Maybe when they’re just that little bit less taboo, and when people don’t struggle to afford sanitary products I won’t have to so much, but til then, yep, I’m writing about them again.
This Saturday was a little frazzled, but in between diving across the city in the rain from one thing to another, I stopped by the Bloody Big Brunch – a collaboration of organisations using Bloody Mary’s and brunch as a way to help ameliorate period poverty and end period shame. It’s natural, it happens, let’s stop acting like it’s something to hide away.
While we’re at it:
1 in ten girls cannot afford to buy sanitary products and has to ‘make do’ – hands up who has had to shove loo roll in their knickers when caught short?
It’s one of the biggest issues facing the homeless, and those on the poverty line – they can barely afford to feed themselves, sanitary products are way down on the list.
The Government only last month released plans to stop women ‘free bleeding’ in custody (there’s a six month consultation period in place now), and prisons still charge women for sanitary products. Both institutions still strip search women who are having their period (meaning if you’re on your period, you’re strip searched, asked to wear a paper suit and free bleed afterwards). Dignified.
Whilst we fought for the tampon tax to be removed, it’s still there, only it’s now 5% instead of 20% which is still ridiculous.
And it’s worth remembering that it’s not always women who menstruate. Those who identify as gender non binary, and trans can too.
The idea for the Bloody Big Brunch was simple. Stop by, bring some period products with you for The Red Box Project, and Every Month, and swap them for a Bloody Mary. Meet the Hey Girls team, LGBT Foundation, Chella Quint, Bloody Big Brunch ambassador Stacey Solomon, and the downright gorgeous Lill.
And given I had a stash ready to hand, I wondered how many cocktails I could get for my tote bag of tampons and fanny pads.
Well if you’re going to donate, go hard or go home, right? There was dancing, there was comedy, there was drag. But now the brunch is over, how can you help?
Hey Girls is an initiative that only focuses on being environmentally friendly (they offer reuseable pads, cups, and plastic free pads/tampons) but for every pack you buy, one pack is donated. It’s a really easy way to donate, whilst also making sure you’re stocked up too. They’re also starting to work within schools too, so not only are they donating, they’re educating too. I’ll be treating myself to a selection from them, so I can review their products too.
The Red Box Project also works in schools, helping to provide free sanitary products at a local level. It’s super easy to donate – and you can find projects local to you here.
Monthly Gift is committed to making period products accessible to everyone who needs them. They create packs to give out and welcome volunteers and donations. You can join in the campaign via their website, or their Facebook community.
But that’s not the only way you can help.
As of next year, the Bloody Big Brunch is going national – they’ve launched the world’s biggest ever brunch on the first weekend of Women’s History Month – Sunday 3rd March 2019.
You can host your own brunch, serve Bloody Marys or Virgin Marys to friends and family, asking them to ‘pay’ for their drinks with period products. They can either do this by making a donation to you, or they can be purchased via Hey Girls – who will then automatically double your donation, and distribute the products to charities across the UK.
To find out more, or sign up, head to the website www.bloodybigbrunch.com.
Periods aren’t optional. They aren’t for shits and giggles. And nobody should be ashamed, or go without what they need.