Sometimes in life you meet just the right person, at just the right time.
My work with girls has come out of my good fortune of meeting several just right people, at perfect times… In this article I’d like to introduce you to some of the influences I am proud to include in my work…
My first inspiration was the equally wonderful, Jane Bennett who I trained with in 2012. Jane is, as far as I’m concerned, the Mama of positive menstrual education for girls, her commitment to and passion for making things easier for girls when starting their periods is deeply inspiring, and her generosity in this work is just beautiful.
Another perfectly timed meeting more recently has been with the indomitable Chella Quint. Chella hails from New York and has settled in Sheffield, where she does teaching, design and comedy. We share a love of the North of England, and making clear, evidence based, high quality, effective and engaging menstrual education available – to everyone.
When I met Jane, I was really excited about everything A Celebration Day for Girls could be. I’d been searching for a way to work effectively with girls at that special – and vulnerable – time of their life just as puberty is kicking in. Jane’s program was down to earth, accessible, fun and beautiful. I loved it, and have loved every session I’ve delivered since. What an awesome job – hanging out with girls for a day!
And at the same time, what was always nagging away at me was, how can we get this into schools..? Make it available to everyone?
Timing is everything, and this year has evidently been the year for things to start moving. I came across Chella first from one of my fellow facilitators who is based in Australia. I looked up her #periodpositive campaign and was super excited – here was a woman who was not only delivering awesome lessons in schools that include information on re-usable products and media awareness, but was also championing an approach that included everyone who who does, and doesn’t menstruate. Chella coined the phrase ‘Period Positive’ in 2006 to advocate for honest and inclusive menstruation talk and to challenge shame and the perpetuation of taboos in advertising and its impact on education, and has been recently been developing the #periodpositive award.
This award will officially lend the #periodpositive name and emblem to projects, resources and campaigns that share the same taboo-breaking ethos to let others know that you’re committed to working together to challenge the menstrual discourse www.periodpositive.com
Starting out with the Adventures in Menstruating zine, Chella now delivers a comedy show by the same name at the Edinburgh fringe. And throughout all her work with the menstrual cycle, Chella has kept to her promise to deliver all of it free – just like all the femcare companies – but without trying to sell something at the same time.
“How can menstruation be funny? The same way other stuff is funny. It’s a taboo subject – the shock of it all always gets a giggle rightaway and, immature or not, the gross-out factor can be fun…Menstruation has historically, socially and culturally been cloaked in fear and shame. Deconstructing menstrual stigmas, with brute force when necessary, is empowering” Chella Quint
Thank you Chella, for bringing humour and a very healthy dose of reality into the period conversation.
Lastly, but by no means least, Alexandra Pope and and Jewels Wingfield, are the women who have shaped and influenced my own experience of my menstrual cycle. My cycle has been my biggest teacher, but these women have led me to an understanding of it that I doubt I would have reached on my own. Their work is truly inspiring, and I highly recommend it if you are a menstruator feeling like you’re at war with your body, and wondering where to start.