Dealing with menstruation in the field


It’s great to see that people are starting to talk about this openly. I coped by being on the pill and not having periods in the field, but I wouldn’t do that now, and I wouldn’t be happy if it were the only option women had.



I’m really glad that this sort of thing is getting talked about. I dealt with it by getting the contraceptive implant and haven’t looked back, but that’s in part because I a) got really bad period pains which have completely stopped (as have my periods), b) don’t have any desire to have children and c) hated having my month ruined by something that had (for me) absolutely no purpose. However, I appreciate it’s no the answer for everyone and am really glad that it’s finally being spoken about.

I am reading this article. It’s not directly related to fieldwork, but it examines how little research has gone into understanding periods and the impact they have on women’s lives, and how little doctors seem to know (or care). I’m certain there’s been other articles on this subject linked to in the forum but I can’t find them.



Oh, god, I just read that, and yes! Totally! If I was rich, I’d start a women’s health research institute because this crap makes me furious.



This is pretty cool,

Bristol firm plans to give women time off for periods



I saw that on my facebook feed and didn’t dare look at the comments.



I don’t blame you!

I found this article interesting. It’s about a new app that is designed (by women) to help track periods:

The app gives women a better and broader picture of their health by tracking important symptoms like cramps, sex drive, mood swings and headaches, rather than abstractly focusing simply on flow.

The article also notes that most women still use euphemisms to talk about their period. The best is definitely the French one,

“Les Anglais ont debarqué,” which means “the English have landed” – an ode to the bloody battles of yore.



I use Clue and it’s great! Turned off all the getting pregnant stuff, though - it’s nice that you have the option to do so, actually.

As for euphemisms, in this house, Mr Blobby visits once a month… well, once every 26 days, the bastard.



Oh gosh, the French one is great.

I have a period tracker that is annoyingly cute (don’t think I could get clue), and has flowers and shit emoji faces so I can add my ‘emotions’ to the calendar. Unfortunately, there’s no option for “rip your balls off pissed”.

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I thought this was an interesting article about the current trend to fetishise periods:

Period positivity and pride could undermine treating women’s bodies as the norm

As with pregnancy and the menopause, we’re dealing with something that is not an illness as such, but which can still put some women out of action for quite some time. This brings us face to face with the fact that having a female body, with all of its variations, is still not seen as the norm. We feel we must either confess to female “weakness” or deny difference, not just with men, but between women, altogether.

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Oh, I almost forgot about this article: Period Piece Reminds Us That Menstruation Has Always Been a Thing

I will admit I haven’t watched the videos yet but it sounds like an interesting idea.

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Hah! That period positivity piece was hilarious. Also, spot on. (Pun intended.)

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Not about women in STEM. but women in Nepal.

Nepal’s bleeding shame: menstruating women banished to cattle sheds

It’s a horrifying story that combines culture, religion and sexism into a nice little package that leads women to literally being forced into the cowshed for a week each month.



Why Has It Taken the Menstrual Cup So Long to Go Mainstream?
A fascinating history of sanitary products and the menstrual cup in particular.



A couple of things that really make me think that we’re entering a new phase with regards to ‘that time of the month’.

First, Tampons Could Soon Be Free For All Women in Sydney. This follows on from a scheme that New York has just put in place. Both cities are recognising that sanitary products are a necessity, not a luxury, and for poor and homeless women they can be unaffordable.

The next is an advert. I must admit I have mixed feelings about the recent spate of ‘feminist’ adverts that use some form of ‘empowerment’ to sell their products. They seem to be more about creating viral ads than really helping women. But I have to admit I really like this one, which is probably the first sanitary product ad to actually show blood. When I first heard about it I thought maybe they’d replaced that blue liquid they used to use to show how absorbent pads were with red but it’s actually much better than that:
Finally, a sanitary pad advert done right!



Meanwhile, in New Zealand, girls are skipping school because they can’t afford sanitary products. That such a thing should be happening in a wealthy country like New Zealand is appalling.



Menstrual cup: I’m not squicky, really, but just no.

Free tampons: At bloody last! (Hah, see what i did there!)

Ad: Two minds about this ad. On the one hand, yay, no blue water, but on the other hand, it sort of reinforces the idea that you’re supposed to be up and about and riding horses whilst on your period which, frankly, is not going to happen for me and probably a lot of other women. Curled up around a hot water bottle might be a more accurate description. I kinda get that it’s all empowerment, and yay, don’t let your period get in the way, but for once I’d like to see an ad that recognised that many women’s experience of their period is far from empowered, and mostly involves chocolate, hot water bottles, painkillers and trying to remember that you’re not actually dying.

I would really appreciate an ad that tried to more accurately convey that what a woman often wants is just to know that they aren’t going to wake up in a big red patch in the morning, or that they can focus on the chocolate and hot water bottle and forget about whether or not they’re going to ruin another pair of knickers. I’d also like an ad that conveyed to men that period pain is a real thing, not something we make up. Maybe using those electrodes to induce period-like pain in men, like they did with the giving birth video:

That would be an ad I could get behind!

NZ: Dear fucking god. In this day and age?! That’s appalling.

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That’s a good point about periods being disabling for some. It’s been so long since I’ve had one I often forget, but when I did get them the pain was incredible. One time - the time that sent me to the doctors and got me on the pill - I had awful period pains half way between my period which was really just not on.



This is a good piece that debunks the myth,
Do women’s periods really synchronise when they live together?
It’s a great example of Betteridge’s law of headlines.



I’d always heard this, and this never happened to me. The comments are interesting though, a lot of people don’t believe the study.



Illinois Is Nixing Its Tampon Tax

It’s a shame these things have to be so incremental - a city here, a State there, but slowly it seems that legislators around the world are starting to realise that periods are not a luxury that should be taxed but an expensive fact of life for many women.