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.’

Are you ready to finally under­stand your body & your mood swings bet­ter and learn cycle aware­ness? Then our online course "Cycle Aware­ness as a Super­power" is per­fect for you!

Zyklusbewusstein, Zyklusachtsamkeit, Online-Kurs, Onlinekurs, im Einklang leben, Stephanie Schäper, Koasdesign Studio, Stimmungsschwankungen verstehen, Kraft des Zyklus, Zykluswissen, Menstruationszyklus, Selbstfürsorge Menstruation, Innere Jahreszeiten, Zyklusphasen, Vulvani, Vulvani Academy

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.

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.