Periods can be hard to talk about, but they shouldn't be so taboo! This new comic is opening up the conversation about menstruation by showcasing real stories, and making the topic approachable.
Shattering taboos is core to our mission, so we were delighted to discover The Mean Magenta, a comic about menstruation. The creators, Lily Williams and Karen Schneeman, are opening up honest conversations about periods with illustrations that depict real stories and experiences for menstruators. We interviewed them about the origins of the initiative, and the future of The Mean Magenta.
Can you tell us about the origins of The Mean Magenta? How did you come up with the name?
We discussed all the ways people talk about their periods and we really liked The Mean Reds, which was originally from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. We wanted to make it a little softer and unique. The Mean Magenta seemed to fit our characters.
From where do you draw inspiration for your characters and their stories?
Mostly from us and our friends, anecdotal stories that either we have experienced or our friends have shared with us. We wanted it to be realistic and things that people could identify with and that we all understand.
The Mean Magenta is described as, “a comic about menstruation.” Do you see yourselves expanding to cover other topics related to sexual health?
Our vision with The Mean Magenta was to cover reproductive health focused around menstruation and the uterus. At this point we are unsure of how it will progress or branch out. Going with the flow… as it were.
What is the role of art in sparking cultural dialogues and reframing social stigmas? How do you hope your art will play a role in the conversation about period taboos?
Art creates a socially acceptable (and approachable) way to bring up topics that might not otherwise be discussed. Art is a starting point for a larger discussion. We wanted our comics to be a fun way to engage people in openly talking about menstruation.
How do you think we can engage people who don’t get periods (specifically, cisgendered men) in the movement to de-stigmatize menstruation?
It all starts with an environment where you can have an open discussion. While we all want to recognize what we have in common, it’s important to acknowledge differences amongst each other. To discuss that menstruation is a normal thing for many people, but to also discuss the nuances within that topic. That many women do not get periods, that many people have horrible periods, or “regular” periods, or even spotty/random periods. If we can first simply start talking about menstruation, then we can begin de-stigmatizing the topic.
You’re currently working on a graphic novel, Go With the Flow. Congrats! Can you tell us more about the story, and what you hope to achieve with the book?
Thank you! We are really excited. In Go With The Flow, we are bringing the girls (Brit, Christine, Abby, and Sasha) back to high school where their friendship starts. We want to keep the discussion going in a new format that has the potential to get the conversation started on a wider platform.
What is the most surprising or game-changing thing you have learned about menstruation since launching The Mean Magenta?
There are a lot of menstruation products we have tried! We had no idea how many options were available. It is really awesome knowing that people who are just getting their periods have a lot of chances to find products that work for their specific period needs.
New updates from The Mean Magenta on Thursdays!
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