Menstruation Pictures & Art

Expressing menstruation in art…

The image to the right portrays menstruation as a disability. Its symbolism is explained here: “The huge nose in this picture is distortional and phallic. It lends to the fairly ironic but poignant notion that the subject’s menstruation (femininity) actually leads to her feeling like a monstrous, less-than-woman creature. This use of a phallic symbol to connote an absence of femininity is relevant to the idea that femininity and masculinity only exist as a struggle to be the other’s polar opposite. The sagging lines on her face, the drooping of her breasts, her baldness, large ears and rounded stomach all are contrary to what society finds ideally femininely beautiful. With this challenge to conventional beauty, the image of the subject as some sort of freak is driven in further. In this way this painting becomes less about menstruation/ femininity as a disability within itself, but within the society we live in.”

The above painting is Judy Chicago‘s controversial 1971 photolithograph, depicting a bloody tampon and a menstruating woman. Chicago’s image was one of the first pieces in which a tampon was depicted in art.

jessica chow

The above photograph by Jessica Chow was part of a May 2010 display at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Ms Chow displays used tampons to demonstrate the pedestrian-ness of periods and menstrual bleeding. Her work was covered up, after the dean of school assessed the work as “too shocking” for viewers. Covering up the photo changed the message of Chow’s photo and suggested that there is something shameful about the picture.

In the above picture, a red pixie is used to symbolize the woman’s period (it is the alternative to a human foetus).


The above is a piece by Vanessa Tiegs. Vanessa’s Menstrala have appeared in a number of academic journals throughout the world since 2003, as well as several San Francisco art galleries, and an experimental exhibit onboard the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. Her Menstrala have already been featured in five international film productions.

The above piece is by Bechabesna

I love the above piece. Unfortunately I can’t remember who the piece is by & I don’t have a link to the artist’s website etc. Let me know if you know!

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One Response to Menstruation Pictures & Art

  1. Great images. Your blog is informative with lots of varied information. Keep up the good work!
    Positive menstrual images can enhance women’s dignity and self esteem. Being a woman is still the subject of a lot of subtle and not so subtle insults. Positive images counter the negative and help women talk about this sensitive issue.
    There are real health issues that are important for women to get properly assessed. It is shocking that even in our modern world there are still some women who are too embarrassed about their periods or period pain that they cannot get professional medical assessment. This is tragic. Lack of treatment can result in a range of medical conditions including anaemia and infertility.
    I have done similar woman art work with a camera. See the allegorical and symbolic photos on my website;
    I would like to swap links. I have already added your blog to my links page.

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