When I was researching my first book, The Modern Period: Menstruation in Twentieth-Century America (2009), one of the most frequent questions I got was a skeptical “why are you writing about that?” So when I started fielding frequent calls from reporters around 2015, it was a surprise. They had the impression that the world had… Read more →
Bloody Archives: An Archival Insight into the History of Sanitary Towels
Given the number of people menstruating at any one time in the United Kingdom, you would have thought it would be a key interest of past governments. And yet the UK National Archives collections show remarkably little about the history of menstruation and sanitary products. Maybe this should not be a surprise, given how male-dominated… Read more →
Menstruation in the 1990s: Feminist Resistance in Saskia’s Heavy Flow Zine
Among the many treasures in the archives of Glasgow Women’s Library, the six issues of the 1990s menstruation-themed zine Heavy Flow is a special gem. The series was created by artist and writer Saskia between 1993 and 1995 and provides unique insight into the discourse surrounding menstruation at the time. Saskia, who has proven difficult… Read more →
Eighth-Grade Innovator Helps Girls Focus on Class Periods, Not Menstrual Periods
“If men could menstruate,” Gloria Steinem observed wryly in an iconic 1978 essay for Ms. magazine, “[s]anitary supplies would be federally funded and free.” Surely, too, tampons and pads would be stocked in every public bathroom just like toilet paper. Instead here we are, almost 40 years and a powerful women’s movement later, and women… Read more →
Flowers and Lady Charlotte: Talking about Menstruation, Past and Present
In some ways, 2015 was the year of the period in social media. Thinx panties, which claim to absorb menstrual blood without the use of a tampon or pad (even on heavy days), were named a “best invention” of 2015 by Time and made the rounds on Facebook. News outlets featured Kiran Ghandi when she… Read more →
“The Only Menstrual Murderess”: Blood, Guns, and a Theory of Female Crime
In fact, when she came downstairs on the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Andrew Borden gave her father Andrew Jackson Borden only ten or eleven whacks, and her stepmother Abby Durfee Gray Borden twenty. Nearly a century and a quarter later, criminologists, historians, and true crime buffs are still arguing as to the how… Read more →
The Secret to Girls’ Success (Think: Periods)
By Lara Freidenfelds
When you were 14, if you had your period, but your parents couldn’t buy you pads or tampons, would you have gone to school? It’s unimaginable, right? It would have been too gross and humiliating to even consider. Better to pretend to be sick, and deal with the missed work and the bad grades.
In many parts of the world, that’s exactly what happens. And that means that girls don’t get educated, even where they have access to schools.
Periods, Consumerism, and My Gentle Menstrual Activism
By Jenna Tucker
The Camp Gyno ad sparked debate this past fall in the feminist blogosphere about menstruation and feminine care products. When I watched the ad, it managed to evoke just about every contradictory emotion I could feel in relation to periods, gender, and feminism. I felt everything from shame to ’90s girl-power pride to anti-capitalist rage. I’m a tiny arena in which contradictory personal and cultural history plays itself out.
By Lara Freidenfelds
Miscarriage rarely makes the news, except in tabloids. But last year, Virginia state Senator Mark Obenshain’s ill-advised attempt to require Virginia women to report all miscarriages to the police contributed to his failure to become Virginia’s state attorney general. The bill, introduced in 2009, haunted his race for the position. Obenshain was trying to demonstrate his moral outrage over the case of a frightened teenager who had given birth to a premature stillborn baby, and disposed of it in a dumpster. It was a tragic case, to all observers. But instead of asking how his state could better provide sex education and contraception, or provide support to teens who get pregnant, he wrote a bill aimed at surveillance and punishment. On penalty of up to a year in prison, women would be required to report all incidences of fetal demise occurring outside a physician’s supervision to the police. They were to report the pregnant woman’s name and the location of the remains, and would not be allowed to dispose of them without police supervision.
The Camp Gyno is Period Positive – Are You?
By Heather Munro Prescott
I can’t let the summer end without commenting on the latest video from Hello Flo, a “reminder service” for feminine hygiene products that “was born to deliver just what a woman needs when she needs it.”