From curdling milk to shark bites and rotten pickles, menstruating women are a menace to society — if you believe the myths.
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In Tanga, as in much of East Africa, there is a strict culture of silence surrounding menstruation. It is not spoken about. For girls with disabilities, the taboo compounds their issues, because they are not always capable of understanding exactly what menstruation is, or able to manage it independently.
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I was contacted by a journalist at CBC about Mensez Feminine lipstick I thought the product was a (bad) joke. This guy wants women to glue their labia shut so they can let out their blood when they pee out their urine.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is like PMS on steroids; it's not just a bad mood or feeling over-emotional for a few hours. It's an ongoing pattern of severe premenstrual symptoms (both physical and psychological) that interfere with your daily life and relationships.
A new how-to manual for aid workers lays out the issues and practical steps that all must take to ensure women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, including menstrual health that is a precursor to preventing and mitigating gender based violence. Included in these guidelines is a specific requirement to ensure dignified access to hygiene-related materials.
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Because nobody bleeds blue liquid.
Menstruation is one of the leading causes of absenteeism among adolescent girls, with girls in Kenya missing an average of four days each month. Without access to accurate and essential health information, girls have limited understanding of how their bodies work. Femme International's study in Nairobi showed that 80 per cent of girls had no idea what menstruation was before their first period, leading to feelings of fear, confusion, and shame. A new smartphone game aims to change that.
There is one critical issue that has been omitted from the SDGs -- the issue of addressing menstrual health and hygiene. Menstruation affects half of the global population. It is a topic that all women and girls are intimately familiar with and yet it is so rarely talked about on the global stage.
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Many first grade children will finish the school year with no dictionary words for their genitals; and some fourth grade girls will start bleeding from a place in their body for which they either have no name, a family name or, if they are lucky, a dictionary word.
In Western culture, the dominating monotheistic religions have been a strong influence in alienating women from their own bodies by enforcing the belief that menstruating women are unclean and spiritually inferior. Judaism, Christianity and Islam view menstruation as a punishment from God.
A tampon ring could be the perfect gift from Aunt Flo.
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Millions of girls around the world will miss school each month because of their periods. Because they don't have sanitary supplies, because they don't understand what is happening to them, or because they are taught that it means they are unclean and dirty. It doesn't have to be this way.
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Because there's no such thing as a bad question.
Menstruation is part of who I am. At a few days away from being 30, I've been menstruating for over half my life. And I'm used to it. I accept the cramps, the bloating, and the high cost of feminine hygiene products. I'm confident I can handle my period on planes, in meetings, and even on beach vacations. I am a seasoned menstruator who always has spare pads in her handbag, in case you ever need to borrow any. And yet, I am freaking terrified of getting my period on my wedding day.
To unleash the power of the adolescent girls is to create a world where girls are able to take advantage of any and every opportunity to come her way. It means to create a world where she not only has access to education, but also the freedom to attend school. Where she has reliable sources of nutrition-rich food and clean water, and doesn't have to risk sexual assault to collect it.
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"If this was a picture of blood from a finger laceration, there'd be no issue."
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We all grew up absorbing messages through jokes, comments and "feminine hygiene" ads that suggest women's vulvas (the outer genitals) and vaginas (the inner parts) are dirty, smelly, ugly and taste bad -- usually with a reference to salty fish. It is high time that we debunk some of those myths to help us all -- those of us of all genders -- to better understand and celebrate the healthy truth about our intimate body parts!
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At the clinic I rarely met women, young or old, who understand their fertility and what happens during the menstrual cycle. They all know about the blood, although not always why they bleed. But few know anything about what happens between periods. No one has told them. Why have we kept this information from young women? Why do we tell them they can get pregnant any time of the month? If it's to encourage young people to use protection when they have sex, it doesn't seem to work.
Menstruation is a natural occurrence in every woman's life, and yet, it is shrouded in some type of feminine mystery. Women will spend about 3,000 days of her life menstruating, and yet almost none talking about it. Girls are often taught from a young age that their cycle is their secret, not something to be openly discussed.
Talking about sexual and reproductive health with students is always a little bit awkward, even in the best of situations! Having these discussions within a culture that often considers anything related to reproductive health to be taboo can be particularly challenging -- and incredibly important. In rural Tanzania, such topics are rarely discussed. The national curriculum includes the topics of menstruation and reproductive health, but these topics are frequently rushed through, or skipped altogether, by uncomfortable teachers in underfunded, overcrowded schools.
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When Instagram repeatedly removes the photo of a sleeping girl with a period stain on her pajamas, this becomes more than a class project. We are content seeing sexualized bodies, but the moment we gaze upon something that does not serve our sexual egos we are offended. Highlighting the fact that the vagina is used for something other than sex is a direct attack on our idyllic conceptions of a manicured feminine identity. We are not outraged by blood. We see blood all the time. Blood is pervasive in movies, television, and video games. Yet, we are outraged by the fact that one openly discusses bleeding from an area that we try to claim ownership over.
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There's nothing like the strong bond that's created when two women find out their periods are almost synchronized, or when they officially become period sisters, to be exact. But according to the vid...
The reproductive cycle is a complex little factory that operates underneath layers of skin, muscles and organs for roughly 28 days. Now while this silent operation may feel like nothing (unless of cou...
In Kenya, the average cost of a package of sanitary pads is 75KSH -- approximately $1 CAD. While this may seem like a minimal amount of money, the average daily income for unskilled labourers is around $1.50 CAD. Providing access to healthy and sustainable menstrual management materials allows women to stay safe, and healthy, and does not sacrifice her ability to participate in work, school or daily activities.
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On October 11, 2014, the world will celebrate International Day of the Girl Child. Adolescent girls are among the world's most vulnerable populations, and face a slew of unique and very real challenges. The international community needs to recognize that an empowered woman is the most effective catalyst for sustainable change, and it starts when they are teenagers. Protecting young women from violence increases their odds of completing school, and pursuing a successful and meaningful career!
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It won't surprise you to hear that women are among the world's most vulnerable populations. But it might surprise you to learn that one of the most difficult parts about being a woman is also one of the most natural: menstruation. A girl's transition into womanhood is often marked by the beginning of her menstrual cycle, an occasion that is celebrated in many cultures as an important rite of passage. But in many parts of East Africa, it marks the beginning of a lifetime of discomfort, embarrassing health problems, and even harassment. It marks the beginning of schoolyard bullying, missed days of school, and the start of a lifetime viewed as a sexual object.
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It's that time of the month again. You know, when your period odour attracts the likes of sharks, and when you have sleep on your side every few hours to avoid bloody leaks. Period myths like these ha...
It's the word that no woman likes to say out loud, but we're broadcasting it loud and clear: It's called your period. That said, the term is still considered 'icky', and society (and a lot of us, for...