Petra Collins Vagina Shirt.

Photo courtsey of American Apparel
As many of you may have heard, conservatives have been up in arms about a shirt American Apparel recently released featuring art by Petra Collins, a toronto based artist. Petra Collins is famous for exploring the idea of "teen girl culture," which is expressed through her photography depicting adolescent girls looking complacent in their teen girl bedrooms, in school hallways and featuring the occasional use menstrual blood known in her series The Female Gaze
Photo by Petra Collins

Her work was popularized from Rookie Mag, a website that is the quintessence of said teen girl culture that works to help empower young women through art, fashion etc. Now, menstrual blood related art shouldn't be anything new to the art world, however the second you put it on a t-shirt CONTROVERSY, so obviously you are here, on this website, so its time for me to break this down for yall.

Photo by Petra Collins
First off, may I just say I have A LOT of feelings about this. That's what artwork is supposed to do right? I think this piece is pretty cool because it evokes a reaction, people think its great, people think its beautiful, it makes people uncomfortable, some people think its vulgar, It's getting people talking. In general I'm not really a fan of shock art, but I mean, if I am gonna see vagina art, I prefer Petra's drawing, its kinda super cute...I guess thats not really the point, but I mean, if I had to see it I'd prefer it cute.

Secondly may I just say that as women, we spend our lives trying to pretend that our menstruation cycles don't exist, we dread the time of the month and god forbid we get stains or are seen even holding a tampon. This, I find bullshit. Going to an all girls school I think that as a society we need to normalize the menstruation cycle, something that is so completely normal...like really really normal.

Thirdly, this isn't the first vagina shirt to ever exist ever. I've seen a gnarly one that featured a drawing of a vagina around the collar of the t-shirt so that it looked like you were getting birthed. OR THIS ENTIRE WEBSITE! I've seen ones with crude expressions about women and our body parts, shirts with innuendoes, shirts with a printed tits on them, I've seen all sorts of gnarly apparel, so why is everyone so up in arms about this?

I think the main reason why people are so upset is because this comes from a woman, this isn't sexualizing our sexual organ. It's depicting reality, its not always "sexy." I find it totally fucked up that the second we symbolize something that isn't "sexy" but has to do with our vaginas people have a problem with that? I think thats fucked up and it is patriarchy at its finest.

Now. Will I go out and buy one? hmmmm, still iffy about that. My friend Jhune said it perfectly, she said that even though she is a huge fan of teen culture and the normalization and desexualization of the female body, menstratuion is something natural, another thing that is natural is pooping, and she wouldn't want to wear a t-shirt with that on it. So as I said, this shirt gives me a lot of feels, so for now I'll stick to not owning one, however if I got one for free I would accept it (does that make sense?)

Since I'm so undecided about my feelings on whether or not I'd buy one
what do you guys think?
Have a great day
and please keep it sassy,

*editor addition*
The more I look at this shirt and talk about it, the more I like it. Hmmmm maybe I've convinced myself my point exactly!


  1. I'd be way to chick to wear one, but I totally agree with you that it shouldn't be this huge huge deal. The whole idea that just because the vagina isn't sexualized it's like crude or vulgar is really disheartening. And keeping periods on the DL? This needs to change, like now.

  2. petra collins is a total babe and her artwork/photos are wonderful!! did you hear about her instagram getting blocked?