Menstrual Health Day. Positivity, Period. #PeriodsWithoutPlastic
Red Wave Talks on June 7th, explored holistically the reasons why Menstrual Hygiene day (May, 28) is an occasion of both celebration and reflection for us all. The intelligent passion demonstrated by our period positive allies gave us reason to feel empowered, and we think you should feel it too.
Ella Daish first became awake to the scale of our plastic problem after being exposed to the flippant use of disposable plastics during her delivery routes as a post-woman. At the same time, she switched to a mooncup after struggling to find bathrooms in which she could change her tampon.
After doing her research and soul searching, she wondered how little women knew about the unnecessary plastic waste they are helping to build through their period product choices. This led her to start her now viral petition, calling for all manufacturers to remove plastic from all menstrual products.
With 103,000 supporters and rising, Ella believes periods should be openly discussed and not silenced. Quite simply, the most accessible options for girls to manage their periods should not result in 200,000 tonnes of annual waste, with four plastic bags worth of plastic in every one sanitary pad.
To borrow the words of Ella, if Jane Austen had used the standard menstrual pads we have today, they would still be with us in landfill.
She would certainly have something to say about this, and so should we.
You can do your bit by signing her petition here, and by considering the impact of your period product choices.
Anthropologists Chris Knight and Camilla Power introduced a cross-cultural approach to understanding that patriarchy is a ‘blip in archaeological time’. Drawing on the cultural significance deduced from Fulton’s Rock- a prehistorical art piece found in a mountain range in the Southern African plateau- they discussed the ritual significance of menstruation as an internal centre of power for these peoples.
From Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture, Chris Knight
The ritual performance depicted in the painting reflects the absolute power of the menstruating girl to transcend worlds and take the whole community into a totally new one. In this world of ritual, respect and balance, masculinities and hunting are transformed by the new, special rhythm of menstruation.
It was a moment of epiphany to realise the power to change the status quo rested on our beliefs and values, something we all have an active part in creating and changing.
Inspired by the ideas of Knight and Power, show-woman Marisa Carnesky turns on it’s head expectations of shame and femininity as they relate to the menstrual cycle. The persuasiveness and subversiveness of art is anything but subtle in the gloriously in your face tone of Dr Carnsky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman.
Carnesky helps us speculate the boundless future of ‘menstruation magic’, through a lense that rejects the patriarchal appropriation of what it means to be a female, regardless of whether she bleeds.
It was an evening of clarity, empowerment and excitement as it seemed that we are on the cusp of genuine revolutionary change, thanks to the work of the fantastic individuals in the room.
My ability to practice conscious consumerism, use my voice and contribute to grass-roots movement is a path i’ll from now walk proudly, with an abundance of confidence and knowledge. Do you know enough about your period to march with us?
Written by Kemi Akilapa for Grace & Green