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  • mariatomlinson7

Happy Menstrual Hygiene Day!

Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day which is a global event that brings together menstrual advocates (such as myself). We are coming together to break the silence around periods and challenge negative societal norms about periods. I have to add here, though, that I feel a bit uncomfortable with the word "Hygiene". It implies people who menstruate are dirty and it therefore shames them. So the name "Menstrual Hygeine Day" jars with the day's aim to challenge menstrual stigma - very problematic! I agree with a recent campaign "Health not Hygiene" (@NotHygeine) which seeks to change the name of the day via a Change petition.

From analysing newspapers, magazines, and social media, I can see that these media still perpetuate certain negative stereotypes about periods and people with periods. However, this is changing! The language used in the media to describe periods is becoming more inclusive and less stigmatising - but there is still a long way to go. Advocacy has played a huge role in shaping media discourse. Menstrual advocates have raised awareness of a variety of issues related to periods. These include raising awareness of period poverty, of trans and non-binary menstrual experiences, the environmental impact of plastic products, as well as related health conditions such as PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder) and endometriosis.

To cast a spotlight on the incredible work of menstrual advocates, I am dedicating a chapter of my book to the role menstrual advocacy has played in shaping the media. For this chapter, I am interviewing advocates across the UK. So, if you are reading this and would like your opinions included in my book, please do get in touch! I am speaking to those who do activism/advocacy on their own as well as people who are part of an NGO/charity.

To mark Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020, I created two videos for Irise International's "One World Period Event". The Irise live broadcast lasts for the whole of Menstrual Hygeine day, so do check out the event here: The videos will be available after the event too.

  1. My Top 5 Period Memes

2. Why Do Periods Matter?

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