The new issue of Ordinary is all about tampons

by Kitty Drake in December 2019
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Art & design Photography

The most recent issue of Ordinary comes with a slightly dog-eared tampon attached to its cover, in a plastic bag. Tampons have not historically been the most exalted of subjects: we are so childish about periods that sanitary ads promote an alternate universe where menstrual blood is, magically, turned blue. But Ordinary — a magazine which takes one mundane household object at a time — delights in blood. One fabulous spread spread inside this issue shows a tampon as big as a watermelon, dark and slick with red.

Other surreal highlights include tampons as long furry nails, and a cake piping tube squeezing out lillets. The centrefold is a collage: mixing tampon insertion instructions with guides to other complicated machinery, like smart ropes and cameras. It reminds you of how terrifying your first period is — that panicked hour spent trapped in the loo with a manual. Why do we make the female anatomy so mysterious?

Ordinary is strictly picture-only, and part of its brilliance is that it leads you on a visual journey, for which there can be no verbal explanation. Seeing, on the very first page, a mouse tail string dangling from a blue wall, is cheeky and bold in a way that makes words totally unnecessary. The whole thing is an elaborate visual joke — mostly the joke is on us for still being so tragically squeamish of periods.


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