April 29th, 2013

It's 2013.  Why do women still menstruate? With all the hormone treatment, procedures and gadgets out there, shouldn't we just get rid of menstruation altogether?  

The British/Japanese artist Sputniko! (Hiromi Ozaki) created the video above along with the device in the video - a machine that simulates menstruation by dripping blood and using electrodes to mimic lower abdominal pain.  The Menstruation Machine was featured in the Museum of Modern Art.  Sputniko! believes that periods are unnecessary and modern women shouldn't have to deal with them.  

Ms. Magazine's blog asks the important questions below - questions we think are worth asking our readers here:

"Is menstruation still a necessary part of identifying as a woman? Should it be? Are we afraid that if we decide not to menstruate we will be looked on as lesser women by society? Do we, like Takashi, consider menstruation to be a “female experience,” and as such, one that we should go through every month?

Or is menstruation punishing and restricting women by telling biological females that it is our duty to menstruate to prove our femininity–but then ostracizing from the sisterhood transwomen, post-menopausal women and other women who are unable or unwilling to menstruate?"

Those of us that run this blog all have different opinions about this topic.  I personally don't take pills to regulate my period or for birth control because additional hormones in my system turn me into a crazy lady.  I'm all for women taking control of their lives, but going against my body and getting rid of my period with pills and procedures that aren't 100% time tested and "natural" just doesn't feel right to me.  And messages like these end up making me feel like there is one more thing I should dislike and change about my body.  I'd rather just embrace who I am intrinsically and work with it. 

But what do you think?  Do we need menstruation?  Am I being old fashioned?



Ashley Seil Smith has a background in Anthropology and is currently earning her MFA in Illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She's not very good at juggling multiple things at once, but still finds herself signing up for half marathons while trying to run TPS and go to school.  

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kristina 07:05 PM May 2nd, 2013
A period is a part of life, just as losing it eventually is. A woman who is menopausal is no less a woman than I am. A period does not a woman make. I take birth control, not for it's stated use, nor does it get rid of my period. I have PCOS, a hormonal imbalance that makes them necessary. I think that what eea says has merit, that there are woman who need these pills or surgeries to function normally during their cycle. I also think that women need to be careful of these things and use them only if they are necessary. By the way, Mirena can be dangerous. My sister used Mirena and lost a fallopian tube due to an ectopic pregnancy. So basically, do your research and find what is right for you. That may be a complex surgery or a cup of tea and some chocolate.
eea 04:05 AM May 2nd, 2013
If you've ever had severe cramps, heavy periods, irregular periods, etc., you would appreciate having the option to not deal with that every month (or multiple times a month). Some women have dysmenorrhea that is so bad it makes them vomit and/or unable to move. They can't afford to be incapacitated for 5-7+ days every month. For some, it is a big deal. While my dysmenorrhea doesn't make me vomit, it does cause severe pain. And I have periods twice a month when I'm not on birth control pills. Unfortunately, the pills that let you have a period every 3 months didn't work that well for me. I still had breakthrough bleeding. I have to use the expensive kind that has strong hormones. Also, for some of us, the pill helps prevent us from turning into "crazy ladies" (or at least "craziER ladies."
cait 03:04 PM April 30th, 2013
I don't think it's old fashioned. It's shocking to me that people wouldn't want to have their periods. I don't mind it that much, anyway, it's not that big of a deal.
kaylie 03:04 AM April 30th, 2013
I think periods are important. I'm in the same boat and would never take something to get rid of it altogether. We don't know what these drugs and things will do to us in the long term, even if doctors are saying they're safe. Maybe some other doctor is saying they aren't safe. I have a doctor in my family who says that the safest birth control is Mirena because it's just in your uterus. But who knows if that is true.
sarah 11:04 PM April 29th, 2013
I take the depo shot and I hardly ever get my period. My doctor says it's safe so I trust him and don't think much about it. My periods are a pain and it's GREAT not worrying about it.