Periods Gone Public

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

This was such a shocking but also a truly inspirational read! I actually read this months ago and have been sitting on my review not sure when I should post it. Even though we live in the 21st century and almost anything can be discussed in public without embarrassment, I felt slightly unsure about the reception I’d get to a book review about menstruation.  Yes it’s only on my blog, Goodreads and amazon, so it’s not like I’m standing on a street corner shouting about Period Inequality or running the London Marathon ‘free bleeding’, unlike some of the period activists  mentioned in this book.

The only period activists I’d read about before was, Arunachalam Muruganantham in a BBC article from a few years ago. He’s one of many people mentioned in the book finding ways to bring cheaper and hygienic sanitary wear to women in India and around the world.

I read shocking stories about homeless women finding it nearly impossible to gain access to tampons and towels, and also the barbaric treatment of women in US prisons whilst having their periods. It made me realise how unfair women are treated in society because we bleed every month. Why should girls miss school because they can’t find the money for the exorbitant price of a box of tampons or sanitary towels?! Why are these essentials still being taxed in some countries?

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as the author highlights all the positive activities that are happening around the world to fight menstrual inequality.

A definite must read for women of all ages.
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**In this post I review  ASK ME ABOUT MY UTERUS and PERIODS GONE PUBLIC. Publishers have provided complementary copies to me in exchange for honest reviews** .
Let's talk about...uteruses/uteri! Yes, those are both acceptable plural forms of 'uterus'. Half the human population has one but *wow* are they controversial! However, regardless of where you stand on hot button issues like birth control and abortion, you probably agree that periods, albeit annoying, aren't very revolutionary. But you are also probably (like me) reading this post from somewhere in the United States, you've likely had ready access to feminine hygiene products, and you have hopefully never experienced a medical problem such as endometriosis. In PERIODS GONE PUBLIC: TAKING A STAND FOR MENSTRUAL EQUALITY by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf I discovered that "a new, high-profile movement has emerged—one dedicated to bold activism, creative product innovation, and smart policy advocacy—to address the centrality of menstruation in relation to core issues of gender equality and equity." In dancer Abby Norman's memoir ASK ME ABOUT MY UTERUS: A QUEST TO MAKE DOCTORS BELIEVE WOMEN'S PAIN, Norman describes having her pain dismissed repeatedly by medical professionals and "shows that women's bodies have long been the battleground of a never-ending war for power, control, medical knowledge, and truth. It's time to refute the belief that being a woman is a preexisting condition."
I would recommend these releases to everyone and need not have a uterus to learn something from these releases. As a matter of fact, more of the non-uterus owning half of the population should read these!
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I did not read this galley in it's entirety. Though I enjoyed what I did read.
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A great read that will definitely cause some controversy! But what great read doesn't! The topic of periods and menstruation is finally getting talked about which is brilliant. It went into a lot of personal details that aren't actually so personal after all, as these are experiences shared by many women around the world.
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Just from the name of the book, I realized that it was one which was very important and deserved to be read so that I could expand my thoughts and finally catch up with all the fuss over periods, the last thing anyone in this patriarchal world ever thought would be the driving force behind beautifully organized political chaos. 

Wolf’s voice from the very start was focused, salient, informative and unabashed, all things equally important to pull any reader in. To be honest, I hardly ever consciously thought about the main message that this book promotes which is perhaps why I was so inspired by it. Although, I didn’t agree with every argument that Wolf made since some of them in my opinion were either unrealistic and something from ‘menstrutopia’ whereas some were just taking it too far. 

However, the focus of my review and rating are not that. As Madame Gandhi puts it “Periods Gone Public shows why menstrual stigma is not only a social justice issue but an economic and political one.” That is exactly what the author communicated throughout the book. I really appreciated the fact that the author acknowledged the idea that it is not only women who menstruate but transgender people as well and explored the difficulties faced by them, offering possible solutions along the way – I never thought of that before. Call me socially unaware, but I don’t think I ever sat for hours before reading this, consciously thinking about how menstruation affects so many people at different levels. This is my reason for the high rating. This book made me think. 

What I loved the most about this book was how calculatingly persuasive it is and how it effectively fuels you to do something about the issue at hand e.g. yours truly, a very lethargic person has now decided that it's high time that her college has pads available in the washrooms just like toilet paper. Period.

Overall, this was a very extensive, informative and interesting read, one which has actually managed to inspire me to do something! (that hardly ever happens) I do want to clarify that the rating is not at all for the message of this book which is beyond meager 5 stars but for the book itself which was repetitive at times, and not that relatable in the US specific chapters, hence the 4 stars.
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This is an important topic, and firmly think we should talk more about periods and create new policies to address the problems faced by women who menstruate. In that line, this is a relevant book ... however, I got bored.

I enjoyed the first 80 pages or so, but the second half was very long and I didn't see the point, too many repetitions and name-dropping. I understand the need to acknowledge contributors to the cause, but for an outsider (me) it's too much. The first pages were informative though, and I'm glad I read them.
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As a person with easy access to sanitary products, I didn't even think that periods could be a huge social and economic issue. But the author demonstrates that millions of women around the world find the options in life limited because of this simple fact.

This is definitely a very necessary book, but I found it rather dry. Although the case studies were fascinating (I particularly enjoyed the story of India's 'pad man'), these are interspersed with large chunks of facts and figures. These portions are rather dry and I found it a slog to go through.
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I loved this book, and honestly, the period conversation has been long overdue. Now that periods are being talked about openly, many things are rapidly changing. This book takes a look at many of the changes and different facets of the period issue. An excellent feminist look at periods.
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A very important and inspiring read! Not only do I feel more informed about how people all around the world deal with menstruation but also how I can get active. I loved that it included trans people, it is a generally inclusive book.
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This book doesn't shy away from any topic regarding periods. It's interesting to read something that most people won't talk about. Heck even going to buy tampons is sometimes considered TMI.
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The first time I thought about period activism is when I learned of Tampon Run, the highly addictive game created by high school girls after attending coding camp. Though I knew something about the movement, this was an enlightening look at what women the world over are doing to remove the stigma(s) around periods.
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Periods Gone Public is a book about the recent emerge of period activism, but also about the problems that women around the world face during their periods. The author mainly concentrated on the period activism in the year 2015 which, in her opinion, is the year that made periods go public. She also shows the hardships women in other countries and cultures have to go through because of a lack of education and sanitary products. But she mentions the issues of poor, homeless or gender dysphoric women in the US. Finally, she proposes to view other problems that specifically concern women through the "mentruals lens", such as viewing "abortion as necessary healthcare". 

It was really interesting to learn about the attitudes towards menstruation in other countries and cultures. It was shocking to see how many women don't have access to pads and tampons and therefore have to deal with health problems and conflicts and work and school. And it was very inspiring to read about organizations, but also initiatives of the women themselves that desire to change that. I could also understand the struggles of poor and homeless women and the injustice of "tampon taxes". 

However, the parts about Western period activism were a little weird. It is impossible to miss that the author is a feminist and it was hard for me to understand why someone would cheer for people posting photos of their bloody underwear on instagram or encourage freebleeding athlets. I don't think that this is necesary or helpful for raising awareness. I also think that the part about the "menstrual lens" wasn't always logical and sometimes went a little too far. The same goes for special sick days for menstruating women, for example, which would be sexist and unfair. 

Another, rather small point was that the author claimed that a woman can't know know when her next period will come. This would have been an excellent opportunity to mention NFP/FAM/cycle tracking because it is free (once you have the knowledge), you can always use it and it is empowering (and it does not only allow predicting the next period, but it can also be used for birth control and family planning). Excellent opportunity - but she didn't use it. Every book about the female reproductive organs should contain a chapter on NFP/FAM. 

This book is an interesting read for anyone who is interested in period activism and I am sure feminists will love it. But I would have liked it better if she had elaborated more on the issues in third world countries and left out some of the activism things. (And, honestly, "I'm too stupid to buy tampons in advance and therefore want free tampons and pads in every toilet" is not a good argument. Your period comes once every few weeks (except for pco/pcos ladies probably) and as long as you're not near menopause, it is never wrong to have some pads and tampons at home [or cloth pads and menstrual cups, depending on what you're using]).
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Thank you for this book, finally someone is writing about a subject that society thinks and believes is taboo. I am glad that this book was written and the topic was brought to light. Everyone needs to realize that half of the world expel blood for 5- 7 days every month and survive. I was surprised how well researched this book was and how the author is standing up for this topic. Menstrual equity is something that needs to happen and be fought for. I enjoyed the book and I honestly believe that every library and school should have this book available to everyone to read and learn about menstrual equity. I honestly think that MEN should read this book and realize the struggle that women have. THANK YOU for this book and making society and the world stand up and take ownership of this taboo subject.
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If you call yourself a feminist, or a equalist, or just belive we should have an equal society you should read this book. The book take a great look into how periods still is a taboo today. We still have a long way to go for an equal society were necessary health articles are provided to those who cannot afford it.

 During the book the author use language such as people who menstruate in stead of women who menstruate, and health products in stead of female products in order to shine a light on other differensens we have in the society. We shine a light on the people who find them self in the wrong body, but we do not let them have a place to feel safe. In today's world we have both men and women who menstruate, and women who don't but wish they could. Fighting the fight for an equal society have moved beyond the voting rights and the rights to work. Now we must fight for a society who accept all and the physical needs to the people living in the society. People say that feminism is dead, but I belive that the focus just must shift. The feminism movement acchived so much good, there is no need to make it stop now because women can vote and work outside of the home.

This book shine a light on some of the problems we still are facing as a society as a whole, and help you remember that if you forget. I certainly forget sometimes, because I myself have what I need.
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Informative and a subject in need of more open discussion.
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Bravo!  Such a well-researched, well-organized and well-written book.  Periods Gone Public rides the wave of current attention on the universal issue of menstruation and gives the reader background  on the history of menstruation taboos, ways that hygiene has evolved over the years, challenges in the modern world regarding type of hygiene products, cost and accessibility.  The information was eye opening in many ways and I feel that I keep myself well-informed.  Also, the narrative of the book was entertaining and so easily digested.  Would recommend to everyone, but particularly to those interested in social justice issues.
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This is a must read for everyone but especially strong feminists to read. It's right on point and needs to be shared. Especially in today's political climate this strong book needs to be taken seriously and may become one of the most revered books of the new generation of liberation.
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OK - Here it goes:

EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS. Not only because it is very well-written with lots of fun and witty wordplay (I found myself laughing way more often than I thought I would!), but because it seriously looks into the crisis that faces human beings that menstruate and what we should do to help out the more marginalized and homeless in today's capitalist world. It's not just about that, but also emphasizes how poorly the products we use are regulated- such as how ingredients and manufacturing processes don't have to be disclosed to consumers. Honestly though, it's about so much more than these two things that I've highlighted, and in today's political climate, we deserve to read this and be informed on ways we could make this world a better place. Please, read this and educate yourself, even if you don't menstruate, because roughly half the world's population is menstruating, has menstruated, or will one day menstruate, and the future generations deserve so much more than what is currently happening. Chances are, you know someone that menstruates (SHOCKER I KNOW!), so please make the world a better place for those of us that literally cannot deny a basic biological process! And notice how I've used gender-neutral language- I was so pleased that the writer/activist has educated herself and presented this issue so well.
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Coincidentally, I started my period a couple hours after I started reading this, and it ended several hours before finishing it. (Awesome!) If you think that is gross, or you are filled with disgust & awe that I could mention something so "personal", you need to read this book, because that's exactly the line of thinking this book is attempting to combat. 

While it felt repetitive, the adage that this affects HALF of the population actually needs to be repeated. A LOT. In terms of policy making and misogynistic thinking and general degradation, the other half that this does not affect (even though it actually really does) seems to forget that. Hell, sometimes I forget that! I've been getting my period monthly since I was 11 years old. I've been on my period approximately 200 times, and I've got at least another 30 years or so to go. Periods affect EVERYONE. This book is aiming to prove that. 

Like I said before, I thought this book was a tad repetitive, and with non-fiction books, that tends to really bug me after a while because the information starts to feel like page filler. The repetition here was necessary. It really stood to drive home the points being made. 

This book covered so much ground and aims to change the way we think about menstrual health. Considering again the number of periods I've had, there was quite a bit of new information for me in here, information I somehow assumed I probably knew, information I probably should have known before now. Point being, I learned a lot. It was extremely informative and very well written. It details menstrual health on many levels, and the effects that lack of information and access have on different groups of women and people, as well as policy changes that need to be made or revised and ways that we can all advocate for change in this regard. I think the author has a liberal/progressive viewpoint (or what I like to call a human, common sense viewpoint - I digress), but she does well to mention the advantages AND disadvantages of several ideas, and I really liked and appreciated that.

This book is absolutely worth the read and anyone who reads this book stands to gain knowledge from it. It is heartbreaking and archaic the way this issue is regarded on all fronts, but this book is beneficial in that at the very, very least, it opens up a dialogue. Definitely recommend the content and style of writing. 

Side note: I had a digital version of the book and was a little disappointed to realize that there were captions for pictures throughout, but no pictures. Alas, they were at the end, which made me happy. Number one, because the pictures were there, but number two, because they were awesome pictures! It was a welcome surprise. (I especially loved the one of the young girl smiling giddily inside the box of pads.)
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This. book. was. so. needed. 

Bless this book, I will never get over it I believe.
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