Check Out American Apparel’s Cool New Period Masturbation T-Shirt

American Apparel period power washed shirt

American Apparel has been gamely shocking the world for years now. When they’re not hiring models who look fifteen (and seeing the subsequent ad campaigns banned), they’re getting in trouble for tone deaf casting calls, getting in even more trouble for tone deaf casting calls and making some really admirable, forward-thinking casting decisions. Or just provocative ones?

Along the way, we’ve occasionally had to remind ourselves that American Apparel makes clothes. Not just any old clothes, but reliable, affordable basics that aren’t made in dank, oppressive sweatshops overseas.

Sometimes those reliable, affordable basics made in the states by workers paid a living wage have bleeding vaginas on them, but whatever:

American Apparel period power washed shirt

Yes, it’s a little bit Egon Schiele, a little bit Quentin Blake, a little bit Pinterest-friendly nail art and a lot of controversy-friendly menstrual blood.

It is a collaboration with all-female online art platform The Ardorous, which is curated by Toronto-born artist Petra Collins. Per the brand, Collins “began her infatuation with photography at age 15 and became an American Apparel retail employee around the same time. She creates portraits exploring female sexuality and teen girl culture. Now 20, Petra has worked with Vice, Vogue Italia, Purple, Rookie, and is a contributing photographer for American Apparel.” An unsurprising resume for someone who explores female sexuality by stamping t-shirts with autoerotic menstruation imagery.

What’s more, this tee isn’t just ham-fisted provocation, it’s also charity: 50% of proceeds from the sale of these garments go directly to The Ardorous artists. The rest goes to AA.

Whenever anyone uses period blood to be provocative, the same exact argument happens in predictable order: first, there are the obvious detractors who cry that it’s disgusting!; then there are the equality warriors who cry that it’s natural, not disgusting!; last, there are the confused few who agree that it’s not really “disgusting” but there’s still the question of why?

And with that, in 3… 2… 1…

(via AA)

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    • Samantha

      Can we just jump straight to why? Because I don’t understand how period masturbation indicates “I support art collectives and ethically produced t-shirts.”

    • Cee

      To me its not disgusting, more like…scary. No not because of the blood or labia..but the nails. I’m assuming and hoping she is not planning on penetrating herself? Most lesbians keep their nails short for sex (if penetration is preferred) but all I can think of when I see this shirt is vaginal lacerations and the scary stories I have heard amongst other lesbians about having sex with long nails involved.

      Oh and also…she should invest in good hand soap and sanitizer. That smell lingers.

    • kj

      That awkward moment when you’re reading the gloss and your Mom randomly wanders by and “Cool New Period Masturbation T-Shirt” is at the top of the page…

    • MammaSweetpea

      I was all “Why” at the title, before I even got to the article. I’m all for people doing what works, its all good. I’m just not sure why it needs to be plastered on a t-shirt. And it’s not about feminism or whatever. I wouldn’t want to see an image of guy stroking his penis either. Call me old fashioned, I just think that our bits n bobs don’t need to be all out there. Even if it’s just a cartoon.

    • Amazedisgrace
    • kitty

      I’m all for embracing female sexuality and I don’t consider menstruation disgusting or weird (it’s something totally normal that almost every woman experiences for most of her life), but I really don’t understand the point? It seems almost like using the female body purely for shock value.
      Also, dayum—those nails.

    • Betsey

      Clothing forms an important component of overall dressing. T-shirts are very popular and liked by most of the people because they are comfortable. Above mentioned t-shirts are really very cool t-shirts , one can wear them to have a stylish look.

    • Cheryl Marie Williams

      This shirt is freaking horrible, and I would never wear it.