Menstruation Photography Shouldn’t Be Shocking

Vice magazine published a gallery of photos of women menstruating through their clothes. Well, so what? posted on

Brace yourself, this is gonna get messy. Prepare to be disgusted. Or titillated if that’s what rocks your boat. At least, those are the reactions Vice is probably hoping you’ll have when you click on their “There Will Be Blood” post — a gallery of photos of women menstruating.

I’m woman enough to admit it. They got me. A friend sent me the link and we had a moment of outrage and giggling and disgust and moved on. But my brain didn’t. It percolated over those images with niggling sense that I was being hoodwinked. And finally, like the veritable light bulb moment, it hit me. There’s nothing wrong or gross with any of those photos.

Nothing particularly scandalous going on in this gallery other than obvious taboo. No nudity, no inference of sex save one photo. There is nothing here that couldn’t happen (or has happened) to half the world’s population. So I propose an alternate hypothesis: These photos are beautiful. Or at least a conversation starter as why our culture still sees menstruation as something gross and dirty instead of just another part of life.

So bring it on, menstruation photography. I refuse to be cowed into thinking my body’s natural functions are nothing more than fodder for shock value puns.

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