To help change the way people think and talk about menstruation, TOTM — a U.K. company that specialized in organic and biodegradable tampons, liners and pads — has teamed up with a group of “period pioneers” to create the #PeriodPowerful movement.
The campaign aims to educate the public about menstrual periods and reasons they are not embarrassing, while raising awareness of causes related to conditions that affect women, such as endometriosis. One of the most frequent symptoms of endometriosis is painful menstruation.
Its dual goals are getting people to think differently about periods while celebrating female empowerment, via a campaign using unedited photos that don’t shy away from surgery scars or stretch marks.
“We want to change the way periods are represented. It’s time we got real about periods to improve issues that we all face all over the world. Being period powerful is about taking back the power. It’s about saying no to taboos, being informed and educated on menstrual health and wellness,” Fee Bassett, marketing manager at TOTM, said in a press release.
Among women in the period pioneers group is Saschan Fearon-Josephs, founder of The Womb Room, a social enterprise that supports women with reproductive health problems. Fearon-Josephs lives with reproductive health complications that include endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
“We live in a society which continues to uphold the narrative that the bodies of those who menstruate are messy, dirty and unclean,” she said in the release. “It’s time that we changed that. It’s harmful that we live in a society that continues to perpetuate the idea that discussing periods or menstruation is shameful and embarrassing.”
Other period pioneers include Jaimee Rae McCormack, who was diagnosed with endometriosis after 15 years of misdiagnoses. McCormack is currently raising awareness for the condition with a visual art project called The Endo Wall.
Laura Murphy share her story of living with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and raises awareness of this condition through her project, The Vicious Cycle.
Fiona Munnelly wanted to tackle poverty in her community, and started Periods in Poverty to set up donation points for female and gender-neutral toilets that might be given to local charities and shelters.
Emily Hoyle was tired of suffering the pain of menstrual cycle in silence and began The Good Blood project, with clothing meant to empower women.
“Periods are powerful! Honestly, I am amazed at what my body can do each month, and it takes a lot of strength,” Hoyle said. “It took adulthood to understand it is something to be proud of because of this strength and how it is very much a part of makes us who we are.”