Here are our 3 key takeaways from our Period, Privilege and Public Shaming event at The BLOW.
The period taboo is a bloody mess.
There is a lot of craziness in this world that I don’t understand, but one thing I absolutely cannot get my head around is the period taboo.
Why are there over 70 code names for a very normal monthly bodily function called a period?
Why do I act like a ninja when grabbing a tampon out of my bag to take to the toilet with me at work?
Why was I so embarrassed to tell my mum when I got my period and, to this day, still shudder when I think back to that experience?
It’s now bleedingly obvious.
Here are the 3 key takeaways from our conversation:
1. No woman should be forced to free bleed. Period.
Period poverty might seem like a third world problem, but over 122,000 women experience period poverty in Australia, meaning that they cannot afford basic femcare and are forced to free bleed every month.
Free bleed: Having your monthly period without wearing anything to block or collect your period blood.
Beyond inconvenience and discomfort, this stark reality has the unfortunate result where a lot of young women miss up to a week of school every month. This is in direct contrast to all the hard work we are doing to fight for equality and equal opportunity for men and women.
2. Periods shouldn’t cramp your style.
In 2019, many women still feel uncomfortable about talking about periods, which is not helping to remove the stigma. This begins at a young age with the first conversation you have with someone (usually your mum) about your period.
You’ve found stains in your underwear. You think maybe it’s dirt, no, you’re imagining things, it’s not even there. Maybe you know what it is, but regardless you’re mortified by what your body is doing. Then you have to awkwardly ask your mum what the weird stain in your underwear is and everything spirals into an emotional rollercoaster. Oh, and don’t tell dad!
Mums and mums-to-be one day, you have an opportunity every single month to normalise periods. Starting with your own.
3. Women are shaming women and it’s heavy.
Recognising her privilege, Mia took the initiative to better understand what it might be like for people who free bleed - whether it be by choice or not - and tried it for the first (and last) time. You can read about Mia’s full experience here. What was more shocking than the amount of clothing Mia soiled, was the public shaming that surrounded Mia’s article. And what was even more shocking was the fact that it all came from women.
Ladies, don’t we believe that women should have full control over their bodies? Periods should be no different. Support other women to menstruate on their own terms, with dignity and respect.
This is a quick snapshot of a very complex issue, but with awareness comes responsibility. I challenge you to take three action steps during your next period to help smash this taboo.
- Periods are normal. Talk about your period like you talk about the weather.
- Femcare is nothing to be ashamed of. Flaunt it.
- Buy your femcare from Woolies as they’re donating 1cent in every pack sold to Share the Dignity. Or better yet, donate what we all take for granted every month to girls in need.
Let's do this,