She Said: Seeing Red

Sarah Irby, Editor in Chief~

Recently, while trying to find some inspiration for this column, I stumbled upon something that I thought was both intriguing and totally rad. It’s a little something for the ladies, and it involves porn. I know at this point you’re probably like “wtf is she going on about?” so let me explain.

First of all, I’m really hoping we’ve reached a point in society where we no longer see viewing porn as a gendered activity; it isn’t. And I hope there aren’t women out there who are ashamed because they feel like it isn’t something they should be doing. Granted, the porn industry has always been sexist to some degree, but what else can you expect from a male-dominated industry primarily producing content for other males. Porn can lead to misogynistic views and unrealistic expectations of women. It’s even a topic feminists are divided on: Some see it as a sex-positive act of female empowerment, and some see it as a type of violence against women.

PornHub has done something a bit revolutionary, if I do say so myself. They’ve created something promotional specifically for women, and it’s called “F*ck Your Period!” Yes, you read that right (of course, PornHub doesn’t have to use an asterisk to block out the “u”). The first things you notice about the page is that is it explicitly pink, and that there’s a giant middle finger salute. The whole page consists of a drawing of a woman with her hand down the front of her underwear and “Can’t say no to the flo!” in big letters. It also has a few tips on how to “help calm the waters during shark week.” But the best part of the whole thing is the video.

Sharkweek

Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

The narrator is a bold, witty lady with a British-type accent who is talking period things in a way that sounds classy but also sassy. Almost everything is pink, but the animations are super bada** at the same time (e.g. ovaries that look exactly like the flesh-eating plants from The Little Shop of Horrors). Basically, we’re told how much of a b*tch periods are (as if we didn’t already know), but that the female population is divided on certain relief options i.e. period sex. Apparently, 49 percent of women are down for it, while 51 percent are just not about that life.

Now PornHub, and probably most other women in the world, understand when you don’t want a man (or anyone else) touching you during such an agonizing week, but as the video claims, there are certain benefits to having an orgasm during menstruation. For starters, your body releases feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine, which help alleviate that feeling of a thousand knives repeatedly stabbing you in the uterus. If that isn’t joyous enough, it can also reduce the overall length of your cycle. Sign me up!

Speaking of signing up, let me get to the point of it all. PornHub wants to “take some of the bite out of shark week, by providing you with the perfect motivational material for some much-needed sexual healing.” So basically, you fill out some information about your cycle, and the system automatically calculates when you’ll get your next visit from Aunt Flo, then they give you free access to PornHub Premium for the duration of your period. Please, tell me that isn’t phenomenal.

I think this is a wonderfully clever tactic to get more female viewers. For once, our bodies and our needs are being acknowledged and catered to. It’s something specifically for women; no men allowed. Even better, the video has great feminist vibes. The video ends with a tiny man standing in the palm of a woman’s hand and the narrator saying: “The crimson tide has turned, so the next time some nosy idiot asks you (cue douchey voice) ‘if you’re on the rag,’ you can tell them you’re bloody right I am, and I’ll be handling this one myself.” Did I mention that in the meantime, the lady crushed the man to death in her hand? Yeah, lots of blood.

Maybe you think this whole idea is stupid, or maybe you’re just as giddy about it as I was when I discovered it. Either way, there’s nothing wrong with setting aside some alone time for yourself, perhaps especially if your body is attacking you from within at the moment. So feel confident in taking matters into your own hands (pun intended) and for once, happy shark week!