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Camp Cranky is all about periods.
May 24, 2011 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Camp Cranky is a virtual sleepaway camp intended by its creators, actors Liane Balaban and Vanessa Matsui, to be a safe space for young girls to hear personal stories about first periods, learn about the biology of menstruation, read poems about periods (musician Leslie Feist and actress Emma Thompson each contribute), and learn about various menstrual products. Readers can also donate to Huru International, which sends menstrual supplies to girls in need in Kenya. Camp Cranky is the first phase in what will eventually be Crankytown [the name comes from a Feist poem], a site where women of all ages can discuss menstruation and menopause. The project is a part of the National Film Board and Studio XX's First Person Digital Program.

CBC Radio interview with creators Liane Balaban and Vanessa Matsui and creative director Jenna Wright [starts about halfway]

print interview at She Does The City website
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (40 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Camp Cranky is the first phase in what will eventually be Crankytown [the name comes from a Feist poem], a site where women of all ages can discuss menstruation and menopause.

Admittedly, I don't get a period, but do many women see a need for a virtual town devoted to all things menstrual?

I mean it seems like those little boutique shops you find in yuppie-fied upscale sections of town, that are just so niche that they could only be supported in comminuties with lots of disposable cash: the shop that only sells paper hats, the shop that just retails yoga mats or tchotchkes for cat fanciers.
posted by orthogonality at 1:58 PM on May 24, 2011


Well, while this does seem well meaning, it also seems ripe for satire.
posted by Diablevert at 2:01 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:02 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow. Never knew menstruating was niche. Learn something new on the blue every day.
posted by likeso at 2:04 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


As the father of an 11 year old girl who is (not so) eagerly anticipating her first menses, I kind of approve.
posted by SPUTNIK at 2:04 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


A virtual sleepaway camp: Wasn't that nice of me, HMMMM?
posted by adipocere at 2:05 PM on May 24, 2011


I'm still surprised I don't see more reusable menstrual cups in these sorts of situations. Yeah, you need potable water, but I'd imagine you'd need a lot less than what you'd need to wash out a reusable pad. I suppose the cups are more expensive to begin with, but you can use them for such a long, long time.

Of course, the Always commercials that try to imply that women in these countries need "happy periods" are half right: yes, they deserve MUCH happier periods, but using Always pads is probably not going to get them there. Le sigh.
posted by Madamina at 2:14 PM on May 24, 2011


I think it's lovely to see a website aimed at young girls where you check your fear, shame, and embarrassment at the door and learn about what is going on with your body.

This would have been a goddamn lifesaver when I was twelve and undergoing the transition into That Thing We Do Not Speak Of Except In Very Careful Metaphor Because Lady Functions Are Inherently Unclean.

Maybe if I'd had something like this it wouldn't have taken me eight years to learn that acute anemia and migraines are, in fact, not normal.
posted by cmyk at 2:17 PM on May 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


I'm still surprised I don't see more reusable menstrual cups in these sorts of situations. Yeah, you need potable water, but I'd imagine you'd need a lot less than what you'd need to wash out a reusable pad. I suppose the cups are more expensive to begin with, but you can use them for such a long, long time.

Of course, the Always commercials that try to imply that women in these countries need "happy periods" are half right: yes, they deserve MUCH happier periods, but using Always pads is probably not going to get them there. Le sigh.


Actually, the potable water issue, time, cash and shame are huge deals in this situation. I can't find the article (partly because I can't do a search for it on my work computer) but Brownfemipower or Womanist Musings did a big post on this. Regular, disposable pads and tampons are what women in those situations tend to need at this point and - although I don't think this is what you're implying - the environmental impact of disposables in this setting is so trivial compared to first world consumption and to corporate/war-caused environmental problems in the developing world that diva cup use just isn't, so to speak, a hill to die on.
posted by Frowner at 2:24 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Okay, look, the tags appeared closed in the preview window. They really did. I checked.
posted by Frowner at 2:25 PM on May 24, 2011


Great idea.
posted by Hobgoblin at 2:25 PM on May 24, 2011


Still reeling from orthogonality's idea that a website catering to only 52% of the world's population is "niche", I so agree with cmyk I think her words bear repeating:

I think it's lovely to see a website aimed at young girls where you check your fear, shame, and embarrassment at the door and learn about what is going on with your body.

This would have been a goddamn lifesaver when I was twelve and undergoing the transition into That Thing We Do Not Speak Of Except In Very Careful Metaphor Because Lady Functions Are Inherently Unclean.

posted by likeso at 2:26 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Cranky, as in the crane?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:39 PM on May 24, 2011


Can we also have a website focused on the remaining 48% (or so) of the population that needs to understand there's nothing inherently unclean about all this?
posted by davejay at 2:43 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


orthogonality: " Admittedly, I don't get a period, but do many women see a need for a virtual town devoted to all things menstrual?"

I don't menstruate either but am still well aware that there's a long-standing culture of shame that practically spans the entire planet regarding what should be considered a normal, biological function. Even posted an FPP about it a while back.

The media still use euphemisms to advertise feminine hygiene products related to menstruation. It's a long-standing taboo which in a way acts to silence and demean women. So yes, it's good to see a safe, educational space being created to empower women of all ages; to tell them they shouldn't think of their periods as a bad thing -- and no one else should either. .
posted by zarq at 2:47 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does it have to be called Crankytown?
posted by fyrebelley at 2:49 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite part of the website so far is the squirrel at the campfire who sounds like a combination of the Honey Badger narrator and the narrator from the End of the World flash video.

"Even me, a lady squirrel. I get my period too. In the woods, in the city ... it don't matter!"
posted by ChuraChura at 3:13 PM on May 24, 2011


What's the name for the virtual sleepaway camp for boys across the lake?
posted by keli at 3:14 PM on May 24, 2011


Camp Cryptorchid.
posted by hermitosis at 3:15 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Admittedly, I don't get a period, but do many women see a need for a virtual town devoted to all things menstrual?

How many is enough? If 10,000 women think so, does that make it okay? Is 50 too few?

The internet is made up of a zillion virtual towns (if you will), some of which probably only appeal to five people. Which is great - it's not like we're going to run out of land here.
posted by rtha at 3:18 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


areyoutheregoditsmemarger.et is still open.
posted by benzenedream at 3:19 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I mean it seems like those little boutique shops you find in yuppie-fied upscale sections of town, that are just so niche that they could only be supported in comminuties with lots of disposable cash: the shop that only sells paper hats, the shop that just retails yoga mats or tchotchkes for cat fanciers.

Menstruation: so niche that it can only be supported in comminuties with lots of disposable cash...? ಠ_ಠ Have people just stopped previewing their comments or what?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:26 PM on May 24, 2011


The media still use euphemisms to advertise feminine hygiene products related to menstruation.

I don't exactly follow feminine hygiene advertising too closely, but is this really still an issue? It seems like Tampax commercials are a lot more explicit about what their products are for than, say, Cottonelle commercials. Advertisers using euphemisms rather than clinical terms is pretty much expected, the weirdness around menstruation specifically compared to other bodily functions is mainly with people in real life.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:27 PM on May 24, 2011


Maybe I'm not the right person to comment on this (wrong set of chromosomes, for starters), but a "menstruation camp" doesn't strike me as such a good idea. It's uncomfortably (even if, I'm quite sure, unintendedly) reminiscent of Chhaupadi.
posted by Skeptic at 3:36 PM on May 24, 2011


Not to be too flippant, but I have had periods where I really wished for a menstrual hut. The rules would be mine, of course, and not imposed on me, and they would include things like: can't go to work; can't clean the house; can't cook anything (all meals must be delivered to me); no one can bug me about stuff; I get control of the remote; must have speedy wifi in the hut. Five days a month. My Own Personal Menstrual Hut seems pretty great sometimes.

Some friends and I came up with this idea in college. It became more of a Menstrual Mansion than a hut, because we all liked the idea of hanging out together.
posted by rtha at 4:08 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"My Own Personal Menstrual Hut seems pretty great sometimes." I already do this. It's called the "Hey! I have an excuse today! Hut".
posted by bleep at 4:20 PM on May 24, 2011


keli:What's the name for the virtual sleepaway camp for boys across the lake?

I don't think theres a clever pseudo-indian name for "busting a nut in your sleep".
posted by dr_dank at 4:58 PM on May 24, 2011


Admittedly, I don't get a period, but do many women see a need for a virtual town devoted to all things menstrual?

Menstruation is more than just "oh hey, I bleed now". It's a big part of reproductive health in general and carries some pretty heavy social implications for young girls, such as being fertile and maturing sexually. It's also very very taboo and something many girls feel ashamed to talk about.

Heck, I'm a college-educated Western woman in my mid-30s, and there are still things that I learn about the whole fertility jazz!
posted by jess at 5:05 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sea sponge, really? I learned something today.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:38 PM on May 24, 2011


Camp Cranky is a virtual sleepaway camp intended by its creators to be a safe space for young girls to hear personal stories about first periods be indoctrinated into ideas such as that periods make women "cranky", and that others can dismiss any and all anger or irritation on a woman's part as being due to her being "on the rag, ha ha ha".

What a horrible, terrible, awful, belittling name for this camp.
posted by parrot_person at 5:39 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think the name is terrible too. It sort of reinforces the stereotypes surrounding menstruation and all the punchlines to about a million jokes.

No, not denying that for many women, there's an emotional component due to the hormonal rush, but those emotional reactions are quite varied. I think it's kind of odd they picked that stereotype to reinforce. It clashes with their goal, i my opinion.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:20 PM on May 24, 2011


Some friends and I came up with this idea in college. It became more of a Menstrual Mansion than a hut, because we all liked the idea of hanging out together.

The Red Tent?
posted by zarq at 6:39 PM on May 24, 2011


Thank you cmyk and thanks hurdy gurdy girl for posting.

When I was in 4th grade in the early 1980s, our elementary school did the whole thing where they divided us up boy/girl and we girls watched the Kotex-sponsored filmstrip about menSTRUation and had a talk from the nurse and the boys went somewhere else and ??? After school that day, I got to go home with my bestie Jill and we obsessively took turns playing school nurse and teaching each other about our periods, and drew uteri and played with our Kotex-sponsored care packs. We had to be bodily separated and ripped from her room for dinner. It was so exciting to feel trusted with this heavy information, and for that afternoon I felt the full import of womanhood and like nothing ever had to be a secret ever again.

Oh, until I wanted to talk to my mom about it and she told me to stop talking about it already because I sounded perverted.

Last week, I did sports physicals at a local middle school (I'm an RN --take that mom-- and in residency to be a pediatric nurse practitioner) and guess what all the girls wanted to talk about? Because it's, and I'm not sure why this is hard to get, fun to talk about and speculate about and read about because it makes you feel like a part of something even when it isn't always totally fun itself. And you know what's worse than corny websites and less-than-perfect books and websites? Secrets, fear, feeling perverted, having adults in your life who don't want to talk to you about it or don't celebrate you or won't help you not freak out.

Now I have a website to hand to my new young women in addition to rad information and KotexTampexAlways-Sponsored care packs. And based on my experiences talking with girls and young women in my professional role, whatever a bunch of getoffmylawn grown-ups think about it, this site is basically the very kind of thing they are looking to explore on their own and with friends. Also? It's great to have a good website resource to be able to mention to boys and young men, who have questions about this stuff as well, that sometimes never get answered (OBVIOUSLY).
posted by rumposinc at 6:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [14 favorites]



This would have been a goddamn lifesaver when I was twelve and undergoing the transition into That Thing We Do Not Speak Of Except In Very Careful Metaphor Because Lady Functions Are Inherently Unclean


Good lord. Absolutely.
posted by sweetkid at 9:06 PM on May 24, 2011


I don't exactly follow feminine hygiene advertising too closely, but is this really still an issue?

Yes.

So it's still a tampon ad, but this Kotex commercial points out some of the common visual imagery in these ads.
posted by BlooPen at 10:09 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I totally dig that the nurse is talking about mucus! I sorta had forgotten to tell my daughter about that, and I'm not sure the book we had about boys 'n' girls and hormones even mentioned it!

Yes, I totally just forwarded this to my kid. She'll be mortified but will likely find it pretty useful as well.
posted by vespabelle at 10:20 PM on May 24, 2011


I don't menstruate either but am still well aware that there's a long-standing culture of shame that practically spans the entire planet regarding what should be considered a normal, biological function.

My mum, of a generation where depression is referred to as 'being bad with your nerves', calls it 'being unwell'. I'm not sure my dad ever realised women menstruated - I can see this site being useful for, say, single dads.

When I was 11, in 1993, books that were available in the library still talked about sanitary belts. There are girls who are shocked because they start their periods early (one in my class was ten) and don't know what it is - either because their parents haven't spoken to them about it yet, or they're from a cultural background where such things just aren't discussed. Even as adults, it isn't something that can easily be spoken about - I'd rather make up a story about a fictious grandmother than tell my boss that I'm off work/to hospital for ladytime-related reasons, whether they are male or female.

(Sex ed too - I learned most of what I know about contraception etc. from a teen magazine, which is pretty shocking when you think about it. There are still girls who think that Coca-Cola or sex standing up will prevent pregnancy, and people like Nadine fucking Dorries thinks a programme of teen girl abstinence and Not Talking About It will magically change everything.)
posted by mippy at 6:27 AM on May 25, 2011


As someone who thought they were dying (not even joking, I had to borrow money to call my mother and was crying because I seriously did think I was dying) when I first got my period at around age 12-13 at a girl's volleyball tournament, something like this would have been nice. My parents had kept me out of sex ed and any hint of something like this was dismissed as Something Ladies Do Not Discuss Ever.

Of course, this led to an interesting moment in 9th grade when I had no idea what blowjobs or handjobs were and my friends marched me to the school library to have a chat with the librarian (a friend's mom) who proceeded to give me the entire birds and bees conversation.

Sex ed in the US is fucking shameful.
posted by sperose at 7:40 AM on May 25, 2011


Sex ed in the US is fucking shameful.

No, sperose, your parents were fucking shameful. Sex ed in the US is non existent.

I think the camp idea this is a great thing, content wise. The name is ridiculous. Menstruation is something to be celebrated when it does finally get here and for those of you who had parents who treated menses as something shameful and secret, I hope you are doing everything in your power to make sure your own sons and daughters, and nieces and nephews, don't feel that way.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:33 AM on May 25, 2011


Whenever this stuff comes up, I appreciate my Mom more. I just recall a moment of, "What? Oh -- that's what they meant by 'spotting'!" Then I went over to the bathroom cabinet, got a pad, and went on with my day. I didn't even mention it, until Mom asked me the next day. And then she told my dad any brothers that I was 'becoming a woman' and took me out for lunch and a new outfit. At the time, I was horrified that she was "making such a huge deal out of it."

Thanks, Mom.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:46 AM on May 26, 2011


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