Here we are at the end of March and Women's History month. A lot has happened across this mostly lovely planet during this month but I would like to take a few moments to highlight what has occurred in the past 28 days in regards to ideas, products and movements in relation to menstruation.
- According to the Government of the United Kingdom the money collected by taxing tampons and other feminine sanitary products will be used to benefit needy women and girls. While it would be optimal if the UK could rid itself altogether of the tax on such necessities as tampons and pads like other commonwealth countries have (yay Canada!), the fact that these monies are being used where the most vulnerable and excluded women are the beneficiaries is a positive step. The monies, of which there is more than 15 million pounds yearly, will be distributed between charities where period poverty, rape, domestic abuse and mental health are the focus.
- Fitbit announced it is releasing "Female Health Tracking" on their smart watch and health app so that women can "connect the dots between whats going on in your cycle and what's going on in your life." Expect these sometime this spring.
- There is now a menstrual cup that was designed so that the wearer can enjoy mess free intercourse while on their period due to the fact that the cup sits just below the cervix when inserted correctly. This forward thinking Swedish brand Intimina also has other interesting products such as the Kegel Exerciser and pelvic muscle exercise balls.
- The young artist Ariella Elovic from Brooklyn has been making headlines with her depictions of women of history on their periods. I'm honestly not sure what I feel/think about these pictures. They do make me a little uncomfortable but I reckon that is part of their purpose alongside smashing the shame of menstruation. Many websites have highlighted these illustrations with the hashtag #mightymenstruation
I would be most interested to hear your thoughts on this artistic expression.
All in all it has been a remarkably positive month for menstruation and smashing the stigma surrounding it.
Did I miss anything? Please comment below if you know of any new ideas, groups, products or trends regarding menstruation.
For those of you who celebrate, I wish you all a happy Easter. For everyone, may March go out like a lamb and April arrive with warmth and sunshine - either outside or within your own heart.
When I was an adolescent growing up back in the 80's periods were enigmatic - I knew very little about what to expect and what to do to manage it and what I did learn was mostly thanks to Judy Blume and her YA novel 'Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret?'. I wasn't alone as most of my friends and fellow students knew very little and had a lot of questions, but neither the courage nor the platform to ask them.
Today in many places of the world, periods are still a mystery but I am proud and delighted to see so many sisters getting all up in your face with menstrual discourse on the world wide web and in culture at large.
Some of the menstrual activism and awareness currently making news are:
An art exhibit in Halifax devoted completely to the theme of menstruation entitled 'Our Bodies, Our Blood'.
A new 'Period Party' pack for a Barbie-like doll by Lammily that includes an educational pamphlet, a pair of panties for the doll and 18 reusable pad and liner stickers for said doll and panties.
A high school in Queens, New York that is supplying it's students and staff with free tampons and menstrual supplies and believes all schools should follow their lead.
The recent news of a high school student in Stockholm, Sweden who wanted a period themed photo in the yearbook, but it was banned by the principal for not being "representative and easily accessible to any beholder".
Kiran Gandhi who chose to "free bleed" while running the London marathon. (This means with no tampon, pad or cup to catch her menstrual blood, but rather let it flow out of her and through her pants).
The sales tax being removed from tampons and feminine hygiene products in Canada as of July 1, 2015 in large part as a response to a Change.org petition by Jill Piebiak that got over 76 thousand supporters.
A similar campaign in Australia and the innovated rap video to accompany it:
All these cultural movements and moments are heartening and inspiring. We will bleed silently no more. I can hardly wait to see what my fellow sisters will think up next.