“2015 Was The Year We Started Talking About Periods In Public” claims the Huffington Post of India, where Piyasree Dasgupta writes:
“As curious pre-pubescent children, then anxious menstruating teenagers and finally women adept at dealing with their uteruses, we have been directed to relentlessly guard the fact that women possess menstruating bodies. Over the years, we invented sophisticated methods to make sure that the relationship between sanitary napkins with society at large, was a bit like that of Voldemort and his nose – there, but barely visible.”
“Periods went mainstream in 2015. About bloody time” says the British Telegraph headline, under which Radhika Sanghani writes: “Never in my career – or, indeed, my personal life – have I spent as much time discussing periods as in 2015. Barely a week went by when menstruation wasn’t hitting the headlines. From new sanitary products (think period pants and Bluetooth mooncups – yes really) to Government proposals on tampon tax, this year has officially been the year that the P-word went mainstream.”
“Free bleeding, tampon taxes and menstrual art: Why periods were suddenly newsworthy in 2015” asks the Life Style section of Stuff.co.nz where Brittany Mann says: “In the midst of this maelstrom of scandal, triumph, defeat, and glory, another topic infiltrated the mainstream media this year: menstruation… A bodily function experienced by half the world’s population since the dawn of time was finally deemed newsworthy. Overnight, the phenomenon crept out of our knickers and into the headlines.“
So, have periods gone mainstream?
Well, Yes and No…
It seems that the Taboo was broken. Menstruation is no longer an ‘unmentionable’. Our menstrual blood is certainly VISIBLE in the culture at large, probably more than it has ever been.
Brave women like Kiran Gandhi run marathons without a pad, creative women like Lili Murphy-Johnson come up with beautiful Period Jewelery, and Start Ups like Looncup may be capitalizing on it by developing an App that will send you menstrual texts from inside your body.
This spectrum from protest to exploitation is Too Narrow!
Yes, it is important to make menstrual blood visible. It is liberating to stop hiding. It is empowering to recognize that billions of women bleed monthly, and have nothing to be ashamed of. Yet stopping here is like arriving at your connecting flight, and turning back home instead of flying all the way to your final destination. Protesting, making bold statements, and proving excellent points are only the first leg of the flight!
Where do we want to go from here, now that we have traveled this far?
It seems that we are at a crossroads: there are many possible destinations from here on. Many corporations would want to exploit this new platform to which our collective consciousness arrived. Tampons companies and disposable pads manufacturers see a gold mine potential in changing their advertising tone. Yet the clogging of our landfills with disposable menstrual products remains unaddressed. Start Up companies see opportunities in making ‘Smart’ reusable menstrual products, which make women’s tuning into their body become redundant. And main stream magazines like Cosmopolitan are glad to wave progressive banners while continuing to bombard us with ad campaigns designed to further women’s poor body image, and exploit it by pushing commercial ‘solutions’.
Yet we can take a different fork on this crossroad: we can insist on the road less traveled. The road that takes us inward. The road that explores the essential part menstruation plays the human psyche. The route that acknowledges menstruation as the Matrix and Cyclicity as our drumbeat!
We can open up to a greater cultural conversation, which engages in dialogue between the Linear and the Cyclical as equal and complementary ways of Being.
This kind of cultural engagement will avoid sensationalism. It will lack exploitation. Yet it will re-shape our world. It will re-balance that which has been lopsided, in both women and men, and pave the way to a truly novel paradigm.
Which fork in the road would you take?
Please comment below and make the dialogue fertile.
We are on a brink of social change,
and no matter what side of the conversation you take,
keeping it alive is what will move us forward!