Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

you can ignore anything, even blood

June 8th, 2012 by Alexandra Jacoby

THIS ONE is my favorite image among the “THERE WILL BE BLOOD” series of photographs by Emma Arvida Bystrom. It’s of a young woman, in a skirt, reading at a counter that faces a window; you can see blood staining her panties through the glass, and she’s just reading. There’s blue sky, tree branches and buildings, in the reflection, too. A common scene. The colors and shapes in the shot, from each side of the glass fit together in this quiet, familiar way. And, yes, there’s a menstrual blood stain among the colors and shapes.

It’s so matter-of-fact, straight-forward. True.

There will be blood.

[sigh] I LOVE the simple-everyday.

I type that, and my internal studio audience snorts — yeh-right!

When was the last time you did anything but complain about, ignore, speed through or neglect the everyday things?

Be it body, home, job, the people in your life…the weather—EVERYTHING needs to be in order, handled, on time, easily maintained, as expected, neat…dry!…

Because I have things to do.

And, anything that interferes with my ability to get things done is not only of no interest to me, it needs to be eliminated. I don’t want to have to deal with it twice. Sometimes, I canNOT believe I had to deal with it once.


The thing is, now that I’m thinking about it, there isn’t much left after you excise the everyday of our lives. Machines function when you flip a switch. You can turn them on and walk away. Human living takes active participation, maintenance. Otherwise, quality of life suffers, relationships die, homes are a mess, businesses fail, feet get wet in the rain…and you become a rushed, bored, absentee for most of what is actually happening in your daily life.

It’s easy to lose sight of that.

That it’s the everyday details powering our lives.

Which is why I love this image.

It reminds me. Plainly.

Of what is.


Among many other experiences, people and things that are integral to my life (rush past it all as I might often do) —

There will be blood.

4 responses to “you can ignore anything, even blood”

  1. HeatherD says:

    I love this, Alexandra. Thanks for posting. So true. Also what I find even more telling is that I had to click “Yes,” that I was over age 18, to see the image you’re talking about. What that says to me is that the everyday is still scary for everyone (even those of who knows it exists). Imagine kids under 18 seeing the plain, simple everyday. Oh, the horror!

  2. Laura Wershler says:

    This totally resonated with me. Especially this: “Human living takes active participation, maintenance. Otherwise, quality of life suffers, relationships die, homes are a mess, businesses fail, feet get wet in the rain…and you become a rushed, bored, absentee for most of what is actually happening in your daily life.” Sometimes I feel like aversion to everyday things is creating chaos in my own life. I’m going to reframe my approach to these activities.

    We really do need to take care of everyday things, cherish them even, including menstruation. We have to pay attention. I remember seeing or reading about a female doctor who was pro-menstrual suppression complaining that she just didn’t have time to change her pad or tampon during her busy day. I wanted to scream at her, and still do: “Why don’t you stop drinking fluids then so you don’t have to pee, too! Surely you can think of a way to rid yourself of all digestive functions. I mean, who needs them!”

    It was, and is, the stupidest rationalization for suppressing menstruation. Because you can’t be bothered. Thing is, we know that cycle-stopping contraceptives cause all sorts of other problems for many women, side effects that can’t be ignored, defeating the intended purpose of doing away with the bothersome menstrual cycle.

    This series of photographs seem to be saying: “Menstruation is part of everyday life.” Brava to that.

  3. Lisa Leger says:

    I make a point of telling at least one person per cycle when I’m on my period. Its my little way of making it normal and not secretive. I figure that if I share the news, perhaps other women will feel freer to do the same.
    I guess it fits with my general life strategy: Act Like Its Normal And Eventually It Will Come True. I use this strategy to talk to physicians and pharmacists as colleagues and to share political opinions as if they are perfectly valid as anyone else’s. Why be apologetic for something just because it might differ from something else?

  4. Lana says:

    too bad vice is a disgusting sexist magazine that mocks women and marginalized groups constantly. they regularly offer candid images of healthy young women as soft porn and i fear that’s what happened here. notice the social status associated with the models chosen. i hate that images of our womanhood are being associated with the publishers of vice. those men have no respect for women and are portraying menstruation not as beauty but as kink. i hope everyone inspired by this photo spread will think hard about how they relate with misogynists on a daily basis, miss opportunities at confrontation, and also work with artists to self-promote their work so that their potential at reaching affinity groups are realized.

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