If Only Men Could Menstruate

Gloria Steinem most memorably addressed this issue in the October 1978 issue of Ms Magazine with her essay “If Men Could Menstruate”. She imagined that “Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day” “Men would brag about how long and how much….sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free”. 

Equally revolutionary is India’s M.Y.OP. (Make Your Own Pads) movement founded by Arunacharam Muruganantham (aka Menstrual Man) who invented the world’s foremost menstrual microenterprise model; a manufacturing device and process for making low-cost, locally made pads when he saw his new bride’s monthly struggle to cope.

In examining this and other innovative actions,Jennifer Weiss-Wolf aims to take period or menstrual equity to a wider audience by looking systematically at the ways menstruation affects the public and private lives of girls and women, and transmen. She reviews the activism and arguments directed at the removal of the tampon tax ,even where it is classified as a medical not a beauty product, and the costs (minor) and benefits (major) of providing free supplies in public washrooms, in schools, offices, department stores etc. She addresses particularly the need to find ways of addressing the normal human needs of the homeless and poor, with particular attention to the plight of female prisoners whose supplies are often rationed to an unfeasible minimum.

In doing this she presents irrefutable health and economic arguments as well as some unforgettable examples of raucous activism directed at America’s finest, amongst whom we include Trump and Pence. (See Weiss-Wolf J.  (2017)  Periods Gone Public. New York: Arcade Publishing.)

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