Periods in 2020: The Power of Bleeding

2020 – what can we say about this year that hasn’t already been said? It’s been quite the year of growing pains and generational firsts, and there have been a few pieces of positive news here and there. But it’s also been a great year for those with periods and the fight against period stigma.

Here are our top 5 period moments of 2020:

1. Tax abolishment

Period products are an essential item for all people who menstruate. But in many countries, they’re taxed as luxury items and/or medical devices. This year, the United Kingdom made the decision to finally scrap the tax on all period products – an important step towards tackling the period stigma and fighting for period equity. In the United States, many states have introduced and passed bills to abolish the “tampon tax.” But there are many more to go!

2. Free period products

This year, Scotland took the fight against period poverty to the next level. They became the first country in the world to make period products free for everyone who needs them. We hope many more countries across the globe will follow in 2021.

3. Rename don’t shame

Women aren’t the only people who menstruate; non-binary people and trans men may also have periods. And this year was a great year of recognising this often-forgotten group of menstruators. In August, we at Natracare took a long overdue, but necessary step in recognising our role in perpetuating this falsity and inequality towards the LBGTQ+ community. In addition to an internal review, we launched a campaign and petition to urge retailers to move away from exclusionary language like “feminine”, and stigma inducing words like “sanitary” and call period products what they are – period products! If you haven’t already, be sure to sign and share the petition here.

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4. Period sex on screen

It used to be quite the taboo, but now period sex is becoming more normalised, and rightly so. Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You” took on period sex in what has become an iconic and celebrated scene. We don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but it’s definitely a scene (and show!) worth watching. Coel’s work is helping push forward the normalcy of periods within our sex lives by depicting period sex on screen without shame, comment, or a glossy finish.

5. Banned period ads

So far, we’ve shared incredible steps of progress for period equity and destigmatisation. But there is still tons of work left to be done around the world. In 2020, a period brand launched a commercial that answered some common period questions, such as how to insert a tampon. Yet it was soon banned in Ireland for being too provocative. Another ad by a period panties brand was banned on Facebook for showing menstrual blood.

While these decisions are extremely disappointing, they led to both campaigns going viral online, leading to even more people learning about periods and the unnecessary stigmatisation. Advertising regulators work hard, but the internet works harder.

2020 will no doubt be remembered for being an unbelievable year of difficulty and firsts. Hopefully, we can also consider it a year of period progress too!

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