Below-right is a copy of the Diagram of Menstruation on Wikipedia’s “Menstruation” page. This is the closest Wikipedia gets to portraying “menstrual blood”. For some reason the blood is in the diagram is pink (not red). Wikipedia states that “menstrual fluid” contains blood, cervical mucus, vaginal secretions, and endometrial tissue, and describes it as: “reddish-brown, a slightly darker color than venous blood.” However Wikipedia won’t provide any actual photos of menstrual fluid (either normal photographs or microscopic photos of the cellular structure). In addition, there is no separate Wikipedia page for “menstrual fluid” or “menstrual blood” (both redirect back to the generic “Menstruation” page). In complete contrast, the “blood” page on Wikipedia has numerous images of blood – including several microscopic photos of blood cells, and two normal photos of blood (one of a bleeding finger, and the other of blood in two test tubes).
Why is a photo of menstrual blood considered too inappropriate to put on Wikipedia? In Western society today menstrual fluid is usually considered gross or disgusting, and very private. Perhaps this is because of the region of the body that it is excreted from. Most of the other excretions from the genital/anal region of the human body are also commonly viewed as “gross” and private – for example: faeces, urine, seminal fluid, vaginal mucus, and cervical mucus. Interestingly many of the Wikipedia pages for those excretions (with the exception of the “urine” page) also avoid using photos much like the menstruation page does. For example (a) the Wikipedia page for “faeces” only has some brown-coloured drawings (it doesn’t have any actual photos); and (b) the “seminal fluid” page doesn’t have any photos of how semen looks in ‘day-to-day’ life (it has two photos, however one of the photos is of the cells under a microscope, and the other is of semen stains on a carpet under an ultraviolet light). The “vaginal mucus” page is extremely short and has no photos, and there is no page (or photos) at all for “cervical mucus” (it has a tiny sub-heading under the “cervix” page).
Why doesn’t Wikipedia have separate pages for “menstrual fluid”, “menstrual blood”, “cervical mucus”, or “endometrial tissue”? It is strange that Wikipedia has an extensive page for seminal fluid, but it does not have any page at all for “menstrual fluid”, “menstrual blood”, “cervical mucus”, or “endometrial tissue”. In addition, its page for “vaginal mucus” is extremely short (only 4 lines long). All of these fluids are really important & interesting, and women deal with either menstrual fluid or vaginal/cervical mucus secretions almost every day during their menstrual cycles. Cervical mucus is fascinating because it changes throughout the course of a menstrual cycle (its at it’s most stretchy, sweet-smelling & translucent around the time of ovulation). Menstrual fluid is also fascinating because it is composed of special fluid/tissue that was intended to nourish an embryo (if pregnancy had occurred). However, I note that Wikipedia does have a page for the “Endometrium” (the uterus lining), and that that page contains microscopic photos of the cellular structures.
The gender gap on Wikipedia: Why is there a comprehensive Wikipedia page on seminal fluid but very little information on Wikipedia about “menstrual fluid”, “menstrual blood”, “cervical mucus”, and “endometrial tissue”? I think the gender make-up of Wikipedia’s editors has something to do with it. Wikipedia’s editors are 87% male. Wikipedia acknowledges this issue, “The significant and stable under-representation of women results in persistently unbalanced coverage (e.g. articles related to football are much more developed than articles related to motherhood) in Wikipedia.” Sarah Stierch elaborates: “It’s not just that women aren’t editing – but women’s history and related subject matter is underrepresented in Wikipedia. For years white men have been writing the history of the world – and that includes Wikipedia (the average editor is a white male).”