Period Jewelry

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Menstruation brooches, rings, cuffs, and other sparkly trinkets are being created by London designer Lili Murphy-Johnson. The sparkle-lover in me is enchanted by the idea, the Menstrual Advocate wants to ponder this and go a little deeper…

“The idea came from me dealing with my own PMS,” Murphy-Johnson, 22, told Mashable. “The irritability and anxiety that I felt was stopping me from being able to think of ideas for a jewelry collection, so I decided to start by replicating these PMS symptoms into jewelry to get me started.”

I’m delighted by the creativity, yet am concerned by the way it is portrayed:
“There are lots of downsides to having your period – cramps, discomfort and pain among them” says Stuff – Life & Style “but a British designer has come up with an idea to improve things. Period jewelry… The young designer hopes the collection will change taboos around menstruation”

The message here is clear: periods are ‘bad’ things with many ‘downsides’ yet adding a little sparkle will change all that… The article continues: “Murphy-Johnson’s collection is a nod to those frustrating, messy leaks that women either endure or live in fear of during the average 450 periods they get in their lifetime.” Again, we are directed to think of the “frustrating messy leaks” as the epitome of menstruation, which alas can’t be controlled or changed, or so we are led to believe by ‘Stuff’ writer.

Lili Murphy-Johnson says: “I think a lot of people still find talking about menstruation difficult. A lot of people think it’s gross when people do talk about menstruation. I think the stigma of it is so ingrained in our culture that even if people know it’s logically not gross, it’s still difficult to feel comfortable about it.”

I would have like to see the conversation go deeper, wider… Why is menstruation “logically not gross?” What is the actual substance of menstruation? Why should women be empowered by it? These essential questions are not asked, neither answered, by jewelry wearing.

Period jewelry is lovely,
yet it needs to be an artistic beginning, not an end result!

“I hope it can give a space for people to talk about it” says Murphy-Johnson “if it can change anyone’s perceptions that would be great.” It’s hard to build a positive tower on negative foundations. Rather than period Jewelry in itself changing anyone’s perceptions, education is needed to accompany it. Otherwise why would any girl or woman want to boast jewelry that depicts what she thinks of as trash?

What are Your thoughts?

Would you wear Period Jewelry? And is wearing it enough to change negative cultural tides?

11 Responses

  1. I would totally wear period jewelry! I think raising awareness about the cultural stigmatisation is key to healing ourselves and future generations! jewelry is an eye-catcher and it is a good medium for raising awareness by fostering conversations.who does not ask others about their pretty sparky things? i know i do all the time.people are always asking about my jewelry as well.

  2. I’m loving this concept. Instead of viewing this as a nuisance, looking at beautiful jewelry adorning my hand that replicates the experience and helps remind me it’s beautiful and natural might go a long way towards celebrating and accepting it…

  3. I love the idea! I used to wear a pair of lovely red earrings myself, and when I had my book store, I asked my teen daughter to make the braided bracelets the young women were then wearing in red – I called them “Sister Bracelets” – to wear during our menstrual cycles.

  4. Although I love the idea of making menstruation less “hush-hush”, I agree that coming at it from a more positive angle would be better. As a jewelry designer and maker myself, I think it’s an I interesting idea and a great start to part of the conversation. Personally, I would wear something a little less large and flashy since I am a smaller woman but there is lots of room for different ideas here! Bravo for beginning this. The fact is that some girl’s and women’s experiences with menstruation IS negative, no matter how much we wish it weren’t.

  5. I would definitely wear period jewelry. I would probably wear all of them, albeit not at the same time :). Would be proud to wear anytime of the month!

  6. I totally agree with DeAnna about going deeper and not just stopping at embellishing something perceived as negative!
    And yes, I agree ‘It’s hard to build a positive tower on negative foundations!’ and I would add forget about building a high one too!

    When I was in my 20’s I used to wear a garnet necklace before my menstruation, because it seemed to ease my menstruation in and so I did it for sometime out of pure intuition, was it really useful?
    Well, I don’t know, but it seemed to do the trick, so it was good for me.
    I never had a negative feeling about menstruation and therefore wearing a garnet necklace was out of my love for stones and my investigation about the world of my friends ‘the stones’.

    Menstruation jewelry can be a start in this very superficial world of ours, but it won’t cure the hidden and deeper causes of PMS and the rest of it called ‘stuff’.
    For healing and curing the ‘stuff’ we need more than jewelry!
    We can change it all a woman at a time with the help of all the sisters ….
    Gabriella Guglielminotti Trivel
    Female Cycle Consultant

  7. I love that so many different women have so many different things to contribute to the movement to honor menstrual cycles. I would not expect the jewelry makers to be teachers any more than I would expect the teachers to make jewelry. I am glad she is sharing her particular gifts, and that others are promoting education. I am disappointed that we would not just embrace a sister’s efforts to bring forth her gifts and add to the conversation.

    Her designs are so radical, and they remind me of the rage I sometimes feel around the time of menstruation. This negativity is not a bad thing. It is part of my life and part of my balance. It helps me to go deep when I am bleeding, and to cleanse myself spiritually and emotionally. When I try to pretend there is no anger or pain, I am denying an important part of my menstrual self. Society tries to shame angry women to silence them and keep them from being heard and making change.

  8. If it was retitled as coming of age jewelry, or jewelry for women in their reproductive years, then I think we’d have a different feeling about it. In ancient times women who could bleed but not die was the stuff of great mythology, but now living in a highly scientific community where we have full awareness that some of the most deadly diseases are blood borne, making period blood seem ok is a really hard sell.

    If a woman has HIV then all of her blood is infected, including her period blood. Many other serious infections go into the blood as well, hepatitis, etc. I’ve seen images of women smearing each other’s faces with their period blood. How foolish! This is like sex without condoms.I think coming of age is great, but can’t we be more neutral about the blood? Being so excited about the blood has caused some women to act without thinking. Blood is not gross….. Blood is like Fire, both must be treated with respect.

  9. I have been pondering this all day and have come back late tonight to leave a reply. Overall, I just want to say, as a grandmother and without wishing to patronise, that Lili, the jewellery maker is still young, at 22 years and I think we should be very careful not to pour cold water on this idea…anything that brings menstruation into a wider conversation should be welcomed and gives an opportunity for wise teachers like Deanna to contribute. It could be seen as “shallow” but I think that Lili has a very fine intention which should be honoured as such. I would definitely wear “period jewellery” as part of the whole, for me, ritual of monthly menses. I have always enjoyed and celebrated my moon times but I am also aware that for some women, such as those that experience endometriosis, it is a very challenging and debilitating time and anything we have to say to them needs to be said with a gentle voice and great compassion. Sure, the ordeal that is bleeding for many women is exacerbated by the linear and intolerant attitude and denial of mainstream culture and media and needs to be addressed from many angles and I am sure that Lili’s creation and the ensuing publicity is a worthy part of that debate.

  10. As one who now holds her wise blood within I am interested to read the comments..
    I travelled for 19 years with a group called the ‘womens sacred blood mystries’ (spelling intentional).
    With these women I learned so much about my self and my blood and my womans journey;maiden mother crone.
    sure i think the jewellery is fun and yet I think the bleeding time is at essence an inward journey/time of reflection. I like that the time is honoured in a quiet way that honours self and in that holds the power that is ours as women.
    … and I feel sad that so many young women experience pain and discomfit at this time. I believe that this is not our birthright and that pain tells us something is amiss.
    It’s such a big topic…
    blessings on the journey..

  11. I have some jewellery of my own that uses Menstrual Cycle euphemisms such as My Sweet Secret and Go with the flow as a banner necklace. These are modern contemporary designs that appeal to young women and girls. I love the idea of accessories helping to promote a more positive view of our periods.

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