I had no clue that today, May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day. Did you?
According to the website FAQ’s [www.menstrualhygieneday.com] ‘Menstrual Hygiene Day can be celebrated by everyone, everywhere’. So that’s good to know.
The primary tagline is: ‘It is currently happening all over the world’. I think they mean both the day, and women’s periods but I can’t think too clearly because I’m chanelling my mother who upon being told that anything was ‘happening all over the world’ would likely respond with ‘well I hope they’re not making a mess everywhere’. Which of course is fairly apt in this case.
It is undoubtedly a noble and worthy cause but I am having some trouble getting beyond the name. I love Galaxy Minstrels, one of my favourite chocolates, but I can never ask for them by name. It’s just too close. And hygiene management sounds horribly clinical, something developed by the white coat brigade. Again in this case probably an ill-advised clothing choice
I blame it all on Miss Draper, the head of Maths at Maidstone School for Girls. She must have drawn the short straw in the teacher’s lounge and had to come and talk to us First Years (age 13-14) about becoming women. She had the kind of look (grey hair, lace-up shoes, round glasses) that screams lubricant and she shuffled in uncomfortably and tried to perch on the edge of an empty desk but her tweed below the knee sensible skirt wasn’t going to allow for that. Being a maths teacher she decided to open with the most incredibly awkward ‘joke’: ‘Well girls, I’ve talked to you about mensuration before, but today we’ll be talking about menstruation’. The subtle difference was completely lost on us. I think fared equally well in maths and being a woman.
The 28 day social media campaign leading up to today’s day was called Menstravaganza! I can sort of understand the appeal and perhaps ‘stravaganza works better than Menstrapalooza! or Menstracular! (though I’m not convinced my ideas aren’t better) but to be honest Menstravaganza sounds more like the kind of novelty calendar purchased by women of a certain age (men-o-pausal) at one of those at-home party things where you feel obliged to buy something because your friend is hosting it but you really don’t need any sex accoutrements and so purchasing this calendar of men in semi-compromising positions who would never give you a second look in real life is your ticket out of there, friendship intact.
The secondary tagline is ‘Let’s End the Hesitation Around Menstruation’. It doesn’t really work. It’s a weak rhyme and I have never really had any hesitation around my period, except for that time in my early 20s when it was a couple of weeks late and that was less hesitation and more where the fuck are you?
The main picture is a lot of girls all looking cheerful, except for a couple who are clearly in a right stroppy mood and wondering what the other girls have got to be so goddamn happy about. This is all very lovely for the home page of the website but it doesn’t really sell the message. Surely there is only one icon who can effectively sell the need for menstruation hygiene management: Carrie.
Carrie White that is, not SATC Carrie Bradshaw. ‘And that’s when I started to think … can you even wear a tutu on your heaviest day?’
Carrie White’s experience was a bit like my own to be honest. Haha, just kidding, we didn’t have school dances. Even so that pig’s blood was a bugger to rinse out. No, I mean more in the never-to-be-talked-about part. Periods were never mentioned in our house, not even hesitantly. But I did one day open my chest of drawers to find a pack of Dr White’s (seriously?) sanitary towels. They were about as comfortable as wearing a mattress. And no disguising them at Maidstone School for Girls where you did PE class in ridiculously short maroon skirts with big PE knickers in matching color with your initials embroidered in pale blue. God I hope no-one’s getting off on this.
And I’m not being a complete dick and ignoring the social message about women being banished to huts and ostracized in some countries just for getting their period. I’m just not convinced that the women of Sheffield, England have it that bad.
According to this, they’re taking over a Woolworths to create an Infoshop (nope, no idea what this is). The whole thing reads like something the women’s studies group at a Polytechnic would have put on in the late 1980s. Not sure which part of it is worse, the description of the ‘bloody brilliant’ activities, the donation of supplies to homeless menstruators – which I imagine means WOMEN, but maybe I’m being insensitive – or this:
“be a part of the STAINS™ fashion show, and find out more about what some people consider the last taboo”
What the fuck is the STAINS fashion show? Sounds horribly like a fashion school end of year project or else Tide is their under(pants)writer. But in either case but I don’t think there’s any need to trademark the name.
And I like the little caveat ‘what some people consider the last taboo’. Are these people also called fuckwits? I suppose that this will at least come as a relief to victims and perpetrators of incest, genital mutilation, matricide, and other heinous acts to know that as bad as their situation is, at least they’re not having a conversation about periods.
And then over in Berlin, they’re having a crafting party, titled ‘Girls Party (like it’s 1999)’. Sewing your own period pads doesn’t sound like any party I or Prince have ever attended but I was willing to read on. However the idea of using needles, thread, buttons and velcro to create my own personalized pad was less than appealing. Will it be seen on Pinterest? Is there a crochet version? Can it be bedazzled?
Most disturbingly, the invitation ends with this ominous Germanic prediction:
“We will party like it’s 1999, but with pads.”
This whole thing makes me glad that my best period days are behind me. I’m now approaching the age where my periods are like London buses. I get nothing for weeks and then 3 come along at once. And they’re all going to Victoria Station.