Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Illustrating menstruation with something other than femcare products

May 29th, 2013 by Laura Wershler

Frances, a woman in her 50s, had never talked about menstruation with anyone before attending Scarlet Summer.

The woman who created this image brought her baby with her to the event.

Bleedy the Period Puppet was created by artist Bree Horel.

Andrea, 25, said this piece depicts the multiple emotions she feels around menstruation.

It was great to see the media attention garnered last week by Red Moon Howl, the menstrual poetry slam happening in New York City on Friday night, June 7, 2013, at Marymount Manhattan College. The event is part of the upcoming Society for Menstrual Cycle Research conference – Making Menstruation Matter.

But as re:Cycling noted on our Facebook page, it was a shame the only way Jezebel, The Gloss, and The Frisky could think to illustrate their previews of the event was with stock photos of femcare products.

It made me realize the value of the archive I have of menstrual images created by women who attended the menstrual arts and crafts events we hosted when I was executive director of Sexual Health Access Alberta. At Scarlet Summer [pdf], an event held in August 2007, attendees watched Giovanna Chesler’s documentary Period: End of Menstruation, participated in a discussion, then created visual and tactile illustrations of what menstruation means to them.

In anticipation of the upcoming conference and menstrual poetry slam, here are several menstrual images that may inspire your own periodic creativity.

15 responses to “Illustrating menstruation with something other than femcare products”

  1. Good stuff Laura. I am reminded of the Our Beauty Our Blood workshop weekend we did at Bird River MB. I think it is time to do more of this stuff.

  2. Laura Wershler says:

    Yes, Geraldine, going through these images reminded me how powerful such events are as they invite women to use their imaginations to explore their personal connection to and meaning of menstruation in their lives. It made me nostalgic.

  3. I am distressed that this beautiful page was not able to post correctly on the Social Media Networks. All I could get was the link when I posted from the SMN buttons here – and well as copying the page URL into my Facebook page. It would have been great to have one of the beautiful images pop up.

    The poetry slam is getting a lot of attention on FB. Are there any plan to video record the event? There are many who cannot attend who would like to view the proceedings.

  4. Laura Wershler says:

    Leslie, I’ll post an individual photo on my FB page and the re:cycling page so you can share on social media.

  5. Laura Wershler says:

    The re:Cycling FB page shares well with one photo. Have you tried that?

  6. I agree, it should be filmed and loaded onto YouTube for sure.

  7. Thanks Laura – In the middle of my work day and was just trying to do a quick post – will go to your page and the re: Cycling page and share from there.

    Holly – I think you were in on the FB conversation about recording the herstorical event!

  8. Elizabeth Kissling says:

    Holly and Leslie, I checked with David Linton, who is organizing the poetry slam, and he and the poets are planning to record the event for sure. I’m hoping all who participate will agree, because I’d like to have the video posted here on the SMCR site.

  9. Laura Wershler says:

    Yes! I would love to see it filmed and posted.


  10. WASH United says:

    This art is really inspring. It lets us in on the complex, spiritual, beautiful- and sometimes ugly – but nevertheless natural process that women experience. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Lisa Leger says:

    check out
    (my fav is the christmas angel)

    also see Red Flag by Judy Chicago, 1971
    Could art like that be done today? I wonder…

  12. Elizabeth Kissling says:

    You bet art like that can be done today! Check out the paintings of Sarah Maple, for starters. And scroll through some of the menstrual activist sites on Tumblr some time – or let Josefin tell you about them during our talk next week at SMCR. 😉

  13. Lana says:

    How incredible, I only recently put our article on this event from Femme Fertile on my fridge for inspiration (we look very charming in the picture). I thank you Laura for for having art in the dialogue. I hope to use the same format for working through other realms of sexual health in the future. Best to you and yours, Lana*

  14. Lana, your comment made me go back and review the Femme Fertile editions on the Justisse site. The one you are referring to is at this url if you want to share it with others: Also you might remember the Beauty and Blood edition: Both of these editions are making menstruation matter.

  15. Laura Wershler says:

    Lana, thanks for sharing this. It was an inspiring event. I’d like to see the format used in other realms. Keep me posted about how it goes.

Readers should note that statements published in re: Cycling are those of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Society as a whole.