Exploring discourses of menstrual negativity and menstrual contagion, we argue for a feminist queer crip approach to menstrual pain. Understood as imagined and exaggerated, menstrual pain has been rendered illegible by redemptive models of pain and straight, ableist structures of temporality. We respond to this context of pain-denial by drawing on crip and queer theories on pain and temporality and feminist work on menstruation to argue that menstrual pain is chronic and cyclical pain. Through our own autobiographies of the material and structural conditions of menstrual pain, we offer a contribution to thinking about menstrual pain and its accompanying contagions and chronicities. We do so by exploring discourses of menstrual containment, negativity, and pain-denial. Next, using one of our experiences of a misdiagnosis of menstrual pain as adolescent "growing pains" as a jumping-off point, we formulate a model of growing pain that centralizes pain in embodied and social imaginings of the body. Finally, we envision a cyclical menstrual time, which can provide the ground for coalitional, relational, social, and political approaches to menstrual pain.


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pp. 206-229
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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