Let’s face it, if you’re about to get your monthly flow, have your period, or you used to have it, your menstrual flow plays an important role in your life and overall health. Here are some exciting period highlights in 2015:
1. Detox the Box Influencing More Disclosures
Proctor & Gamble and Kimberly Clark started to disclose additional ingredients about their pads and tampons that includes synthetic materials and information about their tampon applicators in October. Many thanks to the efforts of Women’s Voices for the Earth who created the Detox the Box petition with 35,000 signatures and held a protest in front of Proctor & Gamble’s headquarters on October 13,2015.
Special thanks to Representative Carolyn Maloney for re-introducing the Robin Danielson Act to Congress in March. This bill will require feminine hygiene companies to disclose their ingredients and study the health impact of these products. If you’re not familiar with the risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome or other reproductive health issues due to possible toxins in these products, read my Huffington Post article on the Robin Danielson Act.
2. Period Products in the US Might Cost More in Taxes than Candy
The taxes you pay for your pads and tampons in the US is based on what state you live in. Only five out of forty five states exempt sales tax on feminine hygiene products. In July, Canada announced it would stop taxing sanitary products because it was discriminatory. Women in the US are increasingly questioning why they need to pay taxes on a normal bodily function when more states tax tampons than candy. Cosmopolitan shares thought provoking and illuminating information on taxes in this article.
3. Guys Got More Involved in the Conversation in a Fun Way
The more guys and gals talk about periods, the more it can help bust existing taboos. The fellas definitely got involved with the topic in 2015 in creative ways. Worth checking out – Buzzfeed’s Men Explain Periods and Key & Peele’s Menstrual Orientation. Also learn about a brave fellow, Harry Finley, who ran the Museum of Menstruation for over twenty years. The Atlantic’s recent article, There Will be Blood: Is There a Right Way to Talk About Periods, shares Finley’s interest in shifting taboos and the resistance he encountered from women and men over the years.
4. The Period Approached Celebrity Status
Earlier in the year, Kiran Gandhi made big news running the London Marathon without a tampon and allowed her legs and flow to run free.
Donald Trump caused a menstrual stir and a lot of loud opinions when he mentioned Megan Kelly’s “blood coming out of whatever” at the first Republican debate.
Actresses Sophia Bush, Jackie Tohn and Joy Bryant talk about menstruation in a mini-documentary by Thinx, a period-proof underwear company.
Perhaps the most impactful comments were from the first lady. Michelle Obama’s speech in Qatar, and article in the Atlantic, touched on the importance of menstruation. She shared, “Scholarships, bathrooms and safe transportation will only go so far if societies still view menstruation as shameful and shun menstruating girls…”
There’s a lot more menstrual taboo busting that needs to happen, but it’s encouraging to see the progress in 2015. Can’t wait for what’s in store in 2016.