Researcher and artist Hiromi Ozaki has created the Menstruation Machine, an art installation featuring an appliance for men or boys (or other people who do not menstruate) to wear to simulate the menstrual experience. It features electrodes attached to the lower abdomen to simulate cramps and a blood-dispensing mechanism that deposits simulated menstrual fluid between the wearer’s legs.
The device is reminiscent of the Empathy Belly® pregnancy simulator, although it is being greeted with much more snark and misogyny. The blogger at Gizmodo is certain he’ll never try it (just skip the comments), and the DC Caller says, “This may appeal to the crowd of women who pull the ‘you don’t understand how I feel’ card once a month to their significant other.”
But the Menstruation Machine is an art project, and the Empathy Belly® is a real product, retailing for $649. It’s intended to be provocative, rather than profitable. Suddenly I’m reminded of the time my college boyfriend told me he wanted to dress as a woman for Halloween. I sneered and told him if he thought its was funny to dress like a woman, he should wear a tampon.