Raise your hand if you’re ready to talk about periods...like REALLY talk about them. You there feeling shy in the back row, we’re especially talking to YOU.
At the end of last year we reflected on how periods finally got woke. Now it’s time to see how powerful they can be.
You might have noticed, depending on your social media bubble, that all things period talk, menstrual cup movements and all around #PeriodPositive momentums are on the rise. From the fight against the absurd #TamponTax, bringing light to #PeriodPoverty in ALL parts of the world (including where you are) and pushing hard against the archaic stigma and harmful taboos that need to be left where they belong...in the past.
But let’s take a step back.
Why are periods making the news? Why are they taking people to the streets in protest? Why is a normal bodily function that has been around as long as we have the catalyst for social movements?
Why are we talking #PeriodPower?
Why are periods powerful?
Yes, periods are normal. Periods are powerful because they are normal. When we stigmatise or exalt a commonplace trait of being human we are deciding who has access to a safe and dignified world and who doesn’t.
For many of us, especially living in Western countries, it’s hard to imagine that so many people all over the world do NOT have access to dignity, health or education simply because they have their period. But it is happening and it is on our doorstep.
Periods and society
Historically and including through all the main secular religions, periods and those experiencing them at the time, have been seen as “unclean”. What this means is that, at some point or another and with no control of their own, around half of the population are perceived and treated as “lesser” people.
Today, we still see the extreme version of this where in some countries girls and women miss out on work, schooling and even banished from their home because they are on their period. But even in Europe and countries like the UK and US, period poverty, access to choice and education and period shaming are still a big problem.
Periods and language
One of the reasons why this is happening is because of how we talk about it (or, a lot of the time, how we don’t talk about it). How we talk about things in our world is one of the biggest indicators and influencers of how we perceive and treat the world and people around us.
The fact that so many people feel uncomfortable even mentioning the word “period” or “menstruation” (ever noticed how many euphemisms we have for it? I’m looking at you Aunt Flo!) or simply don’t want to talk about it at all.
Or that, when people DO talk about periods, we often hear it being described as “gross”, “embarrassing” or the topic being “un-ladylike” (don’t get us started on that phrase).
Language helps shape our world and periods have enough weight to shape our language.
Periods and health
When topics are off the table or are misrepresented then it means access to relevant education, choice and proper healthcare is too. Right now there are people all over the world who are too afraid to talk to their doctor, who do not have access to safe and hygienic period products, who are putting their bodies in sometimes dangerous situations because the stigma and lack of education and awareness is all too real.
Periods and politics
This is why periods are powerfully political. They are part of life for around half the population, impact us regularly and yet the political discourse, laws and legislations often do not reflect this. When we are denied access to information and period products then this affects our health, our wellbeing at the workplace and even access to schooling.
At the #FreePeriods protest in London last December, female politicians spoke of feeling unable to bring up the topic of periods in parliament because of negative reactions from their peers.
Imagine what it’s like in political systems where gender and overall inclusivity is less.
Periods and equality
So, when periods affect how people are viewed, treated, their health, their access to education or the workplace then they are powerfully linked to equality.
If we truly want gender equality (or equality for those who have periods but identify as a different gender) or simply equality for half the darned population who happen to menstruate, then we need to talk periods. Like REALLY talk periods.
Lunette and #PeriodPower
Yes, we love menstrual cups (and make darned good ones too) but an overarching mission of ours is to change the conversation around periods and help bring about positive change.
That’s why this year we’ll be focusing on bringing awareness to #PeriodPower and how it affects us all. This includes dropping some truth bombs about the realities some people face when on their period as well as putting more light on how we talk about periods that includes more people, genders, cultures and body types. We’ll also be talking about how periods specifically affect people in prisons, the corporate work life, education and homelessness.
Because this isn’t just a conversation for the feminists and the hippies. #PeriodPower affects us all.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as the hashtag #PeriodPower as we keep the conversation going!