80 percent of menstruating people hide their discomfort during menstruation! That’s what Anna and Michelle, the initiators of Menstrual Movement, write. Their goal is to contribute to the destigmatization of menstruation through menstrual education. In an interview, they explain how they came up with the idea for their project to break the taboo.
The Menstrual Movement for menstrual education
Menstruation is not a taboo! That’s why we (Anna and Michelle) used our voices to make this clear through menstrual education. As part of a project at the TH Cologne, we decided to talk about menstruation without shame and with a lot of commitment. With the so-called scrollytelling we tried to emphasize the specificity of the topic in our project. You are welcome to have a look at what came out of it!
But who are we? We are Anna (25) and Michelle (22). In Cologne, we both study online editing and are not afraid of supposedly taboo topics. We think that there’s nothing to be ashamed of and that there are still far too many social issues where there’s plenty of need for clarification. That’s why we started with menstruation education.
How did you come up with the idea for your menstrual education project?
Michelle: “I listened to a podcast about the freebleeding movement. When it came to finding a topic for the web project, it was soon clear that I would like to do something about menstruation. Without further ado, I told Anna about the idea and she was immediately on board.”
How did you go from the idea to the finished project?
Anna: “In the beginning we thought about what aspects there are that lead to the stigmatization of menstruation. We quickly identified far too many social and societal structures that make menstruation a taboo even today. It was hard to part with ideas, but in the end we decided to focus on the topics that were personally close to our hearts. These were, for example, menstruation and language, menstruation in education, and menstruation in advertising. Each of us had our own small projects and several great interview partners. Through regular communication, we were able to do a great job on our menstruation education project – even though we unfortunately couldn’t see each other due to the current situation.”
What was your most beautiful moment during the realization of your project?
Michelle: “The best moment for me was that the project led to many open and taboo-free conversations about menstruation. Especially through the exchange with menstruating people, it became clear to me that we often still have the same worries or fears when it comes to menstruation. The conversations with non-menstruating individuals were amazing, as they actually knew very little about menstruation. During the various conversations, I noticed that we are making an important contribution to raising awareness with our project. Thus, we ensure a taboo-free and relaxed approach to menstruation.”
What was your biggest “aha” moment during the project?
Anna: “I found it very interesting to learn about the different phases of the menstrual cycle. I had never really dealt with that before. After the project, I read up on the subject again in detail and learned a lot.”
What are the reactions when you tell people about your project?
Michelle: “Actually, the reactions are rather different. There are some who find the topic of menstrual education super cool. These people are very happy that we dare to write openly about the taboo in this university context nonetheless. On the other hand, there are also people who react rather irritated. They don’t understand why we should talk about menstruation in such detail and are then amazed at how extensive the project has become.”
For the future, we hope that such projects will eventually no longer be necessary, so that menstruation will finally be seen as an anxiety-free and destigmatized topic. For our part, we see menstruation as an unadorned beautiful part that belongs to us. So we hope it is the same for you!