Tag Archives: periods

“HelloFlo”: The Viral Ad That Empowers Girls to Embrace Their Periods

“For these campers, I’m their Joan of Arc. It’s like I’m Joan, and their vag is the arc.”

These words come from the mouth of a young girl in a recent ad for HelloFlo, a new company that specializes in making menstruation as painless as possible. You can help but do a double take (did that girl seriously just say “vag”?), and that is perhaps exactly what the ad creators intended.

But neither the company nor the controversial ad were rooted in any “feminist agenda,” says HelloFlo founder Naama Bloom. The company functions by sending boxes of tampons, pads, and candy to women in alignment with their personal cycles, all for $14-18 a month.

As Bloom said in an interview with CNN, “I just wanted to talk the way women talked and the way I talk and talk the way I am teaching my daughter to talk.” But even that is remarkable. After all, how many girls really feel this way about their periods? For that matter, how many moms, teaching their daughters about menstruation, feel this way?

The onset of puberty is happening earlier and earlier for girls in the United States, a trend that does not bode well for future generations’ rates of ovarian and breast cancer. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and exposure to toxic chemicals can all affect the timing of puberty, and the increase in all three in this country has obviously contributed to an earlier onset of menstruation.

On top of that, menstruation has been a consistent point of embarrassment for girls and women, and this has unfortunately perpetuated a culture of body shame. Whenever menstruation begins, it is not something to be ashamed of nor fight against. Girls need all the information they can get to be prepared, both physically and emotionally, for this powerful rite of passage. In a way, periods are what makes the world go ’round. Right?

What’s your relationship with menstruation like? Tell us your stories in the comments section below!

5 Quotes From Dr. Christiane Northrup That Will Make You Proud to Be a Woman

 

christiane_prodPeriods, PMS, menopause, morning sickness… Is there any aspect of the body’s cycles women can be proud of? According to the media and mainstream Western culture, women have more to feel ashamed and plagued by than proud of when it comes to their bodies. With messages of body positivity only barely making a dent in women’s overwhelmingly conflicted relationships with their bodies, something has got to give.

Enter, Dr. Christiane Northrup, the women’s health expert shaking every belief we’ve held about the female body for decades. Northrup’s reality check: Menstruation is a sacred experience that demands rest and self-regeneration. So-called “PMS” is really a flourishing of creative energy that surges through the female brain at certain points in her cycle. Menopause is a process of transformation, during and after which women can experience the best sex of their lives.

If any of the above statements contradict your own feeling about your body, then read on. In these 5 soul-shaking quotes from an interview featured in the latest issue of Spirituality & Health Magazine, Northrup offers a rallying cry for women to embrace the powerful bodies they inhabit:

1. The key is to understand that every woman has the keys to the kingdom inside herself, and those keys are found in doing those things that she loves to do.

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2. You [women] have a cycle where you bleed in tune with the moon. It is the cycle responsible for all human life on earth. It is the cycle that connects you to your creativity and to the very essence of the tide coming in, the tide going out, the seasons, the sap going into the roots and then rising up, and we have been taught for 5,000 years to be ashamed of that cycle.

~

3. Did you know that we have as much erectile tissue inside our pelvis as men have? only, theirs is on the outside. What we have is the clitoris, which is the only organ in the human body whose sole function is pleasure.

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4. Menopause is when you really move into your goddess energy in a big way. You’re no longer losing your blood, so you move into this phase now where your FSH and LH hormones in the pituitary gland are at the same levels as when you’re ovulating. and for many women that is their peak time
of sexual desire.

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5. What we women are sure of is that there’s a man out there who will complete us. That’s what every movie tells us. But what it’s really about is doing that inner work of completing oneself.

Only as complete, proud, self-loving individuals can women experience the fullness of life that they deserve. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

*****

 

SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrgSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire conversation with Christine Northrup in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

Period Pieces: How One Woman Triumphed Her Menorrhagia With Art

Periods are bad enough just regularly so I can’t imagine the pain of a woman with menorrhagia. Menorrhagia is a condition that causes heavier and longer menstruations, usually upwards of seven days with three times as much blood. 

Eck!

But Lani Beloso, a 42 year old artist, photographer with a license in nuclear medicine (talk about a credential!) decided to make the best of her disorder by turning it into art.

"One day," she says, "I thought: I’m gonna sit over something and I’m going to see exactly how much comes out of me-because I thought it was a gallon. I thought I was bleeding to death every month. I wanted to actually see the amount…I’m just going to sit over great a canvas and make a painting out of it while I’m at it."

That was the beginning of "The Period Piece," a project in which Beloso, already a painter/photographer, created 13 canvases with her own menstrual blood, representing a year’s worth of cycles. She wasn’t making a statement-she was just wanted to make the pain worth something.

"It was cathartic and made me not hate that time of the month so much anymore," Beloso says, but she also finds it beautiful and funny. "I don’t plan on having children, I’m not using my uterus. I just wanted to take it out and throw it in the garbage can." But the project did make the intense, painful periods useful to her and beautiful and inspiring for others. (She did bring that "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" bromide to a whole new level).

Gawker

Menstrual art isn’t something new although it’s definitely not widespread. Taking things really to the extreme was Charon Luebbers back in the 90’s. She actually used discharge present for each of the 28 days of the menstrual cycle and would then press her face against them on 28 different canvases to show the contrast of each of them. Completely overlooking the mere fact she’s using her bodily discharges for art, why in the world would she want to show the contrast by pressing her fluids against her face is beyond me! ICK!

Although she now collects her blood and then paints with it instead of hovering over canvases all day, what is interesting to me is that Beloso says after she finished her collection, her periods actually lightened up and were less painful. She says she now looks forward to her periods and is excited to create from them.

Talk about the power of positive thinking! 

Could this maybe be a new wave of art therapy?

Art therapy, although originally reserved for psychological disorders, is known to help with all health ailments, including chronic diseases. Although scientists have not put all the pieces together, it does show that the engrossment in art and creativity helps those riddled with health problems think outside of their diseases and become engrossed in memories, repressed feelings and immense joy of creation.

Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia conducted a study where women with cancer were instructed to sculpt and sketch for four months. Those subjects were found to experience less drowsiness, pain, stress and insomnia. Art therapy has shown also to facilitate healing in arthritis andother chronic disorders and has become one of the key elements of therapy for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Would you turn your fluids into art?

I definitely believe in using creative outlets but I don’t know if this one is for me! 🙂

Update Your Thinking about Menstruation

With one new book and one new film out on menstruation, My Little Red Book, and Period:  The End of Menstruation? respectively, women are being given an opportunity to update their thinking on a subject that still creates anxiety in the public.

To add my voice to the discussion, here is what women have had to say about it in my anonymous Women’s Realities Study.  If you’re at all moved by the poignancy of these women’s quotes, please feel free to add your own voice to my menstruation questionnaire.
 
Menstruation
This is the questionnaire with the highest response rate in part, I think, because it’s first in the chart of questionnaires, but also because it’s perhaps the most unifying feature of being female, so women feel safer telling their stories about it. 
 
Because of its “ordinary” nature there’s an almost mundane quality to menstruation. But what interested me in the responses from women (ages19-105) was that 65% of them wished they’d been taught about it differently. And this is what appears to be the essence of that sentiment: At its heart, our initiation to menstruation has largely to do with the quality of our mother daughter relationships. There were mothers who really came through for their daughters around this life change, but mostly, even when daughters were taught about it by their mothers, it wasn’t necessarily satisfying, and many were left completely on their own, or farmed out to other sources entirely.
 
The 105 year old woman I interviewed said that after she got her first period, about which she knew nothing before hand, her mother sent her off to “lectures for young ladies” at the Women’s Club. A 72 year old woman I interviewed was told nothing, got her first period and thought she was hemorrhaging to death. Even now as you’re reading this and probably thinking, well that’s to be expected of women of a different generation, I’m sorry to bear the news that women currently in their 20s report having been left to the school nurse, health teacher, or their girlfriends. 
 
Some remember this being an embarrassing conversation, and other women noted they were taught the “mechanics” but wish they’d been given far more texture and color to help them get a fuller understanding of what it’s like to live with your period. Many mothers presented this material in a clinical one time, brief encounter. Like an inoculation. 
 
The responses reflect that when girls were taught, they got the anatomical basics and were shown sanitary products, but rarely given much to contextualize it physically, sexually, emotionally or relationally. Even though girls can only absorb so much life altering information, the tone set in even the simplest explanations tended to be antiseptic and awkward. I think this is one of the reasons it’s difficult for women, even today, to assimilate our sexuality into the whole of who we are. 
 
There are societally reinforced splits in the perception of female sexuality. We don’t think of mothers as sexual, for example, although mothers usually have sex to end up that way. When many mothers taught their daughters, or left them to glean information on their own, the mother’s discomfort was read by, and absorbed by, the daughter. Often mothers gave them reading material on menstruation but then never discussed it with them, let alone augment it with their own sense of its meaning. Very few women referred to an emotional quality other than embarrassment in these moments, and the girls whose mothers weren’t embarrassed, were far less likely to feel uncomfortable.
 
So this seemingly mundane condition of being female hints at the fissures in our core vulnerability: we’re not fully comfortable welcoming our girls into womanhood because we ourselves aren’t fully permitted to be comfortable there.
 
“I do wish my mom had spoken to me about it. Not because I needed the information, but because I craved to have a bond with her as a woman and as her daughter.”
 
“I wish it had been taught to me in a way that made me feel excited and proud rather than anxious. I wish that we’d been given a whole book about it, giving us all the details about what to expect so we wouldn’t, despite the pamphlet telling us that we were normal, think something abnormal and wrong was happening when some detail about the whole process was not exactly how it was described to us.”
 
 “I wish my mother had sat me down, somehow revealing in the warmth of her face (which isn’t actually warm) the complex magic and pain in the ass experience that menstruation is. I wish it had felt for both of us like a shared rite of passage.”
 
The next two are from women in their mid thirties.
 
“My parents handled it all so poorly – it’s really shocking. I was completely mortified of my body – for most of my life – it totally started me on a path of disconnection with my sexuality.”
 
“I feel betrayed because my mother should have prepared me for this. I was very young to start yet she should have seen the signs.”
 
These next two are from women in their 20s.
“Nothing was explained to me. My mother threw the pads on my bed. That’s how she knew I had my period. I read the strip on the pad to know how to use it.”
 
“The day I received my period, my mother gave me a pad and told me never to let boys play with me ‘down there’.”
 
And lastly, a sweet one:
“I read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. Then my mother told me about it one summer night when she tucked me in.”
 
 
Yesterday afternoon I had occasion to be hanging out with my two favorite sixth grade girls while I had a coffee and they sipped a chocolate drink the consistency of concrete. They agreed to be quoted on the condition of “like, total, anonymity.” I asked how they felt learning about menstruation, and in a mixture of giggling, gravity, and eye rolling, this is what our sisters in the field had to report. One said, “No offense, but sometimes what I read about it is cheesy. If I talk to my mom, I like her to talk to me one day, then stop. Then wait for me to come back if I have questions.” The second said, “I love talking to my mom…but not for, like, hours and hours and hours and hours!” 
 
Every mother daughter relationship is different, and for those that are lacking, thank God for girlfriends, and literature written on our behalf. There are obviously many helpful ways to approach the topic of menstruation, but maybe the best place to start is to not think of it as “the talk”, but as the beginning of a life long dialogue between mothers and daughters, and women new and old.
 
 
 
 
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