WOMENSENEWS recently ran a story about researcher Elizabeth Kissling’s blog, which is dedicated to topics of menstruation, and also serves as a gathering place for menstrual activism. Kissling is president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and her blog is called “re:Cycling.” Since the 1980s she’s researched the social and commercial treatment of periods, and has written numerous articles and one book on the subject.
What does her blog intend to do? Well, according to Jackie Bishof, Womensenews correspondent, the blog’s goal is to broaden the audience for the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and dispel the stigma, shame and phobia that she finds clinging to this so called unclean aspect of female identity. The blog promotes the idea that it is OK to talk about menstruation.
Kissling and the co writers discuss the fact that it is often difficult for women to discuss their periods with doctors, friends and intimate partners. The blog’s creator discusses advertisers and how they can’t promote products used during periods, without also promoting an idea of shame and body hatred.
Chris Bobel, who is a regular blogger on Kissling’s site said that she hopes the blog can help to reframe the cultural discourse around menstruation, something which she finds destructive. She says that the culture dictates that menstruation should be covered up, hidden, not talked about. Yes, that is certainly the way most cultures operate. And on a side note, I want to say that I agree with Gloria Steinem, in an essay she wrote on menstruation many years ago, that if men had their periods it would be a whole different ballgame.
Moving on, Bobel said that,”Our cultural attitudes about the menstrual cycle are reflective of our cultural attitudes about women’s bodies and, more generally, our cultural attitudes of women.” She couldn’t be more right.
The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research was founded in 1979, and includes humanities scholars, students, teachers, medical professionals and artists. They meet every two years to discuss their latest research.