Category Archives: Womens’ rights

Confident Carry – Overcoming Shame Around Menstrual Products

Today’s guest post is from Period Wise, and touches on a really important issue: shame and menstrual products which was sparked by a recent event in a school in the US.

A teenage girl who was suspended for concealed carry of menstrual supplies [in a school system which requires that everything be brought into school in a clear plastic bag to facilitate security checks] sheds light on a problem that sadly still plagues us – a lack of confidence among those who menstruate and a lack of understanding among those who do not.

Apparently the Principal’s position is that teenage girls should feel confident enough to place their feminine hygiene needs in a clear bag for all the world to see and carry it with them to class throughout the days they are menstruating, or expect to become menstrual.

Social taboos and menstrual myths abound and affect all.

Rules are established – and followed – without real consideration to the needs of half (and perhaps over half) of the population of a school…group…gathering…attendees of functions….

And, perhaps that’s what these girls should do until this rule is struck down. Perhaps the girls should band together and bring feminine hygiene products in a clear confident carry bag every day whether they are menstruating or not.

I wish all girls and women were so confident in themselves and with menstruation that they were comfortable doing just that.  It would go a long way in ending the embarrassment that so often (and unnecessarily) accompanies things period wise.

And, it would also put an end to the idiotic assumption that menstruation requires a doctor’s permission slip because it’s a medical issue.

A medical issue?  Um…the last time I checked the definition of “medical” it said the word related to the treatment of illness and/or injury.

Menstruation is NEITHER.

So what does confident carry look like?

You tell me.

When you confidently carry menstrual products, what do you carry and how?

If you’ve never confidently carried menstrual products openly in public, what do you think it would look like?  And, how would you confident carry?

Who me? Confident carry?

YES! You!

Confident Carry day TODAY is an opportunity for all to embrace menstruation as normal and natural – NOT something to hide or be ashamed of.  It’s an opportunity to raise awareness to the plight of girls and women all over the world who are shamed into secrecy about all things period wise.

Who would benefit from seeing you confidently and openly carrying feminine hygiene products? Your daughter?  Granddaughter? Your mother? A niece? Your BFF? A student? A girl new to menstruation? A woman with years of experience?  Your partner?

Who could you / would you impact by participating in Confident Carry Day?

At the very least, Confident Carry Day (if you choose to participate) will impact YOU.)

Before you say, “This is not for me because I…” let me say this: male or female, not currently menstruating / never have / or never will again – all are role models for the girl or the boy in your life.

Yes.  Confident Carry is not just about girls and women.  It’s about men and boys, too.

#ConfidentCarry on #May9 is for all.

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Guestpost from Suzan from Period Wise: Empowering girls and women to embrace a too long taboo topic – menstruation.

Currently my work as a menstrual activist and educator includes many roles: mentor, friend, writer, speaker, teacher, and perpetual student.  I also serve as the Director of Connectivity for You ARE Loved (a non-profit that raises awareness about TSS) and as the Manager of North American Operations for Lunette (makers of an amazing reusable menstrual cup).

 

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A call to action: girls in need…

I was recently reading Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: a new biography and she shares research in it which proves that sexual abuse is not “just” done to the body. It is the ultimate way to destroy a woman’s sense of self and sacredness. Because of the connection between yoni, spinal nerves and brain, an attack on the vagina literally closes down feminine consciousness.

My biggest fear as a woman, as a mother of daughters is the possibility of my sex, my sexuality being raped or abused. Not just for the moment that it happens, but for the life long consequences of it. It is our biggest vulnerability as women, and one that has been ruthlessly used globally throughout history to punish women, keep them small, keep them silent, shamed, alone, indentured.

I was contacted today by More Than Me, an education and girls’ empowerment non-profit that gets little girls off the street and into school in one of the world’s most dangerous slums in the world in Liberia, West Africa. They work with community leaders to identify the girls who are at the highest risk of being sexually exploited to ensure that education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, defines their lives. They pay tuition, provide school lunch and work with the school and community to make it impossible for her to fail.

 

They have been shortlisted for a $1 million prize and need our votes. Their work is in total alignment with my aims at The Happy Womb, and I ask you all to take 15 seconds out of your day to support their campaign, so that they are financially assisted in helping empower many more girls who need support, love and safety and have nowhere else to turn to for it.

Educating one girl changes, well, everything. Here’s why:

One of the girls they are currently helping is Abigale.

My name is Abigail.

I’m 13-years-old. I live in West Point, Liberia. I don’t know my parents… I was left with prostitutes when I was six-years-old. They took care of me, but life was hard. Often, I didn’t have a place to sleep or food to eat. I never went to school. And I would often sleep at a video club so men could find me and then “rent” me for the night. I was abused, both in my mind and body. I didn’t feel loved.

When I met the people at More Than Me, my life changed. I have a new home now and food to eat. I’m in school now. I’m happy now. I feel like I have a future now. I feel loved. I’ve learned how to bake, which helps me earn extra money.

Please help vote for me so I can continue in this new life and stay in school. Your vote is my future. I’ll do anything to show you that I’ll do my best in school and become something with my life.

Love,

Abigail

Please, take 15 seconds to make the lives of these girls a bit better by doing two very simple and extremely meaningful things: VOTE NOW through Dec. 4 for Abigail and girls like her at voteabigail.org and… then share it with others.

 

The right to life

I am writing today in a somber mood. A woman has just died in Ireland (where I live) because the law of the land does not allow for abortion under any circumstance.

Presenting at hospital with a miscarriage, the doctors would not act to remove the fetus until its heartbeat had stopped, three days later. After four more days in intensive care she died of septicemia. A tragic, needless, even criminal death.

“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.

“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.” (The Irish Times)

This is not about religion or politics. This is about the right to life. not just for fetuses. For women too.

We live in a baby-centric culture.

Many times when pregnant I felt invisible and unsupported by doctors and medical personnel: no more than a baby container who, through the act of impregnation, had surrendered her rights of self. It seems that when maternity strikes, a woman becomes invisible. An invisibility which continues to some extent for all of her mothering life. Despite her seemingly miraculous ability to gestate and nurture new life, she is a second class citizen.

Wherever you are on the abortion spectrum – for or against – a woman’s life is a woman’s life and to sacrifice it needlessly on the altar of religious dogma, patriarchy or disinterest is unforgivable. But not unusual.

This must change.