Smear It on Your Face, Rub It on Your Body, It’s Time to Start a Menstrual Party!
This article explores current attitudes about menstruation and the resulting menarchy movement. Menarchy, or menstrual anarchy, is a response to negative attitudes about menstruation. Menarchists critique the femcare industry, pharmaceutical companies, and advertisements that produce and reinforce ideas that menstruation should be concealed and hidden. Feminist theorists reference a long history of equating menstruation with failed reproduction and reducing menstruation to a curse. The commodification of menstruation and women’s bodies combined with bioethical implications of menstrual suppression have created a sense of urgency in the menarchist movement. Menarchists, influenced by Third Wave feminism and the Do-It-Yourself-inspired punk counterculture, are coming out of the menstrual closet. As activists and artists, they are creating alternative menstrual products and critiquing mainstream discourses about menstruation. This article exposes part of the expanding menarchist archive that is accumulating on the Internet. Menarchists are critiquing and improving menstrual management while simultaneously reconceptualizing menstruation. By embracing the abject quality of menstrual blood, menstruators are transforming their own attitudes toward their monthly cycle and radicalizing menstruation.