There is an easy way to learn something new and that is: read more books. The question is often only, which book is worth reading it? In which area do I want to learn more? For me personally, the year 2019 was all about menstruation and I ordered one book after the other because I just couldn’t get enough. Here you can find my four favourite books about menstruation. From light menstrual education to holistic hormone health to political and scientific period discourses, there is something for everyone. The different dimensions of menstruation are critically examined. For me, these books together are the perfect combination of menstrual knowledge, because the four female authors have very different approaches and backgrounds. The books are simply full of knowledge. Have fun reading them and learning something new!

Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement by Nadya Okamoto

About the author: Founder of the NGO Period Movement and student at the Harvard College
Published: October 2018
Available languages: English
Who is the book for? Teenagers, people with little knowledge about their periods

Link to the book

What is the book about?

Period Power is exactly the book that all teenagers should read to learn about menstruation and different period products in a simple and uncomplicated way. Okamoto explains in her book what menstruation exactly is and what injustices people experience because of their periods. But it does not stop there. She also goes into much more detail about the menstrual taboo and the resulting prejudices. Okamoto introduces the history of menstruation, explains how the period is portrayed in the media and does not stop at period politics. She explains what period poverty is and what menstruation means to a homeless person. Additionally she fills the book with her personal stories. And so the book starts quite dramatically with her first period story.

Let us be proud to bleed

Period Power is a simple manual on how we can change the perception of menstruation in our society. Okamoto teaches us to be proud to bleed! In her book she combines knowledge and education with a call for activism.

‘The common experience of menstruation connects people all over the world. (…) It doesn’t matter where you are from, how you identify, or what access to resources you have. (…) Menstruator or not, you still have to share spaces with many people who are. Everyone, regardless of sex or gender identity, should know what periods are and should feel comfortable talking about them – this is necessary in order to build inclusive and egalitarian communities. So, let’s dive in.’

Periods Gone Public: Making a Stand for Menstrual Equity by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf

About the author: Lawyer, menstrual activist and founder of the organisation Period Equity
Published: October 2017
Available languages: English
Who is the book for? People with an interest in menstruation, politics and activism

Link to the book

What is the book about?

In her book Weiss-Wolf examines why menstruation has become an important political issue and tells the story of the (new) political menstrual movement. Weiss-Wolf writes in her book about her own activism and the struggle for menstrual equity. She introduces various people who are changing the period world aka revolutionizing it! Because menstruation is no longer whispered about. Rather menstrual activists are changing politics: from the partial abolition of the ‘tampon tax’ to changes in the law to ensure access to affordable and safe period products. Because to achieve an equal society we need laws and policies that take into account that half of the population bleeds monthly for decades. Weiss-Wolf also draws attention to the limited access to menstrual products in prisons and when homeless. In any case, the book is thought-provoking!

For more menstrual equity

For Weiss-Wolf, menstruation is both the most normal thing in the world as well as power.  She calls on us all to face the menstrual taboo and presents her own political agenda on how we can work for more menstrual equity. This can be as diverse as we humans are, for example in the form of social opinions about menstruation, activism or product innovation.

‘Menstrual equity is still an evolving concept and goal. The inaugural political fights for menstrual equity in the United States thus far have been to push to eliminate sales tax on menstrual products (the ‘tampon tax’) and to ensure they are freely accesible to those most in need – low-income students, the homeless, the incarcerated.’

Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods by Lara Briden

About the author: Naturopathic doctor with more than 20 years of experience and activist for womxn’s health
Published: September 2017 (second edition)
Available languages: English, German, Spanish
Who is the book for? People with an interest in holistic health, hormones and menstruation

Link to the book

What is the book about?

Briden describes the menstrual cycle in her book in a very accessible, natural and at the same time scientific way. She explains the facts behind various processes in the body without intimidating us as readers. The book is golden if you want to understand how your menstrual cycle works.  It is not a novel, however, but rather an informative book. Period Repair Manual is THE guide to improving your period and related symptoms in a natural way. The first half of the book is about understanding your period and your body better. The second part deals specifically with possible treatment suggestions for various menstrual problems, such as endometriosis, PCSO, cycle irregularities or menopause. The focus is always on the holistic natural approach. Menstrual problems are to be alleviated by diet, herbs and bioidentical hormones.

Menstrual problems are not normal

Briden emphasizes that menstrual problems are not normal and encourages you to tackle them with natural products. In her book she refers to more than 350 scientific studies to support her findings and recommendations. The book is full of helpful advice, concrete solutions and tips for menstruating people of all ages in different situations. The diverse information in this book is presented in such an interesting way that it directly inspires people to take a closer look at their own cycle and to observe everything carefully.

‘Your period is trying to tell you something. Your period is not just your period. It is an expression of your underlying health. When you are healthy, your menstrual cycle will arrive smoothly, regularly, and without symptoms. When you are unhealthy in some way, your cycle will tell the story. I invite you to think of your period as your monthly report card. Every month, it can offer a helpful account of what is happening with your health in general. That information is incredible valuable.’

New Blood: Third-Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation by Chris Bobel

About the author: professor and Chair for Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the College of Liberal Arts
Published: May 2010
Available languages: English
Who is the book for? People with an interest in scientific studies, feminism and menstruation

Link to the book

What is the book about?

New Blood offers an exciting interdisciplinary look at feminism and menstruation. This book requires an interest in scientific studies and complex analyses. It is not an easy evening read, but nevertheless very worthwhile! Bobel’s writing style is easy to understand despite her scientific background. Furthermore, the book is filled with personal stories. From her critical ethnographic perspective, Bobel gives a comprehensive overview of the developments of feminist movements, always in connection to menstruation. She shows the complex tension, continuity, but also breaks between the different waves of feminism. The focus lies in the change from the second to the third wave of feminism. Bobel questions the binary system of the sexes and asks who actually all menstruates.

Perception of menstruation could not be any more different

How we as individuals or as a society approach menstruation could not be any more different. And Bobel manages to portray and question a variety of views and opinions about menstruation in her book. Bobel analyses the history as well as the politics of menstrual activism, which can range from Red Tents, zines about menstruation, DIY projects to holistic uterine health. For me personally, it is a very special book that shows correlations and gives explanations that are not visible at first glance.

‘During the 1970s, three stands – the women’s health movement, environmentalism, and consumer activism – began to slowly intertwine to produce menstrual activism.’

COMING SOON!

Period is political – A manifesto against the menstrual taboo by Franka Frei

The book will be published by Heyne Verlag on March 02, 2020 and can be pre-ordered. Personally, I am really looking forward to the book, because I am a big fan of Franka as a menstrual activist and I like to read her thoughts on her Instagram account. And the back of the book already sounds very promising!

Link to the book

‘We want to see blood! Menstruation is a fascinating body function. Nevertheless it is considered taboo and is often dismissed as a »women’s problem«. This has far-reaching consequences for society. Therefore it is time to break one of the biggest taboos of our time. The revolution is coming. And it will be bloody’.

What are your favourite books about menstruation?

Have you maybe already read one or the other book from this list? If so, how did you like it? What are your favourite books about menstruation? I would love for you to share your book tips with me – by message or in the comments. Because I want to keep reading more and learning about other perspectives.