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The Crimson Tide, Surfing the Red Wave, Pictures of Menstrual Blood

May 22, 2012

One woman’s art exhibit is another woman’s brouhaha, and pictures of supposed menstrual blood are no exception.  There is a site: There Will Be Blood that includes photos of menstrual blood on women’s pants, underwear or running down their legs.

While a Huff Post writer found the photos something she thought about afterward for quite some time:

I had an instant visceral reaction and had to step back and think a little bit harder before I could really enjoy them. My feelings somewhat mirrored those of Buzzfeed’s Donna D.:

“I’m woman enough to admit it. They got me. A friend sent me the link and we had a moment of outrage and giggling and disgust and moved on. But my brain didn’t. It percolated over those images with niggling sense that I was being hoodwinked. And finally, like the veritable light bulb moment, it hit me. There’s nothing wrong or gross with any of those photos.”It’s telling that even though we’re bombarded daily with graphic photographs of war and other violence — often involving quite a bit of blood — VICE‘s series still shocks. Period blood is so verboten in the public eye that the first “feminine hygiene” ad to use the color red when illustrating what actually ends up on those products was released just last summer (the ad shows a single, prim red dot), and we’ve come up with an insane amount of euphemisms to allude to our menstrual cycles. (Some of those are priceless, by the way — see Cher Horowitz telling her high school teacher about how she was “surfing the crimson wave” and had to “haul a** to the ladies’.”)

While I was not offended, nor bothered by the photos, I think that it’s a good thing to talk about menstruation.  It’s kind of like childbirth:  if that ridiculous “artist” who designed a statue to look like a provocative pose of Britney Spears giving birth gets notoriety, then why not put out pictures owning our own bodily functions?  God knows how many statues contain phallic symbols, but let their be female blood,and the whole situation goes awry?

Realistically, women talk about their periods all the time, and while not all women are incapacitated, many do feel sick.  Why this would be any different from any other accepted bodily function is beyond me.  Check out the photos, and while you may be shocked, my guess is that you won’t.

As one of my uncles  said one time:  “We’re all old married guys around here. It doesn’t faze us…” when a woman commented about bleeding and no one looked shocked. For the record, she was talking about her leg, but it sounded like she was telling everyone in the room that she had her period.  She clarified to much embarrassment, but why the same.  So maybe most men have that take on a woman’s body and maybe women are the ones who feel the need to hide.  Is it a marketing ploy?  A symbol of fertility, or one of those things like shaving our legs that seems monumentally important at 12, when it reaches its pinnacle and steadily degrades in shock value from there? The photos aren’t shocking to me, but what is shocking is that you have to click on something saying you’re 18 years old to view them.  Hello!  Most women menstruate at age 12!

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