“Period Power” to the People?

I think I’ll go shopping this week. I will venture into the nearest American Apparel and get a new t-shirt for my fall collection. Oh, what should I get? I have enough t-shirts. So, I will have to get something intriguing and eye-popping. Oh, I’ve got it! I’ll get the new “Period Power” T-Shirt! I apologize for the sound of albums screeching everywhere. Yes, there’s a new American Apparel t-shirt advocating “Period Power”.

I am a woman – a liberal, free-thinking woman. Each month, for six days, I encounter a blessing and an annoyance from God – my period. Yes, I’ve just put God and the mention of my period in the same sentence. The Apocalypse is near. Guess what? I am not ashamed. Why should I? As I wrote before, he (or she) blessed me with a fully functioning body, which includes a regular menses. I am thankful for this natural part of life that’s given me two beautiful children. Certainly, I am not alone. So, what’s the problem?

Apparently, when menstruation comes into play, men and women, young and old, straight, gay, and in-between, cringe. So, help me. If I have to see another maxi pad commercial with blue liquid placed on it, I’m going to scream. Blood is not blue. That’s Biology 101. Was I the only one present in class on the day human anatomy was covered? Somehow we’ve brought into the notion that the concept of menstruation is intolerable, particularly in mixed company.

However, a movement to erase the stigma is brewing. The t-shirt’s designer, Petra Collins, joined by illustrator Alice Lancaster, places an artistic rendering of a woman’s crotch that’s both menstruating and experiencing masturbation at the same time. “We are always repressing or hiding what is natural to a post-pubescent body,” said Collins. “We’re taught to hate our menstrual cycle and even to hide masturbation.” (Hamilton, 2013).

Well, alright then. Of course, they have detractors labeling the t-shirt “gross” . Fortunately, I am all for it. Now, mind you. I don’t think I’ll wear the shirt myself. Something tells me that wearing it to my son’s next cross-country invitational  would stamp me as my conservative suburb’s local Hester Prynne. Normally, I don’t shy away from controversy. In fact, I tend to court it. However, at my age, I prefer to show my support in a less extreme fashion. Nonetheless, Ms. Collins and Ms. Lancaster are doing a good thing. Any means of erasing the stigma of a natural course of humanity is a step in the right direction.


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