I’m not going to use code words such as “ride the cotton pony” or “Aunt Flo is visiting”. Where there is hiding there is shame, so I am going to be open and normalise this.
Australians have started a menstrual revolution. Yep, this is no longer secret women’s business: No secrets, no shame, no taboos or myths. Let’s get this discussion out in the open… Menstruation is for everyone. All genders. No more hiding. No more stealth ninja missions either to conceal a tampon and hand it to a workmate who has been surprised by a rogue code red.
When we first brought silicone menstrual cups to Australia in 2007, the vast majority of the population had no idea what they were.
We started doing health and wellbeing expos to start educating and raising awareness. Some people were brave enough to ask what cups were about. Once we told them and explained, many looked pained and embarrassed and walked off saying, “No thanks, not for me”.
The idea of a cup, seeing your blood, or re-using something, would shock and repulse a lot of people. It was seen as something vulgar and disgusting. And to talk about it in public and to strangers? What on earth were we thinking?
Although portrayed as fun-loving larrikins, many Australians are traditionally very conservative.
Talking about periods, menstrual hygiene products and ways in which we can manage our cycles is still seen as “secret women’s business”. So secret in fact, that women don’t really talk about it.
It’s a shameful, private burden.