Menstruation is Not Monotonous
To go hand in hand with our Menstrual Product Drive, LVDSA comrades are sharing their experiences with menstruation.
Menstruation is not monotonous. There are as many entirely different experiences of menstruation as there are menstruating people; and for each persxn, there are as many different experiences of menstruation as the times they receive their cycle.
For myself, having been diagnosed with PCOS, a condition in which certain hormones aren’t produced at levels which allow for menstruation, I didn’t get my period naturally without the help of birth control until I was twenty-two years of age. And even now, it only comes every two to three months. Having only had a cycle for a year or so at this point, even if irregular (or as I prefer to understand it, unique to my own rhythms) when it comes, it is a cherished time–a time of beauty–a time to marvel at my body’s ability to surprise me and go beyond anything I could have ever thought possible!
Even still, this has not always been the case. Growing up, I internalized the belief that because I identified as a womxn and did not naturally menstruate, that this somehow made me less of a womxn. Overtime, with education in college and with the help of more progressive circles, I learned about many of the different identities who likewise menstruate or don’t menstruate beyond the binary of womxn do and men don’t. Ultimately, today I can proudly say I am a non-binary persxn, not a womxn, and still, I menstruate–offering quite the departure from the young womxn I was who felt she was not a womxn specifically because she did not menstruate. Unfortunately, as you will even see with some of the links regarding information later on in this article, the menstrual binary is still alive and well in many circles.
Yet, inclusivity around who does and does not menstruate is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the inequities surrounding menstruation. Menstruating folx must deal with issues surrounding accessibility, both economically, still having to pay unaffordable, taxed prices for necessary health products, ultimately leaving some folx to choose between food and menstrual products; as well as culturally, most of the time only finding menstrual products in public places in the femxle gendered restrooms–not to mention the fact that many of these products contain various chemicals that are harmful to menstruating bodies and to the planet. Considering the taxes, unaffordable prices, shoddy health and environmental considerations, and unequal access surrounding menstrual products, many folx are kept from attending school, work, or other social functions, and in turn put at risk for isolation, infection, and loss of work or standing in school or community.
LVDSA’s Socialist Feminist Committee has partnered with local women & children’s shelter The Shade Tree on a Menstrual Product Drive to do our part to remedy some of the symptoms of deeper inequities resulting from our capitalist society. Our hope is that one day everyone will have access to the health care they need, but for now, we hope that his product drive will help folx in our community.