From The Conditions of Our Togetherness, a serialized comic book appearing monthly, here on Weird Sister.
In the past year or so, something has shifted in our culture in how we’re talking about periods. We recently saw women responding to Donald Trump’s misogynistic comments about news anchor Megan Kelly by live-tweeting their periods at him, and artist Sarah Levy created a portrait of Trump in menstrual blood, and both of these items got a good amount of mainstream media coverage. Over the summer, the story of Kiran Gandhi, a woman who ran the London Marathon while bleeding freely, was being shared widely online, and earlier this year there was some uproar about artist Rupi Kaur’s images of herself with period stains being removed from Instagram. The Atlantic did that piece about why women hide their tampons, and we’ve seen menstrual product marketers playing into women’s interest in more “real” period talk for a while now. And of course there’s the fact that every time I’m in the subway, I see ads for “underwear for women with periods,” which, as far as subway ads go, makes my commute feel kinda like a surreal feminist utopia.
Not to say that we don’t still have a loooong way to go to undo our culture’s widespread period gross-out/shame mentality, but lately it feels like menstruation is getting talked about more openly and honestly than ever before. Maybe we’re lashing out at an administration that’s waging a war on women’s reproductive rights. Or maybe this new cultural shift toward period positivity is just another example of how feminism has been recently more accepted (co-opted, even?) by the mainstream media. Whatever the reason, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that periods have been having somewhat of a renaissance on the internet, and it’s about time.
This is part 3 of a serial comic about travel-as-time-travel between 15 and 35, family vacations and research trips, and learning about being a daughter & a mom & a woman or whatever in London, the place where I had my first training in independence & dependence & terror & writing & adventure & desire.
Previously on My London Diary: I went on a research trip to London with my mom and my two-year-old daughter, and remembered traveling to London for my mom’s sabbatical in 1996; through time travel, I turned myself into a 34-year-old Teen Mom, and realized with reluctance that this is also a story about dads. Or their absence. (Click on image below to view a full-size image of the whole page, or scroll down to see individual panels for easier mobile viewing.)
That’s it for this installment! Below are individual panels if you’re having trouble viewing the whole thing: Continue reading
“The Blank Space (continued), or, Night Fell in the Hole” takes up where our last installment of “The Blank Space” left off. Read part one here, browse part two below, and stay tuned for what happens next in the non-linear, monthly serialization of a project known in its entirety (as it inches toward bookhood) as The Conditions of Our Togetherness.
Coming up as a teenager in a mostly progressive environment, the message about abortion was clear—my body, my choice. I felt happy and empowered by my fist-pumping right to make decisions about my reproductive present and future. The politics behind this choice were relatively clear to me. In school I learned the basics: Roe v. Wade and the history of organizations like Planned Parenthood. I have always been grateful for the right to choose. But not once was there any discussion, in school or elsewhere, of what it actually meant to have an abortion in the physical sense. Like, what actually happens when you go in to have one? Once a woman decides to have an abortion, what choices does she have? These are all very important questions that so few seem to talk about—except for Leah Hayes, that is. Continue reading