About Bloody Time – the Menstrual revolution we have to have

We are sure you share the Victorian Women’s Trust’s passion and commitment to women’s equality and the full participation of women in business and government.  A key barrier to full equality is the stigma around the menstrual cycle in our society.  The Women’s Trust has produced a book that will start the conversation to end this barrier.  We hope you will purchase the book, recommend it to your colleagues and champion the issue within your organisation and your networks. 

“Shame is a powerful thing.  It has the power to disconnect us from our self-worth and interfere with our ability to trust others.  Menstrual shame is particularly destructive because it tells you that there is something wrong with your actual self, the body you live in and carry everywhere, and that you have forever.”   

Karen Pickering, Co-Author, About Bloody Time.

Even today, most girls and women consider their periods something to be hidden and a source of shame and disgust.  They see this aspect of their normal human biology as contributing to their ambivalence about and distrust of their bodies.  Most have experienced embarrassment, bullying or shaming around their monthly cycles.  Very possibly the women and girls you care about might have experienced the negative impacts of our society’s values about periods.  You will have seen evidence of the stigma when girls and women talk about low self-esteem, self-harm and poor life choices and the loss of productivity that can be associated with period issues.  

Period stigma is likely to be impacting girls and women significantly, but without much acknowledgement, when it comes to participation in education, sport and work, because the taboo is so invisible, pervasive and insidious.  This secrecy generally lasts through menopause, which often occurs when a woman is at the peak of her career.  Working in usually male dominated environments, even at the time when women should be most confident, they often suffer in silence.

The Victorian Women’s Trust believes this cultural taboo is preventing women from reaching full equality in all aspects of our community, and particularly in business, education and sport.  The Trust funded the research and production of a ground-breaking book called About Bloody Time, the Menstrual Revolution we have to have, to start the conversation about eliminating this outdated and harmful taboo and get better education about women’s bodies into the community.  

“We have to remember that the taboo – like patriarchy – is a system, and all people live under it and within it.  The menstrual taboo is a set of cultural attitudes that interlock and underpin our relationships, our gender identities, our lives. It works on all of us, and all of us can resist it.”  

Karen Pickering, Co-author, About Bloody Time.

This short video explains the background to the project:  

About Bloody Time is based on extensive research and the lived experience of over 3,500 girls and women.  The Victorian Women’s Trust conducted an online survey of girls and women aged from 12 to 80.  The survey covered the whole experience of menstruation, from menarche to menopause and included the opportunity for participants to add their opinions and voices, as well as answering specific questions.  Then there were more than 20 discussion groups held across Victoria to deepen understanding of lived experience.  

The research findings were surprising in their similarity and distressing in their negativity.

The book was written by two eminently-qualified women:  Jane Bennett, an internationally recognized menstrual educator and Karen Pickering, a feminist author and activist.  It is engaging and easy to read, informative, and visually attractive. It takes the reader through the biology in a way that celebrates the functioning of the female body and explains the cultural taboo and its insidious and damaging nature.  About Bloody Time gives readers the language and ideas to participate in opening up debate on the issue.  Finally, there are some simple, practical suggestions individuals and organisations can take to start to address the taboo. 

“A resource like About Bloody Time  is long overdue. It is our hope that it becomes a staple of schools, libraries and households all over the country so that girls and women are no longer confused or ashamed by the incredible things that their bodies can do.”Jane Bennett, Co-author of About Bloody Time.

Victorian Women’s Trust hope you will purchase About Bloody Time  to see what a difference a new societal attitude can make in the lives of girls, women, boys and men that you know and those who are members of your organisation, and the organisations you represent, network with and partner.  It may be that menstrual health and wellbeing is a strategic issue that can be incorporated into your work and advocacy.  You may wish to consider inviting one of the authors to speak at one of your events.

As a leading women’s organisation, you may like to purchase bulk copies of About Bloody Time  to give out at conferences or events as part of your promotional materials.  I hope you will consider incorporating the issue into your programs and events.  Certainly, your participation, and that of your organisation, in working to reduce the stigma would be of inestimable value to Australian girls and women now and in the future.  

You can find out more and purchase the book at https://www.vwt.org.au/projects/about-bloody-time/.  Or please feel free to contact me on 0411 486 837 to talk about purchasing multiple copies at a wholesale rate.  In addition to offering copies at your events, it’s a great Christmas present for your colleagues or family and friends.