Menstrual Museum Calendar Girls

Monika Lidman

The cycles of the moon long defined the cycles of women. Before electric lights, women in similar geographic regions menstruated in cadence with the lunar 28-day cycle. Before “The Virgin in the Moon” was renamed “The Man in the Moon,” menstruation was a highly ritualized, sometimes celebrated event.

Perhaps a collective solidarity formed in those menstruation huts and “red tents” - an unintended effect of being banned from the central household during menses.

Women spend an average of six or seven collective years of their lives menstruating. One would think the experience would be recognized as an important shaping force in our lives, but this realm of our physicality is still taboo; it is minimized and discounted. Because menstruation has been relegated to such a quiet and personal corner, larger sociological, historical, environmental and product safety concerns remain unaddressed.

Even with the re-awakening of the body/mind connection, most women's' awareness of their own internal rhythms is limited to only their mood and the shared jokes about how this affects others. Assimilated attitudes, mostly negative, frame the collective experience with little discourse, humor or celebration. For the most part, women simply “deal” with the “business” of their periods. It is no wonder that our mysterious biology and all resultant dilemmas and body issues are somehow disconnected.

In this series, women in their 20’s and 30’s shared their sentiments concerning this aspect of their physical and emotional lives. They marked the days of their periods on calendar blotters, and added their own writing.

The women’s reactions are as varied as their individual female forms. From “Earth Goddess” to “Sobster” they speak not only of their personal perceptions of their bodies and the process, but of generalized and socialized attitudes toward menstruation.

Each woman was then photographed wearing outdated and bulky sanitary napkins in lieu of more contemporary, invisible products.

The blotters were mounted and encased in clear vinyl, then framed by sanitary napkins. Cotton string was used to whip stitch the edges of each piece.

-Monika Lidman