Menstrual apps are digital versions of period calendars that support observation, analysis and interpretation of a variety of physical and mental states as well as behavioral patterns associated with menstrual cycles. The present paper discusses the preliminary results of a qualitative study addressing users’ experiences of and responses to gendered design during app- supported menstrual tracking. The study demonstrates that some users are aware of and react to the gendered assumptions built into menstrual apps’ graphic designs and technological features. Moreover, I show that users engage in alternative uses of menstrual apps thus broadening the forms of use intended by app designers and developers.
This article is an attempt to identify and reflect upon the accountabilities and practices that arise from my research on menstrual apps. Employing Haraway’s concept of multispecies response-ability and drawing on the field diary that accompanied the research process, this text can be situated somewhere in between auto-ethnographical exploration and theoretical reasoning of how to determine responsibilities and implement ethical responses. After a short introduction of multispecies response-ability and period tracking apps, I pay close attention to my affective and sensory perceptions during the fieldwork. I then identify concrete practices of response-ability and acknowledge the limitations I have encountered in the field. Finally, I briefly draw on the figure of the cyborg to conceptualise the complex intertwinings of bodies and technologies.