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?
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?