Period Power shirt gives new meaning to graphic tees
Sex sells. And apparently, so do sex organs. Or at least, that’s what clothing store American Apparel hopes.
Earlier this month, American Apparel released a new T-shirt named Period Power, which has a depiction of bleeding female genitalia that is being touched.
The shirt, which cannot be found online — either because it is sold out or because it was taken down — costs $32, according to dose.ca.
According to its designer, 20-year-old Canadian artist Petra Collins, she created the design to display “three very taboo topics about female sexuality — pubic hair, masturbation and menstruation.” She went on to say that “this image is stating that women are not a subordinate creature to just be entered. We are our own beings (in) control of our own sexuality. I find it interesting that images addressing sexuality and reproduction are hidden and often looked at as disgusting.”
Although Collins’ intent to empower women is noble, such a distasteful T-shirt is not the way to achieve this.
In an article published by newsfeed.time.com, Collins is quoted as saying, “I’m really interested in what is hidden from our culture. We are always repressing or hiding what is natural to a post-pubescent body. We’re taught to hate our menstrual cycle and even to hide masturbation.”
It’s not so much that the three taboos represented on the T-shirt are hidden from society; it’s that we would rather ignore them because, truthfully, they are not crucial to recognize — especially not enough to adorn as apparel.
Furthermore, Collins falsely accuses society of making females hate their menstrual cycle. Ask any pre-pubescent girl whose friends have been visited by their “Aunt Flo”; generally, they cannot wait to get their visit. It is not until after they do that they realize Aunt Flo’s gift has less than stellar tag-along gifts, such as cramps and bloating, and this is when, of their own accord, they start disliking the monthly visit.
And as for the element of the masturbation theme, according to an article published on health.howstuffworks.com, 95 percent of men and 89 percent of women reported having masturbated. That being said, it is personal and should be kept as such, and a T-shirt displaying the act will not make it any less taboo.
Supporters of the T-shirt argue that this T-shirt should not be a shock in a world where graphic, mature-content television shows such as HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Girls” exist. However, it’s one thing to pay to view a story with explicit material, while it’s another to display that to the world. While it is true that many crude shirts exist, it does not mean that is it OK to add in another one.
Crude tactics to change society’s way of thinking are not necessary. If Collins’ true mission is to empower women, there are better ways of doing so. Such an example is HellFlo, a monthly service which delivers tampons and candy to girls receiving their first visit.
That’s all. Period.
Opinion columnist Monica Rojas is a print journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]