Sunday, 30 June 2013


Sitting down to write this post, I realised I was lacking a piece of reference I needed to explain this drawing. Of course, having just moved house I also have not got the foggiest where my notes from Sussex are. So, all I have now is a vague recollection that, at some point in history, menstrual bleeding was sometimes referred to as a woman's 'flowers'. 

I know they also say this on 'Game of Thrones'. I swear, I'm not thinking of that. 

I'm pretty certain that I learnt this whilst doing research onto perceptions of gender during the Renaissance period. Which, if that is in fact the case, is one of the only instances of anything particularly nice being used in conjunction with the female body. 

They had some fairly radical ideas about the body in those days, interestingly based on certain observations of the physical world (scientific?) but largely informed by fairly magical thinking. 

For instance, it was thought that woman released a sort of noxious vapour from their eyes whilst they were bleeding. This had affects on the world around them - such as dulling mirrors. 

Now, I'm not one for proclaiming the menstrual cycle as 'empowering' - my personal experience of it is one of mild to significant discomfort and, sorry, mess. I don't see it as dirty or taboo or anything like that, I just don't find it an especially empowering experience. I like that it is sign of my body functioning as it should, although I'm possibly not the person to talk to about fertility at this point...

But anyway, feminist discourses aside, I liked this word 'flowers'. I liked it as an unexpected image when coupled with the body and blood. However I feel about it, there is something both symbolically and, for many, emotively powerful about the menstrual cycle. 

I might use these thoughts again on a painting or other drawings. But for now, this is a self portrait drawing I made whilst thinking about it all. The lace of the necklace, drifting away, are the little eggs, one shed at every bleed.  

(The image is possibly more vampiric than I intended...but maybe that isn't surprising considering I grew up watching Buffy.)

1 comment:

  1. With you on this one, I have vague recollections from studying Women power and politics in Chaucer and Shakespeare that 'flower' was a popular euphemism, along with 'nothing'.

    I do like your drawing, very much so. However it made me think of the way this part of my life is leaving me. Quite like the idea of my last 'flowers' floating away from me into the ether.
    I hope you are finding healing in your move.