Feminine Needs

 “Feminine Needs” 2017- Interactive objects made of basswood and poplar, 2017 fall. 

When I was around four years old, I used to steal my mom’s bras and play them as if they were toys. I would also put them on my chest and pretend that I had breasts. I also loved to steal my mom’s menstrual pads, and put them on my underwear, pretending that I was on my period.

As I grew up, I have become more tomboyish. All the sudden, all “Girly” things made me feel uncomfortable, though they were still mysterious to me. I remember being too ashamed to look at or even walk towards the “feminine needs” section in supermarkets. Later on, when I hit puberty, my attitude towards feminine product has become more strange and complicated. I was too embarrassed to buy pads even when I was on my period. I don’t like the way cashiers looked at me when I was buying menstrual pads, as if he or she knew that I was “becoming a woman.” Though I have no breasts, I still feel felt the pressure to wear a bra, because the girls who are the same age as me are all wearing bra. I remember wearing a half-empty 32A bra and being afraid that people would see the hollowness beneath my shirt. Puberty was strange. All the sudden, I could not run around and play soccer with boys, I could not sit with my legs open, I could not laugh too loud. I was forbidden to be friends with boys, because my parents thought there was no real friendship between males and females, “boys just want to take advantage of you!” And all these strange rules were put upon me as I started using menstrual pads and bras that were too big for me.

As I grew older, I slowly realized my attraction towards women. The “girly things” became somehow “hot” to me. And I wonder if my embarrassment towards feminine products at a young age was due to the shame of my sexual attraction towards women. 

My objects “Feminine Needs” is a reflection of my experience growing up facing the absurdity of puberty, womanhood, and sexuality. It wasn’t intended to be provocative or confrontational as well as it shouldn’t be, because putting on a bra and using maxi-pads are the inevitable path for every girl in a conventional environment. In this piece, I invite all kinds of people to try on the bra and sit on the pad, to share this feminine experience.