Bil Browning

Things I learn via press release and The Google

Filed By Bil Browning | August 02, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: menstruation, periods, radical menstruation, reader e-mails, reduce reuse recycle, WTF

I'll never ask for a second serving of carrots again. This press release hit my inbox Friday afternoon. Emphasis mine.

The 2nd Annual Be Your Own Hero Festival will be taking place at the Soapbox in Wilmington, North Carolina September 27-28th 2008.
In 2007, Wilmington NC was home to the first Be Your Own Hero Festival, an all day Do It Yourself (DIY) Festival held at the Soapbox Laundro Lounge. The Festival included a Really Really Free Market, Potluck, workshops, info sessions and live music. 2007’s workshops included: DIY parenting (a radical concept), basic bicycle repair, truth in recruiting / promoting peace, social activism & the info-war, radical menstruation, food politics, trans 101 (becoming an ally to transgender people), unconventional action (organizing against the DNC/RNC) and DIY DJ Workshop. Bands included: The Brothels, The Nothing Noise, Gator Country, Prize Winners Collective, NED, and Ghost Mice.

WTF? Radical menstruation? Eww.

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Is that what happens when the monthly bill comes due for Britney Spears, when she's going commando?

Uh, Bil?

I'm just gonna keep sitting here on the reusable cloth pad I ordered from an independent, woman-owned company and try to convince myself that you didn't mean it when you posted "Eww" up there, like I'm just being a humorless feminist and missing the joke or something.


Radical, non-wasteful, indie-business-supporting, and cyclically bloody sans shame

No, the ewww was from using the blood to fertilize your carrots and then serving it for dinner to unsuspecting company!

I realise the carrots feature is top of Google's search results for 'radical menstruation', but I don't think it's representative of the movement in general. So without the clarification in your comment, this post does seem to just read like "menstruation = gross".

I'm sorry Nine. That wasn't my intent. Personally, I've never really given much thought to periods since I don't have one. I mean, they don't disgust me or anything as some gay men claim. I don't have periods in my life other than my daughter, if you know what I mean. It'd be like asking women if semen disgusts them. What's anyone gonna do about it?

If that's not representative of the movement in general, what is? The top two search results I found had fertilizing carrots and then fertilizing roses. I admit to stopping the search after that because I thought it was gross and assumed that was what it was about.

And what's up with the "I use a reusable cotton pad" part? I thought that was environmentalism rather than radical menstruation. I mean, what's radical about not contributing more plastic to the dump? Surely, that's not what it's about - is it?

If so, I assumed it was much more radical - as in the first two search results....

Thanks, Bil. Well, I've never attended a radical menstruation workshop and I haven't even got as far as using the likes of a mooncup, so it's not like I get to be spokesperson. But I'd say that the environmentalism is one big part of it. It's more than that, though - it's about how tampons can be bad for women and put them at risk of TSS, so these alternatives are healthier too. Or about how this huge industry exists to discreetly deal with the 'problem'/'embarrassment'/etc of menstruation, and how girls are taught to feel shame about their bodies. Or about how, at least in some countries, menstrual products are (or have been) taxed because they're seen as a 'luxury', while (men's) shaving products haven't been because they're apparently a 'necessity'.

(I think that the stuff about fertilising carrots & roses were both in the same link - the first one you posted doesn't seem to mention either.)

My understanding is that the "reusing menstrual blood" is at the far end of the radical menstruation movement, actually, with the term covering all sorts of alternatives to mass-produced products that aren't particularly healthy for women specifically or the environment in general.

I'm glad you clarified what you were expressing disgust at, because I was ready to get bent out of shape. :-)

Bil, I knew you were going to get hammered when I saw the two sentences, "Radical menstruation? Eww."

I grew up with all of the body-positive female-empowering talk about the wonderous, life affirming cyclical nature of life. And the feminist idealogy of how society is vested with stigmatizing and mystifying what is a perfectly natural process, and not an impediment to women doing anything.

If you have deal with monthly periods, it probably makes sense to try and have a positive attitude and only use politically correct language to discuss menstruation.

But honestly, it is disgusting. (and now I'll get hammered for saying this) There is nothing good about it, unless you're planning on having approximately 30 babies in your lifetime. And environmentalism that requires anything but the immediate, permanent disposal of menstrual blood is requiring too much. It would make more sense to recycle feces instead. (No, I'm not advocating that. Just making an analogy)

Wait, what's the problem with the carrots? Considering the chemicals and crap that gets put on them in more traditional farm settings (and, yeah, literal crap), I would hope that we'd all just realize that we should be washing vegetables anyway, no matter who's going to eat them, and there's nothing gross about that.

I guess you'll hear a big ewww, and TMI, now then Rory. I actually like to give oral then. I never have found it disgusting. Maybe I just have menses envy. ;)

I *do* happen to use a divacup, and I love it. It's about environmentalism, yes. It's also about not letting the patriarchy of our society inform me of how I should feel about some things my body does that are, actually, pretty darn cool when you get down to it. And it's about not buying into the large corporations that tampax and kotex all are.

whoa. fertilizing carrots with cow shit is okay but women's blood isn't? i'm kind of offended by that. my blood is grosser than animal shit?

and hey. using reusable pads IS RADICAL. i mean, bil, did you READ either of those articles you linked to? past the part about the carrots i mean? think about how grossed out you are by women's blood then think about how no one talks about periods except to say how gross and embarrassing they are. think about what that's like to grow up with. imagine if everything you ever heard about semen was that it was something to be ashamed of and hide at all possible costs, instead of lauding it parading it around the way most of society currently thinks of male sexual organs. then think about the ridiculous amount of money women waste on uncomfortable plastic asswads full of toxic chemicals that pollute the earth when they could spend $50 at lunapads (or even make their own) and then be done with it. but no one knows about it. it's this total taboo subject; even among a lot of women who ascribe as radical feminists it'd be too embarrassing to bring up. i'd really like to see an analysis that shows the 25+ cents less that women make per dollar PLUS all the money they spend on pads/tampons throughout their life compared to men's salaries and grooming needs. then i'd like to see reusable pads, sponges, and cups included in sexual health education materials. that would be radical.

also i'm sorry but don't knock reusable pads as "too gross" until you try them. i thought they'd be kinda gross but they are WAY less gross/messy and WAY more comfortable than pads/tampons. plus they're cheap and they come in nice colors. and (granted mine are red, but blood stains brown, so) they don't even get stained.