Bleeding on Donald Trump’s Face
Recent events in the political circus of the Republican party have highlighted Donald Trump’s disdain for women and his overwhelming tendencies to embarrass himself and his “party.” In an interesting twist of events, menstrual cycles have started to play a major role in how women are rebelling against Trump’s unbridled misogyny. After suggesting that Fox News pundit Megyn Fox asked him difficult questions because of her menstrual status (“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes…Blood coming out of her wherever.”) during the Republican debate on August 6, 2015, reactions were swift and full of feisty menstrual rebellions. Women from across the country wrote op-eds and fumed openly on the air, in print, and on social media about these archaic beliefs that women’s menstrual cycles invalidated their legitimate claims to difficult questions or angry/aggressive responses to misogynistic public figures. Women on Twitter started live-tweeting their menstrual updates to Donald Trump. For example:
Sarah Levy, an artist from Portland, made a menstrual painting of Donald Trump’s face entitled Whatever. Women clearly wanted their menstrual cycles in his face, on his face, boldly and decisively fighting back against the shaming of their menstrual cycles.
This incident reminded me of the power of menstrual activism in its many forms. Relying on mockery, menstrual art, information conversations, feminist responses on social media, and satire, women made it clear that they will not tolerate attacks on women for their menstrual status, especially from blowhards like Trump. Each of the tactics they used has its own merits, logics, and successes. I am especially fond of the power of women reminding the world that millions of women are currently menstruating, that bloody vaginas are sitting in the room right now. The live-tweeting technique in that sense seemed especially poignant. I have written many columns here about the importance of “outing” one’s menstrual status; in the case of live-tweeting periods to Donald Trump, these “outings” serve as a powerful reminder of the presence of menstruating women and the power of their collective voices.
Similarly, menstrual art is, I think, inherently rebellious and should be considered a key expression of menstrual activism. Using menstrual blood to create (and in this case, to demean, mock, trivialize, insult, and laugh at Donald Trump’s buffoonery) underscores the power of “going public” with the private or abject fluid that women are supposed to keep secret and unseen. Levy’s painting, a browning, gooey reminder of women’s menstrual graffiti—our presence on your presence—is wonderfully subversive and grotesquely clever. As we celebrate menstrual activism this month, let’s remember that it has many iterations and many faces (and, in some cases, enjoys bleeding directly onto Donald Trump’s face).
Breanne Fahs is an Associate Professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University, where she specializes in studying women’s sexuality, critical embodiment studies, radical feminism, and political activism. She is also a clinical psychologist specializing in sexuality, couples work, and trauma recovery.