Monday, September 20, 2010

Adventures in Menstruating #5

By Chella Quint

For whatever reason I'm having a hard time starting this review. Adventures in Menstruating is a well put together zine about, well, it says what it's about on the cover. You can probably guess from the cover if you're interested in this thing or not.

There's a page where Alison Bechdel shows off her reversable shirt (good for hot flashes!), a page on wanting to go back in time and tell '50s advertising execs to create ads that are less demeaning, some fake ads, an interview with the cover model Kitten von Mew, a piece on the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, criticisms of modern adverts, a comic drawn by Sparky Taylor that had pretty cute art, some poetry I didn't really care much for, a fairly interesting piece on "friendly bacteria" yogurt and the way it's advertised (so much content about advertising!), and a couple of other things that are worth discussing a bit more.

The first is an excerpt from the novel Rose of No Man's Land by Michelle Tea. It features a couple of hitchhiking girls throwing a bloody tampon at a creepy boy who's offering them a ride. I showed this to two different girls, one of whom thought it was funny, the other thought it was really gross. I'm somewhere in the middle. I mean, yeah it's kind of funny, but at the same time it seems to create a double standard. I can't really imagine a piece of fiction about boys throwing any sort of bodily fluid at a girl presented in the same positive light. I mean, I can only imagine it turning out as "boys are immature jackasses/incredibly sexist". Do you think otherwise? Let's discuss!

Then there's a piece by Dr. Brooke Magnanti/Belle de Jour about oral sex when you're on your period. This piece make assumptions about guys I find kind of frustrating ("They even eat supermarket value sausages [...] they're not squeamish."), and then discusses proposes the idea of sex as a reward. Now, I know some people are into relationships were one person has power over the other, but I'm really more about equality and respect in relationships. I mean, some of the stuff here is fine and good, but other bits makes me wonder what the response would be if it was about guy's trying to get anal sex or something. ie. I'll go down on you if you let me fuck in you in the ass. Hmm...

Surely having an understanding partner is better than trying to trick them into doing something they don't want to do. Yes, we should discuss sex, menstruation, and so forth, but I guess I'm not really down with the whole style of this zine. Still, to each their own, and lots of people do seem to like this sort of thing.

There's just two things I'd really wish the creator(s?) of this zine would do. The first is learn to use paragraphs, they are awesome. There are entire pages here that are just blocks of text. This is hard to read!

The second is also to do with the text, as some of the fonts used are hideous. Belle de Jour's piece is difficult to read because it uses a font that is terrible for articles. Headlines? Other short pieces of text? Yeah, fine, but urgh, it looks awful here.

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