Happy Period

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    Kotex has finally decided that menstrual blood now runs red, not blue. 

    Thanks to a new ad campaign released this month by the Kimberly Clark Corp.’s feminine hygiene brand, Kotex, it appears as if the commercial industry is finally taking steps to destigmatize “that” time of the month. 

    “Blood is blood,” said Sarah Paulsen, creative and design director for North American feminine-care brands at Kimberly-Clark. “This is something that every woman has experienced, and there is nothing to hide.” 

    But, the idea that a woman’s period is “nothing to hide” is somewhat of a new one. 

    Since the beginning of feminine hygiene ads, the 1920s, period products were branded as “discreet” or represented as blue, not red. 

    Period shame is exists in many cultures outside of the U.S. Though banned in 2005, a Nepali practice called “chhaupadi” forces menstruating teens/adults outside of their homes into menstruating huts.Menstruating women are seen as “unclean” and for this “are banned from touching people and certain foods as well as entering temples, using communal water sources or kitchen utensils.” Countless people have died from this practice.

    Though women are no longer banished because of their periods today, they are shamed. According to a 2018 poll commissioned by THINX, periods are still something society treats as taboo. 

    Polling 1,500 women and 500 men across the United States, the study revealed that there’s still a lot of shame surrounding this aspect of female health. According to this study 43 percent of women experience period-shaming. One-in-five state that they have experienced this kind of shaming due to the comments of a male friend. The study doesn’t stop there, though. It goes on to reveal that 12 percent of women have also received period-shaming due to the comments of a family member and one-in-ten said they have experienced this type of shame because of comments made by a classmate. 

    This study revealed that period shaming is even worse at work with 51 percent of the men polled stating that they believe period-talk at work is inappropriate.  

    “Period-shame is something a lot of women feel, starting with their very first cycle, which can occur as young as eight years old,” A THINX spokeswoman said. “Those feelings of embarrassment and self-hate are then reinforced by society, which tells women that their bodies should be clean and tidy, and if they aren’t, well that’s not something to be openly and honestly discussed. By anyone.”

    This period-shaming doesn’t end with the initial comment, however. The THINX study showed that due to period-shaming 58 percent of women have felt embarrassment when on their period, 73 percent have hidden menstrual hygiene products up their sleeves or in their pockets before using them, and 29 percent have cancelled plans because of their period. 

    Period-shaming does have a negative effect on women, the study reveals. That’s why Kotex’s ad campaign that accurately depicts menstruation blood is not just a step, but a leap forward in destigmatizing periods. 

    Other companies in the past have tried to do what Kotex is doing now—depict menstrual blood as the color it is, red—like Libra, an Australian feminine care company, or Cora, a U.S. startup, but the ads were not well received. 

    In 2019, Libra released ads depicting realistic-looking blood on both women and period pads. Though the ad did not breach industry standards, it prompted hundreds of viewer complaints, bringing the ad to the attention of the country’s regulators. 

    In 2018, Cora’s ads—ads that used red liquid to represent period blood, like Kotex now—were initially removed from social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. They were flagged as overly graphic removed. But, Cora Co-Founder Molly Hayward fought for her ads. Facebook and Instagram eventually restored them to their platforms. 

    “There is a greater appetite and readiness for honesty around this,” Hayward said, the Wall Street Journalreported. 

    Hopefully, Hayward is right and Kotex’s new ad campaign will be better received than its predecessors and make a positive impact on normalizing periods because “that” time of the month comes for all women and that’s not something to be ashamed about. 

     

    Top Photo still courtesy Kotex/Instagram

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    Bad ass Brooklyn band, A Deer A Horse, has teamed up with #HappyPeriod for a benefit concert this Thursday, May 24th, at Brooklyn Bazaar. The concert's mission is to end the stigma around menstruation and to raise funds to benefit #HappyPeriod. #HappyPeriod's goal is to ensure that no one who menstruates has to go without menstrual products. The organization works with different outlets to collect, assemble and distribute menstrual products for people who otherwise cannot afford them. 100% of the proceeds go to Happy Period.

    32266992 1569235056535720 5949354828307103744 o 1795ephoto by Angela Betancourt

    We spoke with Angela Phillips of A Deer A Horse about putting together the showcase.

    What inspired you to put this showcase together? What is the mission? 

    In my previous job as a park ranger, I did a lot of work with homeless outreach in New York. It was during this time that I became aware of #HappyPeriod and I was very impressed with the work they do. So when Jake Backer from El Silver Cabs and Casey Hartnett from #HappyPeriod reached out to me about assisting in putting a benefit show together, I was thrilled to help. We hope that by doing this, we can raise money and awareness for this charity, and more importantly increase visibility around menstrual health for everyone, especially those in need.

    How do you think we can move forward as a society to end the stigma around periods and make menstrual products a right rather than a privilege on a larger scale?

    I think the first step is talking openly and without shame about the very natural, human process of menstruation. Those of us who menstruate are often taught to be embarrassed and secretive about our periods. This decreased visibility, among other things, leads to the attitude of seeing menstrual supplies as a luxury item, rather than a necessary tool of existence for people with periods. The cost of these supplies are often high, which leads folks who are experiencing homelessness or are in a low-income situation to often forgo their own menstrual health. This needs to change, and organizations like #HappyPeriod are at the forefront of transforming attitudes around menstrual health.

    The importance of what you're doing with your platform is grand. What would you say to urge other musicians, and artists with platforms, to begin using their voices to make a change as well?

     In all honesty, I think there is already a tremendous amount of support and will in the artistic community to use our voices to lift up good causes like this one. Everyone that I spoke with while booking this show gave resounding support for the cause, even if they were personally unable to participate. I found this very inspiring. If any musicians, artists, or publications are out there that feel passionate about a cause or have a favorite charity, I would encourage you all to reach out directly and see if there’s anything you can do for them! Through these kinds of collaborations, we can make a change.

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    The night of music will feature A Deer A Horse, Parlor Walls, Essi and DJ Weeping Python (Lani Combier-Kampel of Weeping Icon). Attendees will have the chance to win various raffle prizes from some amazing companies including:

    Awoke Vintage
    Beacon's Closet
    BUST Magazine
    Calexico NYC
    El Born NYC
    Fun Factory USA
    Greenpoint Tattoo Company
    KennaLand
    No. 7 Restaurant
    THINX
    Three Kings Tattoo
    Tom Tom Magazine
    Toni the Tampon

     Take a listen to the bands here:

    A Deer A Horse

    Parlor Walls 

    Essi

    DJ Weeping Python - Lani Combier-Kapel (Weeping Icon)

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