Queering Femininity

Red tent movements and menstruation empowerment activism often call upon a concept of (divine) femininity to reason for period positivity. This undifferentiated concept of femininity used in the attempt to empower women* who throughout much of history have been degraded and stripped of power by hetero-patriarchical structures, unfortunately carries with it a moment of exclusion. By conjuring the feminine imagery when speaking about menstruation, people who menstruate but do not consider themselves as feminine or do not identify as ‘Female/Woman’ are made invisible.

While I do believe that there is space for particular identity-politics and a need to recognize unique issues within (especially marginalized) sub-groups, I think there is a great chance in attempting to make our speech and our efforts as activists as inclusionary as possible. ‘The feminine’ and ‘the masculine’ have been recognized as aspects of human identity, regardless of gender or sex assigned at birth, by cultures and traditions ranging from Hinduism to greek mythology.

In addition to the silencing and degredation of non cis-male people, hetero-patriarchy has historically also led to the condemnation of being in touch with the inner feminine for those identifying and/or read as male. Beyond this binary, people who identify as trans*, intersex, or genderqueer similarly might experience menstruation but feel excluded by from a dialogue using this particular style of language, aimed (at least seemingly) towards cis-women. After all, there are plenty of people with a uterus that builds up and sheds its lining. A uterus, which is utterly oblivious and uncaring to the gender its ‘owner’ might be read as belonging to.

I guess this therefore is meant as a plea to foster alliances and cultivate awareness of whom we might (inadvertently) be excluding in our own efforts to fight against taboos, opression and marginalization.



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