I think it’s safe to say that 2017 was a bloody horror show for womankind. From the (pinch me, am I dreaming?) inauguration of America’s vile and chauvinistic president, to the public investigation, which highlighted the shameful (and often invisible) gender pay gap. And, not least of all, the Harvey Weinstein scandal which prompted the #MeToo movement and a colossal outpouring of sexual harassment stories across social media and other public platforms.
Yet, despite these setbacks, we women fought and we fought hard. Something tells me that 2018 is the year women will take a stand. In fact, we’ve already been off to a bloody good start in January, thanks to #TimesUp – a women-led march and campaign that saw thousands unite in a public display of resilience and solidarity.
Another reason I’m hopeful is that 6 February saw 100 years since the establishment of the Representation of People Act 1918, which allowed some women in the UK to vote for the very first time. In light of the centenary, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched a London-wide exhibition and campaign #BehindEveryGreatCity which aims to address the gender imbalance within the public arts while celebrating female artists from diverse backgrounds. So Londoners, be sure to keep an eye out for splashes of colour and beautiful works of art on the underground and at various stations across the city – something to brighten up an otherwise dreary commute at least!
We bloody love the mention of menstruation in the media, whether it’s our national newspapers covering the very real issue of period poverty, or the fresh, new movements of menstrual activism emerging on various social platforms – periods are finally getting the press attention they deserve. On that note, in case you missed it, check out Bloody Good Period and its founder, Gabby Edlin in Vogue. Yeah, you heard me: periods are officially cool as fuck.
If you fancy tuning in to some menstruation-related banter, there are tons of bloody brilliant podcasts that cover all sorts of topics concerning our lovely lady gardens, such as The Periodical and Call Your Girlfriend. Expect discussions on cramp remedies, menstrual leave and period sex. You can thank me later.
Periods are also hitting the bloody big screen this year thanks to Bollywood with the premiere of the biographical feature film Padman based on the true story of Indian entrepreneur, Arunachalam Muruganantham (AKA “menstrual man”). Arunachalam created low-cost sanitary pads for women living in rural India, who had been using old cloth, sand or bed sheets as a substitute for the branded sanitary pads they couldn’t afford to buy. The machine can produce pads for less than a third of the price of the commercial pads. They are also biodegradable and long-wearing – meaning they're both cost-savvy and good for the planet. It’s a win-win situation. The film was released worldwide on 9 February.
Finally, let’s make 2018 the year of social change, activism and political engagement. We must not shy away from the very mention of menstruation. We need to talk openly and honestly about periods. Let’s not forget that periods are the reason we’re all here on this bloody good planet – each and every one of us.