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The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies

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Przybylo and Fahs examine a series of new menstrual product advertisements, arguing that they push consumer capitalist goals of selling menstrual gear with an “empowered” message at the expense of co-opting feminist discourses of body and menstrual positivity. Drawing on feminist menstrual scholarship, they argue that menstrual positivity is thinned and transformed when commodified. They argue that “positivity”—while important to feminist menstrual activism, praxis, and theorizing—is easily co-optable within neoliberal marketing cultures. While the authors acknowledge the importance of affirmative messaging, they nevertheless develop a “menstrual crankiness” that draws on positivity but also holds it critically at bay. Aligned with queer theoretical work on the political import of negative affects, they assert the importance of menstrual crankiness in pushing at sexist, transphobic, ableist, and white discourses around bodies and embodiment, arguing that menstrual crankiness is vital to thinking about the material pains and pleasures of menstrual bleeding.


First published in C. Bobel et al. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies,

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