I took a lot of women’s studies classes in college and even spelled women as “womyn” for a while, but I’ve never quite understood menstrual art. I have a lil’ soft spot for all the artists on this list, but it was loads of humorous fun pulling the lyrics for our Top Five Menstrual Songs:
5. “Cause my swag is serious/Something heavy like a first-day period.” — Janet Jackson, “Feedback”, Discipline
I’m confused. Janet’s periods are heavy on the first day? That sucks.
4. “Fruit flower myself inside-out/I’m tired and I’m bleeding for you.” — PJ Harvey, “Happy & Bleeding”, Dry
This song is about Eve, or something, and how periods are God’s way of punishing women for Eve’s sins. If you believe that sort of thing. I just think Polly Jean is rad.
3. “Raining blood/From a lacerated sky/Bleeding its horror/Creating my structure/Now I shall reign in blood.” — Tori Amos, “Raining Blood”, Strange Little Girls
Fact: This is Tori’s take on a Slayer song called “Reign In Blood”. Something tells me that the metal band probs did not appreciate her turning their song into a feminist menstrual war cry.
2. “What is the color, the color of shame?/Is it red? is it blood, blood red?/Does it creep out from my two legs, up to my face, if you notice the stain?/Never wear white or your shame will creep thru/Never wear white or your shame will creep right thru.” — Heavens To Betsy, “My Red Self”, Kill Rock Stars compilation
This track is from back in the ’90s, during the peak of the Riot Grrl movement. I guess the whole point behind a lot of period music is about reclaiming something that makes girls ashamed. Though I will say I desperately wanted to get my period when I was a teen and though I am not ashamed of it now, I can’t quite understand why I was so enthusiastic.
1. “I didn’t really have much to say the whole time I was there/So I just left a big brown bloodstain/On their white chair.” — Ani DiFranco, “Blood In The Boardroom”, Puddle Dive
I really appreciate Ani’s attention to detail. Guys probably don’t realize this, but period blood is often brownish, not bright red. Which is decidedly less pretty as a stain, fyi. Oh, and for the record, this is not the only Ani DiFranco song about menses. I had many to choose from.