She is unabashed, celebratory and bold. Offering ‘shameless accounts of the female experience’, the magazine centers its first issue around menstruation, and is aptly titled ‘Let It Bleed.’
The issue opens with a poem about periods by Elisa Franceschini-Gigliotti, which sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the magazine. It’s an empowering call to arms, comparing periods to oceans, hurricanes and landslides, and calling out the culture of shame that surrounds them.
The magazine has a nice, personal touch throughout, with many of the pieces written in the first-person. On one page are ‘Tales of the Taboo’; first-person stories relating to moments of embarrassment, defiance, and first period experiences, which feels somewhat like a ‘woke’ version of the shame columns found in teen magazines. Sanitary products are also explored through intimate reviews, which include tales of discomfort and surprise. And in a piece called ‘Period Talk’, we are reminded how much of a taboo periods really are. The author reasons that ‘I think I have heard more about the sex life of friends, and some strangers, than I have about their periods.’
Throughout the issue, She is mindful of the fact that not all women have periods, and is wary of ‘othering’ these women. It lends space to a multitude of experiences; on one page, two women open up about their experiences of menopause. In an article called ‘Trans, Deal With It!’, the author describes the emotional implications of having your period return while transitioning.
The second half of the magazine takes on a different format. There are film and book club reviews, recipes ‘for when Flo’s in town’, and recommendations of places to go to and things to do to help you relax during your period.
Perhaps it’s the first-person tone of the magazine, but there is a youthful feel to She, and in places it feels like you’re reading a (really good) teen magazine. This doesn’t make She’s debut any less empowering – it makes for easy, but insightful, reading.