And I don’t know what your life was like at 12 years old, but for me… I got my period.
Yep, after a year of anxious anticipation and praying to the menstruation gods to make me a real woman, it arrived. A smear of bloody goodness in my knickers affirming that I was now, in fact… a lady! My girlfriends gave me high fives. My mum gave me the ‘period’ chat. And I was faced with the most important decision of my tiny, 12-year-old life. Tampons or pads? And I have never gone without.
Nowadays, in my adult life, getting my period is not something I celebrate. It is the worst thing in the world. The pain, the blood, the expense, the stained underwear… Shall I continue?
And while I thought nothing could be as bad as getting your period, it turns out things can get way, way worse. Last year, I was confronted by some shocking truths that I had never considered. That being able to afford tampons each month is a luxury that many women do not have. And that while I purchase my $8 packet of organic tampons and go home to cuddle a hot water bottle, gorge on dark chocolate and watch Scandal, many women are living on the streets without access to basic sanitary care.
I found out that thousands of women have to make do with whatever they can find. Newspaper, toilet paper, sponges, rags, even dead leaves and bark. Or they are forced to steal, which incurs a $500 on the spot fine in some states. Gross.
Seriously. If you’re homeless, getting your period would no longer be a hassle – it would be a complete nightmare. Because when you’re homeless, not only can you not afford tampons, but you also don’t have access to a shower. You don’t have a toilet. You don’t even have toilet paper. And you definitely don’t have the dignity that every woman deserves.
While sitting with this bloody statistic (pun intended) I decided enough was enough. Feminine hygiene brands raking in our hard-earned money while women go without a basic human right? Not on!
So I decided to take matters into my own hands. To create a brand that would change the game. A brand of sanitary products that donates one box for every box purchased to a woman in need. An organic range that is good for your lady parts, but also has a heart. A sustainable solution to this problem that will change women’s lives in Australia, and eventually worldwide.
I started plotting, crunching numbers, and seeking advice – and it turns out that this crazy idea could actually become a reality. If I can raise $45,000 through pre-sales and donations, a new socially conscious tampon brand could soon be at our fingertips. After all, conscious consumerism is fast becoming the way of the future, with brands like Toms Shoes and Who Gives a Crap leading the way in charitable business models. So why should we accept any less?
May 28th was global Menstrual Hygiene Day, bringing awareness to a largely taboo subject. But it was also a reminder for all of us women not to take our situation for grated. As women we get to choose where our money is spent, and I for one would shout a fellow lady-friend a pack of tampons any old day. In fact if I had my way, every single female would have access to tax-free, affordable sanitary care worldwide. Because lets face it, getting your period is not a choice.
So for this Menstrual Hygiene Day, buy an extra pack for a sister in need. Sign the ‘Stop Taxing My Period’ petition. And get on board and support my idea for a one-for-one product. With a little bit of luck, and your support – just like me, no woman will have to go without again.
If you support the creation of a socially conscious one-for-one tampon brand go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/653063473/147447929?token=36de166d
To sign the Stop Taxing My Period petition go to: https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/stop- taxing-my-period
To donate a box of tampons to a woman in need go to: sharethedignity.com.au
For more information on Menstrual Hygiene Day go to http://menstrualhygieneday.org