Bloody Mary Meets a Culture of Concealment

My dear friend Giuliana Serena put on a bloody big party for Salt Lake City Saturday night. The topic of the night: periods. And, no, we aren’t talking about punctuation. Giuliana shared with us her philosophy and thought, and the development of her Moon Cycle Timepieces, which help you track your flow, and what is going on with your body every day of the month in relation to the moon.

Giuliana believes that, like the trajectory of a planet, or a strand of DNA, time is built on a spiral. I love conversations about the nature of time. I love learning about different ways of tracking time and calendars. As an artist, I use time as a component of my work – specifically with dance and music. It is amazing how a three minute performance on stage can impact your life so much more than three minutes spent waiting in line at the bank. I also see individual use and structuring of time as an extremely important aspect of the journey toward self-actualization, as well as conveying respect both to yourself and to the people you share your life with. So managing my calendar is something I take very seriously, almost as if it isn’t a means to an end, but is a discrete skill and task to enjoy and develop.

The movie “The Moon Inside You,” is a foreign film about cultural attitudes toward menstruation. For me, by far the best part of the movie was the drawings about menstruation it shared by little boys. One boy drew a series of cant’s: “can’t swim,” can’t do laundry,” “can’t smoke,” and “can’t schedule your Pap smear.” (Ok, I forgot some of his cant’s, so I made up my own.) Another little boy did a pencil drawing of a stick figure with a bob haircut and no secondary sexual features. Her legs were apart and red marker blood was angrily flowing and pooling. HA HA, yep, that’s it exactly, son.

The point of the movie and discussion was to build a more positive view of menstruation in our society. After all, without it we wouldn’t be able to have children. Cultures were discussed that view menstruation as a reminder for women to take time for themselves and to be served by others. One culture sees it as a time of great feminine power. Another culture viewed the period as a time of rebirth. My favorite perspective, however, was that during the days before a period (AKA PMS), the veil between a woman’s conscious and subconscious mind thins, allowing her to speak the truth. Take that! I don’t have PMS, I’m speaking the truth, bitches!

One thing that bothered me about the movie, however, was the attitude toward the pill, IUD and other forms of birth control. The women in the film and in the room seemed to look at these forms of birth control as oppressive to women. I strongly disagree. The invention of the pill completely changed the trajectory of the female life and made the sexual revolution of the 1960s possible. No longer was your future entirely determined by the flow of blood, and the little egg that when fertilized changes your position economically, socially, educationally and in all of your relationships. Birth control technology  allows a woman more choices and opportunity.  So, while, yeah we all agree that the doctor who invented the uterine implant, who sees menstruation as pathological, is a dick. I still believe that most of the doctors who have advanced birth control options are heroes and heroines to my gender. Giuliana emphasizes that birth control is a personal choice for every woman, and that she must educate herself to choose the best option. I agree, but I can’t help wanting to celebrate the fact that I DO have those options, unlike my grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother and great great great grandmother.

But wait, there’s more. Giuliana is accepting registrations for a Red Tent retreat in November. Visit to sign up. She is also at the Dowtown Farmers Market on October 8, 15 and 22, selling her Moon Cycle Timepieces. You may also visit her website to join her Moon Letter List or “like” Moontime Rising on FaceBook to be informed of upcoming film screenings.

In addition, I’m looking at scheduling a girl power belly dance class to begin in November. Drop me a note or comment if you are interested in participating.

Lady's Room Sign at Vitalize, Where the Movie was Screened

Lady's Room Sign at Vitalize, Where the Movie was Screened

One Comment

  1. Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation. I love the humor and wit you bring to the subject matter!

    While I agree with you about the liberation from unintended pregnancy that many women experience with the range of choices in birth control that are now available to us – I want to be sure that as a society, and in particular that we as individuals who live in bodies, value the comprehensive education that it takes to support everyone in making informed decisions. Every method of birth control and contraception has a unique effect on our individual and social experience. Much of the time the potentially harmful consequences of a particular option are overlooked in favor of progress, liberation, and the ability to supplant the very fundamental cyclical nature we all come into the world with with an “easy” way out of the “chaos” of connecting with our bodies.

    I find that the more deeply I study, the more I am called to question the motivations and actions of the big pharmaceutical firms who now have so much influence on such an intimate part of our daily lives. When it comes to making decisions about sex, birth control, and contraception, there are significant consequences to intervention, not only for our reproductive health, but also for our emotional and psychological well-being, as individuals, partners, and members of society, that are worth addressing, and even challenging. Now, I’m not saying that all these consequences are negative, far from it… but there are significant issues that many of us are not talking about.

    And don’t get me wrong, I am certain that all else being equal, without modern birth control technologies the astronomical rates of unintended pregnancy that we currently experience on Earth would be much higher. I would offer the optimistic suggestion that with compassionate education for everyone which encourages respect and appreciation for the reproductive nature of our bodies from an early age, that stresses equality, self empowerment, and personal responsibility, that we could transform so greatly our behavior, our actions, and our perspective, that the need for intervention would greatly diminish, and that’s where I think choice really does become liberating and exciting.

    I realize this view does not hold true for everyone, but for those of us who are willing and eager to engage the subject, there’s a whole wide world of possibilities to explore together.

    Come join our conversation at


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