Category Archives: blog

Choose Your Own Adventure in Menstruating

I’ve been thinking a lot about Having Adventures lately, and that always brings me back to those old Choose Your Own Adventure books. Remember those? Then I happened to be chatting to a couple of friends about it last night, and thought I’d put up a link to a post I did a few years ago about a strange and silly discovery I made:

Choose Your Own Adventure in Menstruating.

British Library Archive!

My blog is going to be archived by the British Library! How cool is that? They’ve asked me because it ‘represents aspects of UK documentary heritage’. The answer is yes because A: I’m a total library fangirl, B: that is one of my favourite places in England – it’s usually my first stop after I get off the train in London and I have spent inappropriate amounts of both time and money in the gift shop, and C: How cool of an honour is that? Wow! Thank you, British Library.

Why, thank you.

I’ve just had a very cool review from Olga Wolstenholme’s sex positive blog! Woohoo and thank you! 

Incidentally – it was quite heartening to read about Olga’s positive responses when she wrote about her diva cup (she refers to this in the post). One bad comment (also mentioned)  really can spoil the whole bunch at first, but I find visceral responses like that point up a lot of shame behind the knee-jerk reaction of a nasty remark. Which means there’s all the more reason to put period positive stuff out there – those taboos clearly need breaking. I quite like her (mostly in jest) disclaimer: ”As long as you’re not being ignorant or oppressive, you can go right ahead and think blood is gross.” 

A very good point. Nice one, Olga.

How about a viral campaign for…masculine hygiene products?

It’s all marketing.

Marketing sanitary towels toward women – easy.

Let’s give these advertisers a real challenge, though – try aiming them at men.

We dare ya.


…About Skids. They don’t really exist – sorry. We can’t really condone more disposable products anyway, and at least underwear is washable. This isn’t really a scatalogical campaign – it’s mainly about showing up feminine hygiene ads for what they are.

If you’ve seen the Skids ads, they should have looked familiar to you. The language, imagery and style are all in keeping with tampon and maxi-pad adverts through the ages. Euphemism-laden, soft-focused and coy, these ads have influenced cultural taboos. Despite the potential of new media to break the cycle, these same old techniques and lazy stereotypes are beginning to infiltrate feminine hygiene product websites and social networking sites as well.

In light of this, we reckoned sometimes the only way to beat ’em is to join ’em. We created the ad campaign to point up some classic conventions that only jump out at you when the situation is reversed. So the next time you see a feminine hygiene ad, think twice.

By the way – it is in no way our intention to mock people who have incontinence.

We’d like to say a big thank you to the guys who (mostly) willingly agreed to pose for the print ads (you know who you are), the pros at Cakebread Illustrations who helped us do the spoof site, and Juma Print in Sheffield for the print ad shenanigans and bemused continual support.

Oh yeah – we do a live commercial for Skids in the sketch show – after one gig some guys came up to us and said ‘We really felt you understood our embarrassment! We felt so included!’  Never thought we’d hear that in response to a comedy sketch show about menstruation.

Like we always say – our stuff is for menstruators and non-menstruators alike.

(Reprinted from our page that clicking all the links on the Skids site eventually brings you to. It’s a bit like a Choose Your Own Adventure in Menstruating.  It seemed apt.)

The Ultimate Sci-Fi

Hello! Today is my wife Sarah’s birthday. Sarah tells me that it’s also Einstein’s birthday, Billy Crystal’s birthday, and Pi Day (because the date in the US is 3.14…tenuous but cute). In the UK, where we do the date with the month second, it’s Mother’s Day.

Readers of Issue 1 of Adventures in Menstruating (which is now long out of print – sorry) may remember the intro where I mentioned I might one day do the ‘ultimate sci-fi and regenerate or spawn an army of likenesses from one cell of my own DNA, not unlike the Daleks on Doctor Who.’

That’s still in the future, but, for now, if you’re a funny genius mum,  or if you’re pregnant and your circumference is expanding proportionately to your diameter, or you’re an awesome performance poet birthday girl (or are somewhere in the Venn of all of the above), hope you had a great day.

Every Day is International Women’s Day

Especially when you’ve partied all weekend and slept through the real one. Does it count that I partied in a foreign country? (The savvy readers among you will remember that I live  in a foreign country, so don’t answer that one too quickly.)

Anyway, here’s a great little piece from the Onion that popped up on our facebooks yesterday.

Girl Welcomed to Womanhood With Four-Page Pamphlet

from The Onion

Cheers to all the new facebook fans and new readers from over on Belle’s blog – you may notice that I don’t take a whole lot seriously.

But, in all seriousness, US readers should check out Elissa Stein and her book Flow on The View today. It is about time she got some more recognition!

Those of you who appreciate baking-related humour may love (or loathe, but they say that’s the same emotion, right?) this Cakewrecks feature. I’m giving that a not-menstrual-but-should be.

And finally, if you’re making yourself a stain for our Stains TM campaign, please send in a pic. We’ll post a few on here!

Happy day-after-international-women’s-day, particularly to all the awesome international women I know.


Blog for Choice Day 2010

The writing prompt for Blog for Choice Day 2010 is:

In honor of Dr. George Tiller, who often wore a button that simply read, “Trust Women,” this year’s Blog for Choice question is:

What does Trust Women mean to you?

I should admit now that I’m rubbish at writing to prompts. I was simply going to point you toward this outstanding protest on the plinth by comedian and compere extraordinaire Kate Smurthwaite, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading about after I met her at Feminism in London. It’d be pretty cool if that action ended up in this exhibition, actually (but since it’s opening tomorrow, probably not).

But now, back to that “Trust Women” button…

I’m a huge fan of badges, pins, one-inch buttons…whatever you call them, I like them.  I’ve got a badge that says ‘I Am The Face of Pro-Choice America’. It’s about 2 1/2 inches across. It’s still on the pinboard on my old bedroom door back home with a lot of other badges that made more sense in the US than in the UK. Maybe I’ll go get it next time I visit my parents, though, and put it on.

Would I wear a badge that said ‘Trust Women’? If the rest of the sentence is ‘Trust women enough to legally allow us to have a choice about the termination of a pregnancy.’ then yeah, I would.  For me being pro-choice is about asserting my right to take responsibility for my own well-being.  People that demand control over that seem to be projecting an awful lot of mistrust in my general direction. How about another badge that says ‘Go Trust Yourself’?

Go Re: Cycling Go!

Mad props to Liz, Chris et al at Re: Cycling for the zillion* props and shoutouts at Women’s E-News!

And I’m still stroking the cover of Flow and repeatedly flicking through it to look at the awesome kitschy pictures and shiny red pages, and will have a review up before long.

And I’ve taught myself how to animate (ish), recorded a comic essay for Femme Fatale on Leeds Student Radio this Saturday, written more of  a short story and done some work on the next issue of Adventures in Menstruating.

But…blog. Yes. Back now.


*a real number


Ok, first of all, The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research just helped my viral campaign take one of its first baby viral steps with this blog post by the always awesome Chris Bobel.

Second of all, they alerted those of us already on red alert about a certain US women’s magazine (Elizabeth Kisslingof SMCR calls them, ladymags) that encouraged women to snub a cool looking new book. Stay tuned for a review and interview with the authors.

And third of all, in our annual Halloween run up I’m posting this year’s first offering from Tampon Crafts.

Imagine a world where we use reusable, eco friendly feminine hygiene products most of the time, and tampons become these things that are just sort of…you know…kicking around because they’re handy now and again, or some people still use them, or you never threw out that last box and it’s still there next to some  out-of-date vitamin C, and you only noticed it when you took down the box of Sesame Street band-aids.

Ok, are you picturing that?  If it helps, your band-aid has Ernie and Bert on it.

So here’s something to do with those tampons.


How cute is that?

Full instructions for the ghost (and a bat!) are available at the above link.



I’ve been doing some writing today for issue #5 of Adventures in Menstruating, and I’ve also been working on a couple of new reviews for Feminist Review blog. Issue #5 is on schedule to come out around Christmas, but if you need some reading material until then, here are two reviews that have just been posted.  Feminist Review is a great blog, actually – it updates regularly, reviews a really wide variety of stuff from international contributors, and encourages comment. They don’t pay me, by the way – I was a fan before I was a writer. I was invited to contribute after my zines were reviewed, and it’s good fun finding out about all the new stuff that’s out there, reviewed from a feminist perspective.