Menstrual Health Day. Positivity, Period. #Menstruation Matters
At what point did it become taboo to discuss a woman’s menstrual cycle? It’s as natural as your digestive system or going to sleep, and in it’s special way is even more vital to life itself. Yet here we are, halfway through 2018, and there’s still a sense of shame at publicly discussing it.
#Menstruationmatters simply do not have the representation in the policy nor minds that make up our society. This is the crux of the problem. Knowledge, shame and silence.
Chella Quint’s expertise in menstruation education is a force to be reckoned with. Not only is she as an education researcher - she’s also a comedian, producer, designer, artist and presenter too.
Surfacing the silenced anxieties experienced by students, Quint’s important research and campaigns are making real tangible progress by highlighting the difficulties posed by having your period in classrooms and exam halls.
We need to build an education environment that supports young people to understand and manage their menstruation effectively, to maximise learning time, attendance and focus.
Her home town of Sheffield has become Britain’s first period positive city, but isn't it alarming to know that it has taken the persistence and rallying of Chella's Period Positivity Project? Why are we still in this situation?
To live today in a society, whereby young girls still have many unanswered questions about their periods? Why the lack of support, both at home and at school?
The answer, Quint tells us, is fundamentally how we as individuals all learn about periods in the first place.
You can support her petition here which is campaigning to ensure that Sex and Relationships Education is high quality and progressive; for the benefit of children and society, and not archaic period product brands that perpetuate period negative dialogue in schools.
Monica Karpinski is the founder and editor of Femedic, a website that is working to refresh the availability of information on areas of women’s health considered taboo. Menstruation is by far the biggest female health issue, but also one with the least amount of information.
Femedic couples medical information with lifestyle content, because health and well-being is least of all a physical conversation as it is an emotional, environmental and social one.
A nice monica-mise-en-abyme to start your Tuesday morning! @monkarpi discussed why we need to separate menstruation from gender at the @wukawear #RedwaveTalks event last week, bringing people people together to discuss why #menstruationmatters pic.twitter.com/WQ1tD4H4dl— The Femedic (@thefemedic) June 12, 2018
She is also an advocate of dismantling normative assumptions about being female on one hand, and menstruating on the other.
In a society where women are too often patronised as emotional or hysterical, she argues an important point. The equation of biology and gender with the destiny of an individual body must be dismantled.
Thanks to @wukawear for hosting such a fun and informative evening! It was great to be able to share our work with such a lovely group of people... and every chance to meet up with fellow menstrual activists is bloody fantastic! @binti_period @chellaquint https://t.co/Oj8nEYaZUx— Menstrual Matters (@MenstruMatters) June 8, 2018
In similar vein, Sally King pioneered her website Menstrual Matters. This platform provides evidence based, accessible information that aims to resolve the murky waters of the diagnostic process- which inadequately accounts for how various female-prevalent health issues might be triggered or worsened by the menstrual cycle or hormonal medication.
In her talk, Sally critiqued the tendency of contemporary society to herald the simple and categorical and condemn the variable or emotional. In patriarchal society, this has contributed to period poverty in knowledge as well as resources. The complexity of menstrual health is seldom understood.
Briony Farmer aka @PreciousstarYT, has 120,000 YouTube subscribers and is an exciting example of how the vlogging generation are sharing their ideas to more people than ever.
Briony became life changingly unwell with Lyme disease before her GCSEs and was left bedbound. In the face of many new symptoms and much uncertainty, she became a vlogger and sold her hand-made reusable sanitary pads on Etsy. Briony provides friendly and honest information on topics such as period products and STI clinic experiences.
Bryony Farmer in her menstrual cup comparison video.
The simple fact that she is talking about these issues that we are all familiar with indicates welcome change. The meticulous feedback from her customers and fans has been so intimate and open that it is more likely she understands their lives and bodies better than their doctors, family or friends do.
It seems although conversation, as well as quality information, is the key.
Written by Kemi Akilapa for Grace & Green