Periods. Some people still find them a bit awkward, don’t they? Mention your ‘monthlies’ to a room full of people and you’re sure to spot some blushes.
Like the time my best pal arrived at a restaurant and launched into a detailed story about her heavy flow…only to spot a waiter behind her who’d heard everything and was DYING (seriously, we’re talking Warren Beatty at the Oscars levels of cringe).
But surely there should be only one thing turning red when you’re on your dabs? And it’s not your cheeks.
Because periods are everywhere. Around 800 million people around the world are having one right now. Women will have around 450 of them in our lifetimes. Unlucky for us, they don’t come alone.
Cramps, PMS, bloating, bleed-throughs, insomnia, cravings…and plenty worse besides. I’ve had painful endometriosis since I was a teenager and so I speak from experience in saying that when Aunt Flo visits, she comes with baggage.
But there’s one period problem that no woman should have to endure. And that’s #periodpoverty.
What is period poverty?
Earlier this month, a Women for Independence survey was released, which showed that nearly one in five women have had to go without period products because they can’t afford them. One in ten have been forced to prioritise other essential household items, like food.
When women can’t afford to buy sanitary products, then rags, toilet paper or charity donations become the alternative. And that’s no choice at all — particularly when you can’t control whether your body bleeds or not.
Some might scoff at the problem, wondering “how difficult can it be to spend a few pounds every month?”. To someone on a low-income, £13 a month is not cheap. The financial — and emotional — cost of having to decide whether to feed your family or buy tampons is a burden no-one should have to bear.
Anyone watched I, Daniel Blake and cried your eyes out? The fact is, this isn’t fiction.
Time to (wo)man up
With this in mind and International Women’s Day coming up, we were chatting in the office about the momentum that’s slowly starting to gather behind the cause. Some of the team were really knowledgeable about the problem. Others — educated, aware, politically-active — couldn’t believe it was a thing.
It made me wonder; how could we put a bigger spotlight on period poverty? So, as an agency, we’ve come together to do what we do best. That’s to get people talking.
Introducing the Bloody Big Brunch, an event serving up free Bloody Marys to all who come along.
There’s just one string attached…and it comes at the end of a tampon.
An unusual drinks bill for an all-too-common problem
Everyone who takes part needs to bring sanitary products to get their hands on the classic brunch staple. All tampons and pads received will go to the Trussell Trust, a charity organisation who give emergency support to people in crisis. We’ll also be gathering signatures to petition the government for change.
People can come along to the first event in Glasgow on 10th March — or hold their own brunch event at home for family and friends. By raising a glass to periods everywhere, our aim is to help end discrimination against menstruation.
We won’t stop there though. We’ll tour the rest of the UK in 2018, popping up in cities nationwide at ‘that time of the month’ to bring the Bloody Big Brunch to life elsewhere. Everyone’s welcome
As for WIRE, we’ve restructured our agency this year to make sure that everyone has 10% of their time set aside to work on campaigns for social change that are close to our hearts. This is just the first initiative — and from idea to activation, we’ve had less than 20 days to make this happen. Our team, made up of men and women, have worked full-on and have been passionate and energetic about making it a success.
Like me, they’re hoping we can play our part in making sure that periods no longer cramp anyone’s style.
Join the first Big Bloody Brunch event in Glasgow on 10th March — or hold your own brunch event at home for family and friends — to help end discrimination against menstruation. Get involved here and share your period stories here#freeperiods
And please recommend ONLY if you know someone who has ever had a period 😀