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Peter Max on becoming a woman



Life Blood: A New Image for Menstruation

Does menstruation need a new image?  This book on becoming a woman would probably have most pre-teen girls running for the exit.  The weird artistic “woman” figures are creepy and the whole book has a feel like one of those “groovy” black light posters from olden times.  Wrapping biology up in poetic life metaphors punctuated with red splotches is just too much…





25 Responses to Peter Max on becoming a woman

  • Olden times! Like the 60s?! That’s funny because I grew up in the 60s. The book does look like a hippie kind of book even though it is from the late 80s.

  • And this was published in the 80s?! It looks like something straight out of the 70s. Our teens in our library would laugh this book off the shelves.

  • The first thing that I thought of when I saw those pictures was Henri Matisse’s Jazz. It’s really a dead ringer for that work.

  • If I found that at my library I would dearly hope it was in the Friends’ book sale section so I could use it to make my tween laugh at me.

  • Makes one wonder how it ever got into the collection in the first place. I don’t think pinning it to the 80s helps explain it at all.

  • Judging solely on what I see here, it’s still better then the film we had to watch on the subject back when I was in 5th grade in the mid-80s. They left so much information out.

  • Oh, gross. Just looking at how ‘becoming a woman’ might have been represented makes me feel queasy.

  • Are you there God? It’s me, Jenn.

    Yucky. I sincerely hope that when my girls get their New Woman status…that I can find something a little less…of whatever that is.

  • “Life Blood”? That is just offensive and gross. It makes me queasy too!

  • anyone else notice that the author is a man? How are gals supposed to relate to that?

  • Aw, I like it! It would have been nice to have had a non-medical, non-crying-mother perspective when I started getting my period. I wonder how many users there are like me?

    • I think I would’ve liked the book too. My mom didn’t cry, though. She got angry the day she told me “the facts of life.” She was right in the middle of helping me with my math homework when she suddenly gave me the facts of life talk, complete with illustrations. Angry the entire time like I had done something like breaking her favorite lamp. I sat there afterwards thinking “What the heck does that have to do with long division?”

      Then, like I said, there was the film we saw. Totally did not prepare me. To start with the girl in the film was about 16 and it looked like it was made in the 60s. Lots of stuff they left out. Barely hit the mark on the products there are to deal with it. And I can still remember today the totally inappropriate acting in the scene where the girl asked if she could use a tampon and pad at the same time. She just got this sly look on her face and almost seductive sound to her voice. For a second there is was less a “coming of age” talk and more like a “really weird porno opening.”

  • I totally remember this one! Freaked me out as a nine-year-old!

  • My sister would have loved it, and probably still would. I would have given it the big “whatever” myself.

  • Actually, it’s by Margaret Sheffield, author of Where Do Babies Come From, which was the book my parents used to explain things to me in the mid-seventies. I’ve still got it and I plan on giving it to my daughter, so I’d probably like her take on menstruation. Not everything has to be snarky.

  • I was given something like this, and I hated the romanticism of it. The only reason I was given for my period was so I could have children one day.

    “But I don’t want to have a baby!”

    “Oh, you will, when you’re older.” Wink.

    Funny, I never did.

  • Wow. Awesome. Those illustrations are scary. I never got a book. My mom just told me one day I would start and that it meant I could have kids someday. She told me when I was 10 i think and assured me I would be 13 or 14 before it happened. I was 11. I thought I was dying since it was too early, but my mom was calm and fine. Raising 6 girls will do that to a mother I guess. Silent insanity.

    I gotta say though there is no romance in menstruation. I am still really happy to have not had any for four months. I seriously might cry once I have my baby and it comes back. 🙁 Gosh I haven’t even read the book and now I’m depressed. Maybe reading this book would tell me how wonderful periods are and renew my excitement for them…you know like that excitement girls get when they first start. Its like a contest.

  • I saw that book in my library a few years ago when I was a teen! I think I flipped through it but quickly put it back to get a more up to date book on periods.

  • I agree that this book has a Henri Matisse cut-outs feel to the art. Seems a bit too much “it’s a beautiful thing” than explaining what it is happening to you and why.

    I did get given a book about periods by my mum when I was about 11, which actually explained all about this thing I’d never heard of before and so I didn’t freak out when I started age 12. So we didn’t have a ‘talk’ but we can talk about it.

  • Hey guys- the post title was referencing Peter Max the artist re: the cover art, though I third Matisse as the source.

  • I guessed more homage to Peter Max but you are right, this is more Henri Matisse… Text info is not that bad, its the illustrations that give it creepy feel.

  • As several have already said, the cover artwork is definitely more Henri Matisse than Peter Max. There was a revival of popular interest in Matisse in the 80s, so the artwork fits right in with the date of publication.

  • My mom gave me this book! I remember I must have been about 10 or 11, and she came back afterwards and asked if I’d understood it all. I didn’t have a clue what it was on about, but I lied and said yes.

  • umm….this is on the shelf in one of our local branches. Sad but true.

  • Rebranding the period is like putting lipstick on a pig!