The menstrual hut—a tradition found in many cultures throughout history—is a fascinating phenomenon. During menses, a woman is sequestered in a structure away from the rest of the village; reasons for the practice range from religious ritual to hygiene superstition to merely an attempt to keep track of a woman’s cycle. Regardless of “progressive” attitudes towards fertility and periods, I’ve met many a feminist lady who sees the appeal. One, there’s something refreshing about public acknowledgment of menstruation, so often considered a shamefully private affair. Two, while no one I know would want to be forced into a hut whilst on the rag, sometimes a quiet space away from men is exactly what you want for a couple days out of the month! But is there a modern, liberatory alternative to the menstrual hut?
Enter the Fertility Dress!
Artist Elizabeth Tolson is working on a futuristic fashion line called Vessel, the pieces of which monitor the female body with indiscreet technology. The Fertility Dress is an LED-rigged frock that turns blue during ovulation, red during menstruation (duh), and white or yellow “to indicate hygiene,” and the Chastity Dress has an alarm the goes off when you’re groped. Tolson envisions her work as a fascist kind of Atwoodian sartorial control over women’s bodies (check out the awesome dystopian “commercial” for Vessel below), but frankly I’m most intrigued by the positive potential of wearing a dress that screams, “Hey, I’m on my fucking period right now.” Could it be hacked to combine the alarm with the yellow and red lights to deter men? Or would that just attract guys with “filthy and menstruating” fetishes? There are details to be worked out of course, but I think this project has promise!
Also, a very cute Judy Jetson thing going on! It’s like an adorable mobile menstrual hut! What’s not to love?
Via Design Faves