- This month, people in North America will be able to see the first of a lunar eclipse tetrad—a series of 4 consecutive total eclipses occurring at approximately six month intervals. Weather permitting, the April 15 lunar eclipse is expected to be visible across the entirety of North America. This stunning red moon is also known as blood moon.
- An egg donor – a misnomer if there ever was one – tells her story of the process in BUST magazine.
- The Centers for Disease Control has documented a rare case of lesbian transmission of HIV in the U.S.
- Buzzfeed, home of gif-illustrated listicles and interactive quizzes as varied as which member of The Simpsons are you and what type of igneous rock do you most resemble, deserves all of the prizes this week with their How Metal Your Period? quiz. I’ve lost track of how many people have shared this with me or posted on Facebook. I’m seeing women who usually wouldn’t post about periods posting their results from this quiz, with giggly praise for about how “normalizing” it is. Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo even said as much at Slate. A few sample answers:
- Your uterus is a dark storm cloud and once a month it RAINS BLOOD out of your vagina for days on end. You, my friend, are very fucking metal.
- If Satan himself sacrificed a thousand demon goats, it wouldn’t be half as bloody as what your uterus expels each month. You are the most metal, my friend.
- This is an astonishing photo exhibit of ”the 14 most beautiful vaginas on the planet“.
- There is deafening silence around miscarriage, whether pregnancy is intended or unintended. Here is a small plea for some noise and understanding: ‘You Didn’t Want it Anyway, So Why Are You So Upset?’
Readers—I need your help!
Next month, I will participate in a friendly debate at the Museum of Modern Art about Sputniko!’s provocative piece “Menstrutation Machine.” We’ve written about Menstruation Machine on re:Cycling before. In short, the metal device is equipped with a blood-dispensing system and electrodes that stimulate the lower abdomen, thus replicating the pain and bleeding of a five-day menstrual period.
Here’s the video that the artist created to simulate what it was like for one fictional boy (Takashi) when he wore the device while socializing with a friend in the streets of Tokyo.
The debate is part of a series Design and Violence-an “ongoing online curatorial experiment that explores the manifestations of violence in contemporary society by pairing critical thinkers with examples of challenging design work.”
The exact debate resolution is still being worked out, but it will revolve around this question of EMPATHY.
That is, what is the potential of “Menstruation Machine,” specifically, or any other object, to engender empathy in another?
Need more examples? Think Empathy Belly (thanks to sister blogger Chris Hitchcock who conjured that connection).
But we can extend the concept to ANY experience designed to expressly help an individual see inside someone else’s reality. Think “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”, the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence, “a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women”; The Blind Café; or the TV show 30 Days, “An unscripted, documentary-style program where an individual is inserted into a lifestyle that is completely different from his or her upbringing, beliefs, religion or profession for 30 days.”
So, dear readers, I am hungry for you to share your thoughts as I prepare for the debate.
What do YOU think?
Can design help us be more empathic?
Can a non-menstruator ever really know what it is like to menstruate?
Can a temporary simulated experience, like this or any other, build a bridge?
Are there limits to what we can know of another’s lived experience, even if we can, for a short while, FEEL the pain?
- “A for effort, sperm”: The Guy’s Guide to Birth Control, from Bedsider (video at right).
- More patronizing advice from a dude: 5 Things Your Girlfriend’s Tampon Box Won’t Tell You.
- Chicagoans, please tell us all about Period Piece — the musical comedy that tells the story of Tammy DuPont, a hard-nosed business-woman, who travels through space and time with the assistance of a magical sanitary napkin belt to find appreciation for her body. Showing Fridays at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, February 21-March 21.
- British doctors have been advised to warn patients they are almost twice as likely to develop blood clots with newer birth control pills such as Yasmin, Femodene, and Marvelon compared with older products.
- According to a recent online survey of 1,000 women ages 18 to 40 from across the U.S., half of the respondents incorrectly believed that having sex more than once per day would increase their chances of getting pregnant. The study, published in the journal Fertility & Sterility, found many other misconceptions about conception.
- Internet vaginacologist Dr. Jen Gunter explains why you really can’t kickstart your period.
- Erika Moen reviews the internal condom, also known as the female condom, in comic form for Bitch magazine.
- A Journal of Ethnopharmacology review of plants used traditionally for women’s healthcare in Southeast Asia finds “a basis” for their use, and asserts “these species can be used as the starting point in the discovery of new drugs”.
- Did you know that five years ago, the lovely and talented Madeleine of Lunapads made a DIY video to teach you how to make your own cloth pads? As she explained at the time, it’s not how to make Lunapads, but, “The videos and pattern download were created in response to two needs: first, as a possible option for those who can’t afford Lunapads, or to support those who prefer to make things themselves, just because. Second is to offer it as an instructional tool for women in Africa to make pads for themselves and/or as commercial products, as well as for crafters in this neck of the woods who want to make pads to contribute as donations to Pads4Girls“.