On May 28 is World Mens­trua­tion Day, so let’s cele­brate peri­ods today! From a period per­spec­tive, the date is easy to exp­lain: An average mens­trua­tion lasts five days and takes place every 28 days (excep­ti­ons con­firm the rule, because many cycles vary from these average figu­res). The NGO WASH United has initia­tes this day in 2013 to draw atten­tion to the chal­len­ges that people around the world face because of their mens­trua­tion. The offi­cial name of the day is ‘‘Mens­trual Hygiene Day’. But I per­so­nally pre­fer to speak of ‘World Mens­trua­tion Day’, which sounds more neu­tral to me. Because the word ‘hygiene’ is more likely to have asso­cia­ti­ons of unclean or dirty. Words that, in my opi­nion, have not­hing to do with your period. 

The fundamental problem: Menstruation is not talked about

Why do we actually need a World Mens­trua­tion Day? It is a con­ti­nuous cycle where the period is not tal­ked about and the­re­fore not prio­ri­ti­zed in poli­tics, society or school. So the topic remains unno­ti­ced. As long as it is not a prio­rity, there will be little change, rese­arch or inno­va­tion in this area. Because of the mens­trual taboo, we do not learn enough about the topic and we often lack self-con­fi­dence about our own period and body. The­re­fore World Mens­trua­tion Day is inten­ded to help in this and to draw everyone’s atten­tion to mens­trua­tion. Let us cele­brate our bodies and our peri­ods

My personal hopes for World Menstruation Day

My very per­so­nal wish is to nor­ma­lize mens­trua­tion, mea­ning that peri­ods are not­hing to be asha­med of any­more. That the times when we go to the toi­let with a hid­den tam­pon under our swea­ter are finally over. I want to be part of the mens­trual move­ment, do my part and cam­paign for more mens­trual jus­tice. And this is exactly why Vul­vani was born – let’s revo­lu­tio­nize the mens­trual world together!

What do I wish for, for myself and periods?

  1. I hope to pro­mote a more open approach towards mens­trua­tion, whe­ther in the living room at home or at the con­fe­rence table with col­leagues. I want to make mens­trua­ting people feel that it is good if they talk honestly about mens­trua­tion and don’t have to pre­tend that they have sto­mach ache when they actually suf­fer from mens­trual pro­blems. And I hope that in the future it wouldn’t come as a shock if a mens­trua­ting per­son had a blood stain on their pants.
  2. I hope for every mens­trua­ting per­son to know how their own body really works and what is pos­si­ble through a more con­scious per­cep­tion of their own body. I know that for example free blee­ding is not for ever­yone. But I think that a variety of choices and inno­va­tive and sus­tainable pro­ducts are important – espe­cially when it comes to mana­ging your period!
  3. I hope to break the mens­trual taboo with know­ledge, edu­ca­tion and ana­ly­sis. I would like to give thought-pro­vo­king impul­ses ins­tead of pre­ten­ding to have uni­ver­sal solu­ti­ons. My mes­sage is not that from now on all mens­trua­ting people have to choose a cer­tain mens­trual method or love their peri­ods. My mes­sage is rather that every mens­trua­ting per­son should feel safe and empowe­red enough to make the best choice for them­sel­ves and accept their own body as it is.

World Menstruation Day: Everyone has to participate 

We all have to learn to see mens­trua­tion as some­thing nor­mal and to talk about it openly. The annual World Mens­trua­tion Day is inten­ded to help us do this. The most important thing is that as many dif­fe­rent people as pos­si­ble actively take part in dis­cus­sions about mens­trua­tion and thus con­sciously break the silence taboo. It is important that dif­fe­rent per­spec­ti­ves, expe­ri­en­ces and opi­ni­ons are given a voice. This is the only way to enable all mens­trua­ting people to manage their peri­ods nor­mally. The first step to break the stigma is to use words like mens­trua­tion or period and not one of the over 5000 syn­onyms. Because mens­trua­tion is not a bad word. On the con­trary: let’s make it a beau­ti­ful word that we enjoy say­ing. Because we don’t have to use any play­ful terms, such as straw­berry week, shark week or cherry time. So let’s all say it once tog­e­ther very loudly PERIOD. Not so bad, right?

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Foun­der Vulvani | britta@vulvani.com | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-foun­der of Vul­vani. She loves rese­ar­ching, wri­ting and designing new arti­cles or inno­va­tive edu­ca­tio­nal con­cepts about mens­trua­tion all day long. When she is not tra­vel­ling the world, she enjoys spen­ding time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.