‘It’s your period and therefore it has to be pink and you are a girl’: users’ experiences of (de-)gendered menstrual app design

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.

Of Mobiles and Menses: Researching Period Tracking Apps and Issues of Response-Ability

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.