15 February, 2016
Health & Fitness

Little Things For Good – It’s Time to Start Talking About Periods

15 February, 2016

Tampon Tins That Make A Difference

It’s 2016 and we’ve come a long way. But for some reason, we still have to pretend like we don’t have, you know, the painters and decorators in, aunt flo in town or a super-size tampon carving it up on the crimson wave.

Even though roughly half the population is on the rag one week of every single month, it’s still taboo to talk about… periods. Yes, you heard me – expensive, cramping, bloody, craving, leaking, hormonal, sweaty, don’t-sneeze-at-the-wrong-time, PERIODS. There has been great progress though: in 2015, menstrual chat flowed from our girly Whatsapp groups straight into the mainstream, in what has been dubbed ‘the year of the period’.

In case you didn’t catch it, free bleeding became an inspired new method of protest. Female athletes spoke out about how the time of the month affects their game. Tampon tax-gate kicked off globally and, my personal favourite, women live-Tweeted Donald Trump about their periods after he made a derogatory remark on TV. Women, three letters – LOL.

Yet, even though all of this made front page news (in fact, it’s the reason why), the topic of a woman’s monthly cycle is still extremely uncouth. You can blame it on patriarchal religion of old for starting the ‘menstrual taboo’ – which, by the way, has its own Wikipedia page so is officially a ‘thing’ – but we all play a part in perpetuating it by not talking about it.

I’m not saying we should force boyfriends to kiss our used sanitary towels as a way to prove their love for us – because that’s abuse, not feminism. In fact, no one needs to air their dirty laundry (or pantyliners) should they not wish. But raising the “mysterious” period out of the depths of women’s forums into the daylight among other regular and far less maligned bodily functions, will allow us to be more honest and open about one of the things that makes us women and help others in the process.

Yes, periods might be the monthly reminder that we have the amazing ability to create life within our bodies (which is something to be applauded not thought of as “gross”), but as one woman I spoke to rightly said, when it comes down to it, “periods are annoying, inconvenient and make you feel rubbish – what’s to like”.

little-things-for-good-1

Just imagine, then, what it is like for the 1.25 billion women on this planet, well over a sixth of the population, who have have their periods without access to a toilet, let alone tampons and sanitary supplies – our most basic of ‘luxuries’. Think of the homeless and refugee women around the world who are already dealing with so much when their time-of-the-month comes. It’s not something people often dwell on, but it is a reality that has huge emotional, educational and physical implications. The less people are embarrassed to talk about this ‘taboo’, the easier it will be to address issues like these head on.

There are many people doing fantastic taboo-busting things to raise awareness and help in their own individual ways (you can check out some of them here), but we can all play a part, via one very simple little thing; talking about it, removing the embarrassment around it and normalising it.

Earlier this year I created a series of “Tampon Tins That Tell it Like It Is” – beautifully designed and forthright little holders that don’t shy away from letting the world know what they’re for like other time-of-the-month products do. Each has its own unique style and is adorned with quotes from real women that bring the realities of periods to life, such as the accurate “Blood, Sweat, Tears” and “There Will Be Blood” to the more graphic “Crime Scene In My Pants” for the braver tampon owner.

For each and every tin sold, 15% of the proceeds will be donated to Sunshine Action in Hong Kong and St Mungo’s Broadway in the UK to provide sanitary products for homeless and refugee women and support the charities’ continued work rebuilding lives. Find out more about both organisations at littlethingsforgood.com. As well as raising awareness for the women around the world without access to sanitary supplies, it is just as important we empower younger women to own and be proud of their bodily functions. It’s not embarrassing to be human. We’re not just sugar and spice and all things nice. And sometimes we don’t glisten, we just straight up sweat. So, screw the taboo ladies: it’s time to start talking about periods.

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