Periods Gone Public: Taking A Stand For Menstrual Equity by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf – BOOK REVIEW
“The first book to explore menstruation in the current cultural and political landscape and to investigate the new wave of period activism taking the world by storm.
After centuries of being shrouded in taboo and superstition, periods have gone mainstream. Seemingly overnight, a new, high-profile movement has emerged—one dedicated to bold activism, creative product innovation, and smart policy advocacy—to address the centrality of menstruation in relation to core issues of gender equality and equity.
In Periods Gone Public, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf—the woman Bustle dubbed one of the nation’s “badass menstrual activists”—explores why periods have become a prominent political cause. From eliminating the tampon tax, to enacting new laws ensuring access to affordable, safe products, menstruation is no longer something to whisper about. Weiss-Wolf shares her firsthand account in the fight for “period equity” and introduces readers to the leaders, pioneers, and everyday people who are making change happen. From societal attitudes of periods throughout history—in the United States and around the world—to grassroots activism and product innovation, Weiss-Wolf challenges readers to face stigma head-on and elevate an agenda that recognizes both the power—and the absolute normalcy—of menstruation.”
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
As a feminist and someone who frequently engages in activism, through both protests and online, I was definitely aware of the rise in political interest in periods and menstruation over the last year or so. From Kiran Ghandi’s marathon run without a tampon (Click here to read a full article), to tampon tax protests (Click here to read a full article), 2015 onwards definitely marked a new era in which periods were no longer marked with the same level of taboo as previously.
Yet even with an above-average level of knowledge and a personal interest in similar sort of projects, I thought Periods Gone Public: Taking A Stand For Menstrual Equity, was a fantastic read which offered a broad, yet in-depth pool of knowledge of where the world currently stands with everything period-related. I found it particularly interesting to learn about the history of menstruation and how attitudes and products have changed over the last 100 or so years and why this has come about.
What I never considered before reading this book is the severe effects that menstruation-linked policies can have on those who are marginalised within communities such as those who are homeless or in prison. The lack of opportunity in accessing menstruation products can have a huge impact on these members of society and can cause further embarrassment and exclusion – simply because of something so natural. Jennifer Weiss-Wolf clearly expresses her concern over the effect this is having and urges for more action to be taken to combat this effect. Although the majority of the change needs to be achieved through policy reform, I didn’t realise how the general population can help too and I will be exploring ways that I can help locally through donations and lobbying – look out for future blog posts on this!
Many other topics were covered in this book, including various menstruation products that have been created over the world for specific contexts, other smaller activist movements and inclusion of trans, non-binary and other LGBTQ+ identities that don’t identify as women but still have a period. There are also numerous pictures and links to other websites to find out more information, which provides a simple way to further research any aspects or topics discussed.
This easy-to-read book is a fascinating, yet a fundamental book to fully grasp where we, as a global population, have come in terms of understanding and highlighting the importance of addressing menstruation. Although we have certainly come a long way, it is clear that we still have a lot more to do and achieve and this book addresses these issues. Whether you have no knowledge about this relatively new movement or have a keen interest, I can guarantee this will be an insightful book! I highly recommend!