Well, this is it. I am stepping into the new woman-centric version of Forage Botanicals. From now on, I'm all about the ladies. New features include:
- Joyful Periods 2.0 a course in having a better period, naturally
- Free guides to common hormone conditions
- A natural beauty products shop with period supplies
The podcast will be stopping in 2018 as will my online herbal medicine course and in-person workshops. If you want to learn about herbal medicine I'd recommend The Herbal Academy for online learning and The Handmade Apothecary for in-person lessons in London. I wanted to explain why I'm making such a massive change though. Why this is such a passion for me.
Post-modern Feminism and Periods
The way we treat periods is a reflection of how we have felt towards women and the concept of "femininity" for centuries. For centuries, and across the world, it has been seen as a curse (Delaney et.al., 1976). One definition of the word 'period' is the time in which something, especially a disease, runs its course. This was a common way of using the word ‘period’ in the middle ages. The word menstruation originates from menses meaning month. In essence it could be seen that the menstrual period is equivalent to a monthly malady. For centuries women have been puzzled-over by men who sought to explain the strange-ness of women. How could they bleed once a month and not die? Surely they must be the spawn of satan.
But it is important that we remember that the medical and social understanding we have of periods has been constructed within years and years of a patriarchal society. Our experiences have been define by men who do not have first-hand experience of them. Even now, a "good" period is defined by most women as one which doesn't disturb their working/social life and essentially went un-noticed. As though they didn't happen at all. As if they were.. a man.
In the 1980's the feminist movement sought to create sexual equality by proving that women can do anything a man can do. Perhaps even better. And as such, we still feel strongly that our periods don't hold us back in life. We can do everything a man does, despite them. It is becoming increasingly normal for women to take contraceptives which cease their periods entirely with little to no evidence on the safety of this (Grigg-Spall, 2013).
Period pain, without any underlying cause, is called primary dysmenorrhea and affects 84% of menstruating women. Of that, 25% need to take medication and time off work to deal with it (Grandi et.al., 2012). Italy may soon become the first country to have 'menstrual leave' for female workers who need time off when they bleed. But there is an enormous backlash against this by those who believe this is un-necessary preferential treatment which only supports the idea that women are not as strong as men. The opponents to this? Largely women.
It is my belief that women have become so entrenched in the medicalisation of their own biological processes that we now believe in the curse more than men do. This idea is in our adverts for periods. It's in the sex education we received at schools. It's even in the medicine which has sought to relieve us of it.
But I don't believe it's a curse. "There is no reason why everywoman should not consciously inhabit the kingdom of her body, from which she has been exiled by male certitudes which are called 'objective' but which are often rather the turning-away from unexpected powers and abilities" (Shuttle & Redgrave, 2015). Unexpected powers and abilities.
When was the last time you saw your period as giving you unexpected powers and abilities?
Joyful Periods 2.0
This is the crux of what I seek to teach women in the newest version of my course about periods. It seeks to give you natural tools to use to aid the alleviation of any negative symptoms you associate with your periods, which are simply; natural. Because I believe that we weren't supposed to suffer through life as a woman. But thrive.
If you'd like to learn about your unexpected powers and how to deal with any period problems you may experience naturally then join my mailing list. I'm about to offer a massive £100 off the new course to those on my list.
Joyful Periods 2.0
For a better period, naturally.
Delaney, J., Lupton, M., & Toth, E. (1976) The Curse: A cultural history of menstruation. New York. Dutton Publishing.
Gregg-Spall, H. (2013). Sweetening The Pill: or how we got hooked on hormonal birth control. Croydon. Zero Books.
Grandi, G., Ferrari, S., Xholli, A., Cannoletta, M., Palma, F., Romani, C., Volpe, A. & Cagnacci, A. (2012). Journal of Pain Research. Prevalence of menstrual pain in young women: what is dysmenorrhea?. V.5: p169-174.
Redgrave, P. & Shuttle, P. (1978). The Wise Wound. London. Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd.