~It is environmental activism, because to say NO to mainstream menstrual products is saying NO to polluting the landfills, our oceans and water sources, water and sewer treatment plants, and the atmosphere (when these products are incinerated) with the estimated 20 BILLION (yes, you read that correctly) of these so-called "disposables" that are added to our environmental waste every year.
-It is economic activism, because in 2014, women spent over $3 billion dollars buying these mainstream products- money that went directly to corporations that do not have our health in their best interests- only profit. Menstrual activism encourages not only the use of menstrual products that are organic, reusable, and sustainable, but also supports the network of awesome small businesses (most of them women-owned businesses) that provide these alternatives to women. Because these are also reusable alternatives,
women spend less on these products, which saves a considerable amount both in the pocket and in the waste disposed- especially over a menstruating lifetime.
~It is health activism, because to say NO to those corporate produced menstrual products means saying NO to products that are not properly regulated by any health or safety agency, using chemicals associated with their manufacture that have been proven to be harmful and toxic to the body. It is understanding that the rise in gynecological issues over the last 50 years correlates with the rise in use of these products and making the connection there. Because it is a very powerful, radical act to take control of our health choices and our body autonomy, especially as a population that constantly has to battle for even the most basic rights to do so. Which is part of the next activist aspect-
~It is civil rights/women's rights activism, because to say NO to the societal message that menstruation is something to be repressed, supressed, vilified and deemed shameful or disgusting is to say NO to society's message that the female body is also something to be repressed, suppressed, vilified, and deemed shameful or a commodity, and connects this mindset to how we as women view and experience our female bodies and our female cycles. It is realising that how we experience our body is tied in to how we experience our cycle, and the impact of that experience on how we express ourselves. It is recognizing that menstrual shaming and degredation is an insidious attack of the female body and psyche.
~It is social activism, because when we can come to a new consciousness of menstruation, an interconnected consciousness, it creates a healing that radiates out into the world in myriad ways. Menstrual activism demands a discussion on the systematic oppression of females, and through education, changes the way in which our society and world thinks about menstruation. It fosters understanding and support and empowerment, not just in our female circles, but in our human circles, however defined. It is a deeply liberating and healing process for both women and men. To imagine a world in which both our daughters and our sons are taught that menstruation is a natural process of the female body-
and an inherent part of the source of all life, the process that creates life,
then it is truly a step to creating a nourishing, healing world that honors life,
instead of a world that glorifies the destructive opposite.
artwork by Clio