Menstrual Hygiene Day is the perfect day to post about my upcoming event, Bloody Disgrace. It is a day that raises awareness of the struggles many women and girls face all over the world due to menstruation and it fights for the right of everyone to be able to manage their periods hygienically, safely and with dignity.
I have previously posted about the challenges that many women and girls face in Britain due to poor access to menstrual products and I barely scratched the surface. It is a global problem. Education, access, culture, tradition, social norms; all of these prevent women and girls managing their periods with dignity and can prevent them attending school which results in them losing out on work opportunities. In January this year, a menstruating Nepalese woman died after being forced to sleep in a hut in freezing conditions. She wasn’t the first to die like this and I’m sure she won’t be the last.
It is because of cultural norms and practices such as these that I strongly believe that boys and men need to be included in this conversation about menstrual health if we are to ensure the safety and dignity of all women and girls. Think about how many times you’ve hidden a tampon up your sleeve as you’ve sheepishly made your way to the toilet at work. Whose benefit is that for? Whose blushes are we trying to spare? How many times have you referred to it as ‘that time of the month’ or being ‘on’ instead of having your period or menstruating? And why do sanitary towel companies think we bleed blue? Trust me, if it were men who had periods, they’d be bragging loudly about it on the phone to their mates while man-spreading on the train.
So, for all of these reasons and many, many more, I am hosting an event to raise awareness, funds and products for the brilliant Bloody Good Period who “aims to create a sustainable flow of sanitary protection for those who can’t afford to buy them.” Founded by Gabby Edlin, they provide asylum seekers, refugees and many others with sanitary products by distributing donations to drop-in centres and food banks. Asylum seekers are granted just £37 per week and this needs to cover the additional costs of menstruation. Bloody Good Period also work to provide long term menstrual education to those less likely to access it due to socioeconomic factors as well as the language barriers that many asylum seekers and refugees face. I have set up a collection box in the staff room at work and the response has been nothing but positive and it is already filling up after only a few days!
If you’re interested in finding out more, check out my blog post on period poverty.
Bloody Disgrace is going to be a night of inclusive, feminist fun. It will take place on Saturday 18th August at The Railway Hotel, Southend, Essex. With all-female sets from DJs Mark Wilkins, Lucy Bantam and Paul Woodward, there will be dancing to everything from Bikini Kill to Beyonce, The Slits to The Sugababes (This is not a female-only event- men need to know about periods too!) While you’re dancing, you can learn about good menstrual health and what you can do to help. There will also be the chance to win merchandise from badass female-owned brands such as Black and Beech, Out Loud Studio, Essex Mama and Deep Breaths Collective.
I don’t generally believe in dress codes but on this occasion I’d love to see everyone in their brightest, boldest, blood-red outfit. Entry fee will be £4 plus a packet of sanitary products (preferably pads and pantyliners please). All money and products raised on the night will go straight to Bloody Good Period. There will also be a toiletries collection so if you have any unopened miniatures snagged from hotels rooms or gifts laying around, they would be greatly appreciated too!
If you would like to get involved in any way, whether it’s donating products or prizes, DJing (I would love to hear from female DJs!), promoting, having a stall etc, I’d love to hear from you.