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 appear as a distant issue, yet in Australia, over 122,000 women face period poverty. This means they can't afford basic femcare and are compelled to free bleed every month.
Free bleed: Experiencing your monthly period without using any means to contain or collect your menstrual blood.
Beyond the inconvenience and discomfort, this harsh reality leads to a distressing outcome where numerous young women miss up to a week of school monthly. This stands in stark contrast to the efforts we're making to champion equality and equal opportunities for men and women.
2. Periods shouldn’t cramp your style.
Even still to this day, discussing periods remains uncomfortable for many women, perpetuating the stigma. This begins at a young age with your first conversation about periods, often with your mother.
You discover stains in your underwear. Perhaps you think it's dirt, or maybe you hope it's just your imagination. You might even know what it is, but regardless, you're mortified by your body's actions. Then comes the awkward inquiry with your mum about the mysterious stain, and suddenly, emotions spiral into a rollercoaster. Oh, and of course, dad must never know!
Mothers and those who will be mothers one day, you possess the power each month to normalize periods. It starts with your own example.
3. Women are shaming women and it’s heavy.
Acknowledging her privilege, Mia decided to understand what it's like for those who free bleed, whether voluntarily or not, and gave it a try for the first (and last) time. You can read about Mia's full experience here. What was more surprising than the clothes Mia soiled was the public shaming that surrounded her article. Even more astonishing was that it came from other women.
Ladies, don't we stand for women having full control over their bodies? Periods should be no exception. Stand by fellow women to experience menstruation on their terms, with dignity and respect.
This offers a brief glimpse into a complex issue, yet awareness comes with responsibility. I challenge you to take three actions during your next period to break this taboo:
- Normalize periods; discuss them as casually as the weather.
- Embrace femcare without shame; flaunt it.
- Choose Woolies for your femcare, as they donate 1 cent for every pack sold to Share the Dignity. Or better yet, share what we often take for granted each month with girls in need through donation.
Let's do this,