Menstruation + Taboo (4): Social Media Actions
Lately there has been a lot of attention for the subject of menstruation + taboo. Period! brings you the best awareness actions. This week: a top five of social media actions.
Take a tampon, hold it up (more creative options include sticking it in your nose or dangling it behind your ear) and take a selfie. The Just a Tampon campaign, which went viral in June 2015, wanted to tackle the embarrassment surrounding periods. After all, it’s just a tampon, nothing to be ashamed about. Another reason to photograph yourself with a piece of white cotton on a string was to raise money for supporting menstrual health in developing countries.
Oh oh, that wasn’t too smart now, was it, Donald Trump? During a debate in August 2015, the presidential candidate said about Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly: ‘You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.’ Although Trump claimed he was referring to her nose, many people believed he meant her vagina. The result? Women from all over the world responded by live-tweeting their periods to Trump, describing everything from their flow to their ability to still be a functioning member of society while bleeding. An example: ‘@realDonaldTrump On my period atm. Was nauseous and in pain all day. Still did a huge swim. Sorry Im threatening #periodsarenotaninsult’ by Nathalie Fawcett. There’s even a website dedicated to this campaign which allows you to send pre-prepared tweets out.
Getting your period is expensive. In the UK, tampons are seen as luxury items and thus come with a 5% added tax (strangely, helicopters, crocodile steak and edible sugar flowers are not considered luxury items, see also Pure Luxery). Also in other countries tampons are taxed: in Australia for example, where products such as condoms, lubricants, sunscreen and nicotine patches are seen as important health goods and are tax-free, tampons and menstrual pad users have to pay an extra 10%. A whole lot of women (and men) think this is ridiculous and have therefore supported the petition Stop Taxing Tampons, which has gone viral in the first half of 2015. In Canada, this petition has already led to success: just like incontinence products, cocktail cherries and wedding cakes already were, menstrual hygiene products are now also free of Goods and Service Tax (GST).
Don’t worry, also if you hate your monthly bleeding and the cramps that come with it, you can still be Period Positive. This is an initiative launched by comedian, inventor of the period stain and menstruation education researcher Chella Quint. Quint wants to get rid of the secrecy surrounding periods and aims for a positive approach where boys and girls can discuss reproductive health frankly and without shame. She states: ‘No one has the right to imply that anyone’s identity, body, or bodily function (or dysfunction, for that matter) is shameful’.