Every twenty-eight days, I curse Eve from the bottom of my soul. “I hope that freaking apple was delicious, you selfish jerk!” is about the nicest thing that comes out of my mouth. While menstruation has become everything from an art medium to a convenient excuse for men to write off the “misbehavior” of women, it’s still a subject that tends to skeeve people out.
And I’m one of them. It’s bad enough to have horrible cramps (abdomen, back, and legs), stained underwear, violent diarrhea at the onset, bloating, a headache that lasts throughout, the inconvenience of sanitary napkins and tampons (I am seriously looking into the diva cup), the impact on your sex life (I had a memorable and utterly humiliating experience once where my period was done … but then somehow restarted again while in a compromising position—I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in my life), being aware of the smell, food cravings, and I could go on but I’m sure you get the point.
Periods suck … and men just can’t get it. To be fair to our male counterparts, how could they know what it feels like? There’s just no equivalent.
Well, until now, thanks to the ingenuity of Japenese-British artist Hiromi Ozaki.
The Menstruation Machine is an art project by Hiromi Ozaki (aka Sputniko!), a Japanese-British artist who seems very intrigued by her own monthly cycle.
Featured in the Royal College of Art’s Design Interactions show, the device is intended to let men feel the pain of a woman’s period, though Ozaki says it’s also designed for women, as menstruation “might become something obsolete” in the future due to advances in contraceptive technology.
The silvery device, which may or may not be merely conceptual, is worn around the waist like a belt. According to Ozaki’s YouTube site, the machine drips about 80 milliliters (2.7 ounces) of blood from a tank to simulate the average flow of a five-day period. Prepare your iPads, or whatever else will stanch that flow.
I don’t really want to know where the blood comes from, but no doubt Ozaki is a hard-core performance artist. Meanwhile, for the pain of cramps, the device has “lower abdomen-stimulating electrodes” that might have you running for Midol.
Ozaki’s video actually made me laugh pretty hard. I’m not really a wimp about pain (I have chronic pancreatitis, which is a condition that makes childbirth feel like a hangnail), but there have been times that menstrual cramps have undoubtedly led me to choose curling up in a recliner over hiking a mountain … and I’ve had men say to me, “Listen, you have a stomachache. Get over it.”
Watching the menstrual-machine wearing dude brought to his knees by “just a stomachache” made me realize that there are quite a few men I’d like to attach this puppy to (not for a long time—I’m not cruel—but just so they can have a glimpse of understanding).
CNet also explains the video a bit, which honestly I found a bit helpful since I was a little confused (I’m kind of obtuse about odd things sometimes).
The vid by Ozaki is a story of a nerd boy called Takashi who wants to discover what it’s really like to be a girl. He isn’t satisfied with just dressing up like a typical gyaru floating around Shibuya Station, so he builds a menstruation simulation machine. Now that’s dedication for you.
Decked out in a matching jacket and kawaii orange wig and heels, he straps on the machine, grabs his blinged-out keitai, and heads out for a night on the town in Tokyo.
After a bit of purikura photo booth fun with a girlfriend, poor Takashi is overcome by cramps. He retreats to a restroom, writing in pain. Presumably, he pushes the Sound Princess button to mask his grunts. But his girlfriend seems to like his femininity, and they arrange for another outing the next day.