In 1995, I wrote a cover story for The Village Voice, “Pulling the Plug on the Sanitary Protection Industry.”
In 1999, I followed that up with a book called The Curse: Confronting the Last Taboo: Menstruation (published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux). A year later, the paperback edition came out, then a UK edition, then an Australian edition, then the Spanish-language edition, then the Turkish-language edition.
Now—weirder still—whenever someone’s period bleeds from the private realm into the public conversation, reporters call me for “expert” commentary. When tennis player Serena Williams does a Tampax ad, when a new birth control pill suspends women’s menstrual cycles, when sit-com characters toss in period jokes, I tend to get a call from the press.
I’ve written two other books since then and a gazillion articles on race, gender, family, militarization, the criminal justice system, education, abortion, rape, religion, death, birth, birds, rats and a mom who ate her baby. (See my journalism website.) Blah, blah, blah. Nobody wants to hear my views about any of that.
But periods, that’s another story. Editor to reporter: “Get Houppert on the horn right away!”
I’d like to think it is because of my erudite conversation, scintillating prose, radical feminist stance and provocative period quips, but I’m pretty sure it is just because whenever some overworked journalist racing toward a deadline on the topic googles menstruation, my name is the one that pops up.
Apparently, the field of “experts” on this topic is slight. Not a lot of folks vying for the title, it seems.
So I am just going to accept the mantle and wear it with pride: I am the Menstruation Maven.
Welcome to Menstrual Moments.
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Here’s a link to my original piece in the Village Voice in 1995. Because the Voice archives are shit, most of that early VV writing is gone–but this fly-by-night website took the trouble to transcribe it word-for-word and surreptitiously post it so rather than going after them for copyright infringement, I’m just going to take it as a compliment and thank them.