**The images in this post may not be used without permission**
That’s right. We’re here to end period shame.
For the past two years our group, Young Women Rising CT, has been running a local program called Project Period. Through this project we’ve created awareness about the specific needs of homeless people with periods and have donated over 10,000 boxes of pads and tampons (and a few menstrual cups) to homeless shelters all over our state. Naturally, running a project like this means we talk about periods and period stigmas — all.the.time.
During one of our discussions we decided we wanted to do something to tackle period shame more broadly, in a public way. So we asked people (via a survey) to share with us their most memorable experience of period shame and quickly received over 50 responses.
What did we learn from our survey? That period shame is surprisingly complex. Shame, embarrassment and even fear of our periods are influenced by so many different things including (but certainly not limited to) society, the media, big business marketing, our peers, our cultural backgrounds, our religious backgrounds, our disability status, our gender identities, and quite often from our early experiences with our periods.
How do we combat such a complex and complicated issue? Well, we believe that to end period shame we first have to TALK ABOUT IT. Shame thrives on silence. And ya’ll, we are not here for that. Not ever.
So below you’ll find some of us holding our truths, telling the internet about our deeply personal experiences, in hopes that you’ll be inspired to have a conversation with someone in your life about periods. Let’s dismantle the taboo that periods are something we need to hide, one conversation at a time.
We’re just a small group of people, standing in front of the internet, asking you to get down with our message. There is nothing – NOTHING – shameful about periods.
Make sure to read all the way to the end of this post for details about how YOU can get involved in this campaign via a special upcoming social media day of action. Let’s get talking and work to #endshame.
We invite you to join us on August 2nd for a social media day of action to end period shame! Take a selfie while holding your own statement sign about an experience with period shame or, on the flip side, a positive period experience, and share it on your social media accounts. Let’s reduce the stigmas surrounding periods by being open and honest about our own experiences. Make sure to hashtag your posts with #endshame and tag us on Facebook: @youngwomenrisingct, Twitter: @ywwrising and Instagram: @endperiodshame.
A special thank you to Arvia Walker of Zora: Coming of the Sun for taking these photos and to the folks at The Dirt Salon for letting us use their beautiful building as the backdrop for our photo shoot.
This piece was written by Michelle Noehren, Young Women Rising Co-Chair
The photos above may not be used without permission. Please contact us at Michelle.Noehren@cga.ct.gov for usage rights, interviews and/or press questions.