Adventures in Menstruating

What the hell Ivy? Its a year of vegan eats and what on earth does this have to do with veganism? Just hang in there and I promise it will start making sense.

In the scheme of things I’m still really new to veganism. When I first started this my one and only thought was what I was going to eat. I stockpile stuff so it hasn’t been until now, nearly a year into this that I’ve started running out of cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning products and all manner of other things that I’ve never had to think about until now. While it hasn’t been the end of the world as it’s easy to find vegan alternatives for everything these days but there are two things I never really thought about. Contraception and ‘sanitary’ products.

Now contraception I’ll come back to another day but ‘sanitary’ products are something I thought I had sussed out. As with everything there is the disposable options but I really didn’t like them. The cost adds up, you’ve always got to make sure you have a stash on or with you, they are such a colossal waste and the smell, oh my god the smell. Why do companies make these things so strongly scented? That can’t be good for you. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the Mooncup very early on while I was on a day out in Brighton. Since then I never looked back but what if your not an internal solution kinda gal? There was nothing reusable in the shops when it came to pads so I figured that it just wasn’t a thing.

It wasn’t until one of my more enlightened friends started up a discussion on Facebook about what people use and what people would recommend. Guess what, reusable pads also exist, you’ve just got to look a little bit harder for them. There are now very few excuses for so much waste to be produced by these disposable products. This all happened pre-vegan so I’ve not really had to think about it but I know that much like myself a lot of people don’t know these products exist so it needs to be talked about.

I still haven’t told you how this ties into veganism. Veganism has turned from a very clear cut ‘you just don’t eat animal products’ to a vastly more complicated thing for me. It’s not just about the food, what you put on your body or what you wear, to me it’s about simplifying my existence so that I cause as little damage to the planet as possible. In turn this causes less damage to the animals that live out there. It’s about avoiding disposable products and plastics, it’s about recycling, it’s about trying to be a better person for this world.

What made me even start writing this post? On Saturday I had the chance to go see Adventures in Menstruating by Chella Quint. She’s a #periodpositive researcher, performer, artist and campaigner for better menstruation education. She does an incredible show that talks about where period shame comes from, why it’s a load of crap and why this attitude needs to change. My anarchist side especially loved her suggestion of stealing and defacing (or borrowing and decorating) those archaic ‘disposal bags’ with the Victorian lady on the front of it. She’s doing wonderful things to show the next generation that there is nothing to be ashamed of while updating us older ones at the same time.

Much like veganism (yep it ties in again here) it’s about society’s norm being pushed on you to tell you what to do, to be ashamed of yourself and to fit in with everyone else and that’s just wrong. Down with shame, down with the tampon tax, down with scaremongering advertising and instead stand proud, proud of your body, proud to be who you want to be and not what society things you should be.

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