Thursday, 24 October 2013

Petra Collins & The Ardorous x AMERICAN APPAREL

Over the past month there has been much talk about Petra Collins tops created for American Apparel. So much talk actually, that my Facebook newsfeed was filled with articles, reviews, critiques and personal statuses. I've read almost all of the articles written (including friend's statuses). I also have Petra on FB so I get regular feed on her life/works. As soon as I heard about Period Power, Loser and Wet T-shirt(s) I immediately opted to ordering them online. I still thought it was worth it even when  both the PP and the Wet t-shirt were back ordered. So, after three weeks of waiting, they finally arrived.

Since I ordered the tees. A lot has been going through my mind on the for-some-reason-'controversial-topic'.
A photo my friend Sofia took of me wearing the PERIOD POWER T-SHIRT

Here's what I originally thought:

"Fuck yeah," were the words I whispered to myself in my Writers craft class. Peers looked at me with eyes of boredom, suddenly intrigued. So I turned my screen.

"I heard about that," they all said. And that was how it began.

Masturbation and menstruation should not be frowned upon either from men or women. Yet I always find men openly talk about masturbation way more than women. Why is that? We all masturbate. It's some mysterious question that boys literally always want to know: "do girls actually masturbate?" I know this because my boyfriend asked me. I feel perfectly comfortable announcing the fact that I masturbate (oh and guess what... I menstruate too). Here's the super crazy part; I menstruate every 28 days. Wild right? It shouldn't be considered gross for either men or women to masturbate, it's completely natural and feels fantastic, so why prevent yourself from feeling great? Petra Collins has nailed a topic particularly sensitive masturbation while menstruating. Collins Created the T-shirt because generally women are embarrassed from both of these natural occurrences.

First I want to address questions that friends have been asking me over the past few weeks.

"How does this shirt represent feminism?"
Period Power represents feminism because both frowned-upon topics are being confronted and publicly distributed through the well-known North American brand American Apparel. Collins wants to test our society. How will we react to this? Will society pass the test? The answer is no. We all failed miserably.  Petra has constantly been hated on for this 'unnecessary shirt'. Well, just think about this for a few minutes; the negative reactions that so many have had against this shirt proves it is necessary. More than necessary, it is vital. What worsens this already sad reaction was when Petra's Instagram account was deleted for posting a self-portrate of her natural bikini line. (From my perspective I thought it was completely appropriate and no different from any other some-what skimpy bikini picture (which is fine too). But why should Petra be discriminated against because she wants to be au-natural? In a sense I feel degraded. As though my natural pubic hair isn't acceptable. Instagram clearly hasn't thought through their action of deleting Petra Collins' account, because if they had, they would realize that they have degraded and attempted to silence a feminist. Perhaps the actual t-shirt itself isn't the true act of feminism (however still very feministic) but instead the revelation of societies negative and disgusted reactions. This leads me into the next question I'm almost always asked (about feminism in general)
Petra's natural bikini line banned from Instagram

The question I was asked when trying to access the VICE article (most likely sarcasm?)

"Why is this even necessary?"
(When I refer to 'this' I mean both the PP t-shirt and her pubic hair Instagram.)

Well my poor ignorant friends, before I too have to admit I was just as ignorant as those who believe feminism isn't necessary. What I admire and find most feministic about Petra's collaboration with AA is the cold, hard proof that feminism is critical even in the younger generations. Where is the proof? It lies in the Instagram comments, Facebook statuses, articles and any other negative opinionated piece. I don't think they realize they are referring to the body of a human, and not just any human: a female. Her body is beautiful -and I mean it- I would love to have Petra's body and her pubic hair. Just as much as I love having my period. However there are still people who are ashamed and discriminated against for menstruating or masturbating, and to be frank, the shame needs to retire once and for all.

"Isn't it hypocritical since Petra would be pissed seeing a masturbating penis?"

Believe it or not Alice Lancaster painted a leather jacket with a penis ejaculating and Collins wears it everywhere. If you want to wear a shirt where masturbation is present, go ahead, however I refuse to look at or pay any respect to those who wear shirts that say "Shut up bitch, make me a sandwich". Petra isn't a hyprocrit nor is she biased towards females. Collins believes in equality for both men and females. I hope to see her one day wearing both her Period Power tee and her Lancaster Ejaculation jacket, creating the most amazing equal masturbation outfit.

Fixing my beanie (attempting to curl my hair naturally tonight)

It is actually sad for me to think that Petra was right because at one point in my life, I disagreed that feminism was still necessary. It wasn't until a few years ago that I, myself, discovered and faced sexism. Yet to this day, Petra still proves to our society that feminism needs to push forward.
To sum up these three questions; Petra proved that discrimination against the female body still exists. This was shown by the horrible comments against her natural bikini line. Secondly, Petra proved that sexism still exists; this is prevalent from all the t-shirt 'punch lines'. And Lastly, Petra proved that women oppression still exists, from the articles against women accepting menstruation & masturbation.

If you agree with me that Instagram has attempted to shame and silence Petra Collins sign this petition to get her Insta back. (However now I want to just boycott Instagram in general for their ignorant action).

In all honesty, I have to say I am quite privileged to have Petra Collins on Facebook. From seeing her regular occurrences on my newsfeed I get the info straight from the source-whether that be AA news or just her opinions-. Let me tell you, Collins is brilliant. Firstly, her strength to publish her body on such a public scale and to still remain strong is astonishing. Despite getting verbally abused Petra published her own story and thoughts on the Instagram/t-shirt 'controversy'.

I can't get past the idea that masturbation and menstruation is 'controversy' to even begin with.

Next I would like to address a few Facebook 'friends' who have been posting/questioning Petra's goal. To those who said Collins was confused in multiple interviews  and 'contradicting' herself: I don't think anyone has realized how deep and complex the t-shirt illustration is. It's almost impossible to address the AA collection in just one segment. No, instead it's vital to realize all of the different aspects ie. Masturbation, sexism, oppression, discrimination, slut shaming, confrontation, Menstruation, body image, natural beauty, and there are more within those topics. That is, truly rare and amazing. Petra has not contradicted herself but instead is stuck with voicing out each individual topic that lies within the t-shirt.

Petra, I'm supporting you and your courageous act(s) of feminism.

In all, I know this post was a bit of an unorganized ramble. However it's a ramble everyone needs to read. Petra is an honourable feminist and the Period Power T-shirt should be supported on a global scale. One of the main adversities I'm sure Petra faces at the moment is body image since she has been dehumanized and degraded on multiple levels from online users. Collins is a  naturally hairy beautiful women and her body cannot be shamed in any culture of any kind. 

My Period Power & Wet T-shirt

I got very excited when my T-shirts arrived that I demanded to wear them to a friends house (despite not going anywhere). 

Sofia snapped this picture of me. 
LOFT shoes my dad picked out and Jbrand pants (both leopard print)

I love this because it matches perfectly with my breasts. I bought two bite brownies from a convenient store then was asked if I knew that my shirt was see-through.
(Wasn't kidding about the t-shirt matching with my breasts)
A friend Giulia's shoes from TOPSHOP and my oxblood jeans from NARWHAL (Citizens of humanity)

Being goofy (blame my boyfriend for getting me hyper).

In the upcoming week I will post another article (more of a conclusion or follow up).

Goodnight. Have nice dreams of menstruation and masturbation.



  1. Hey emma, I think you addressed this really frustrating/complicated/silly controversy really well, and your personal pride and positivity sends a very inspiring message, keep it up!

  2. Very interesting article. I have seen many of me Facebook 'friends' post the Petra Collins shirt with comments of disgust and ridicule, and it really irked me. I couldn't think of how to respond to these comments until I read your piece. Thanks!!
    - avid follower and grateful feminine contributor!!

  3. Great article, great t-shirt.