, is an important step in the struggle to help women feel comfortable in our bodies.
Recently, there have been studies showing that women are supposed to feel “different” in the days before, during and right after their periods. Laura Owen writes about this idea in her book called Her Blood Is Gold: Celebrating the Power of Menstruation. Owen says that the act of ignoring bodily signals and emotional changes in fact increases the pain and discomfort that some women feel. In erasing these differences, telling women that menstruation does not make us any different from men, society is denying the power and creative energy that some women feel while menstruating.
This party is an act of reclaming – revisioning – rescripting cultural accounts of menstruation. It is for all members of our community, not just women, because we can all challenge predominant cultural attitudes.
So, I invite you all to join us tonight!
Thursday, 8pm, Lunt Basement
* arts/crafts * cupcakes * tea * things to learn * raffle * music * good company… *