Period Fair was a hell of a good time – The Observer
I hid something. Other than my roommate and my mom, no one has ever seen me hold a pillow while going to the bathroom. And it’s not just me – recently I saw someone silence their friend for panicking about their first period, quietly pointing to a group of men nearby who might have heard. Whether we say “Aunt Flo”, “female flu” or “shark week” period is culturally referred to as a taboo subject, one that should never be talked about openly in public. I actively hid something completely natural on my body like it’s a hideous secret, and frankly, it’s exhausting.
And I’m not the only one feeling this. Many transgender women and men across the country are affected by the stigma of periods when discussing menstruation, if we speak of it. Almost half of American women have had a shameful period. Beyond the internalized shame, all the silence around the rules gives the impression that the rules are “big” and “impure”.
In addition, the less we want to talk about periods, the less likely actions against menstrual poverty become. Many periods face barriers in accessing expensive menstrual products. In some countries, children are often forced to miss precious education time due to both humiliation and the lack of menstrual fittings in school toilets.
Fortunately, global humanitarian and nonprofit organizations are doing their best to deal with the rules crisis. In particular, Case Western Reserve University’s period at the CWRU is one of many chapters on college campuses that advocate for the destigmatization of menstruation and the elimination of menstrual poverty around the world, with fundraising, fundraisers and guest speakers. And on Saturday October 2, they held the Period Fair.
If you had walked past Claud Foster Park next to Thwing that Saturday, you would have seen pink balloons, picnic tables with red tablecloths scattered around, and volunteers in pink and red, leading lively activities. Upon arrival, the first twenty people who brought a donation packet of napkins received a cute crimson bag filled with gourmet popcorn. The students stretched out on picnic blankets and listened to speakers on reproductive health and abortion rights.
As soon as I introduced myself, I immediately saw the crafting table towards the entrance. There, participants forged works of art from vintage liners, creating pretty painting patterns. I stopped at stalls run by intersectional advocacy groups – some were grassroots organizations petitioning for policies protecting abortion rights, others promoting awareness of safe sex in the world. within the Cleveland community. Another stand offered cake pops and chocolate coated pretzels, which I gladly used. But my favorite was the dart throwing activity I volunteered to do, where you could take a second to throw darts at red balloons filled with pink paint. The result was a beautiful display in plywood sprayed with “the art of darts.”
Beyond the events and activities scheduled for the show, I was especially delighted by the warm atmosphere. All the volunteers were united, the speakers were accessible and visitors of all kinds were receptive. One of the speakers brought their hyper-energetic dog, Buster, who strolled through the park to greet each participant sitting on the grass, lightening the mood during a serious speech about AIDS discrimination. Even the spectators who were just passing by seemed genuinely interested in the cause, quickly overcoming their discomfort (if they originally displayed any). While most of us shy away from menstrual conversations, fearing the discomfort, it felt more natural and welcome than my experiences in countless previous uncomfortable situations.
And maybe that’s how it should be. The period fair was a hopeful glimpse of what an ideal societal view of menstruation should be. One day, menstruation conversation without fear of humiliation or embarrassment may be possible, and menstrual education may dispel the myths that perpetuate these fears. The period fair gives hope for this kind of future and gave me the confidence to avoid blushing profusely and nervously tucking the pads into my sleeve – something I wish every other period would do with it. confidence in the future.