5 ways to say ‘no thanks’ to your £18K period

We have to get over the negative stigmatisation of periods and seek cheaper alternatives to costly tampons

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The Independent Online

Society has a problem with women’s bodies… and it’s costing us £500 a year. A new survey has revealed that we fork out over £18,000 over a lifetime to deal with menstruation. Why? Because society tells us we should and we simply haven’t shouted out against it loudly enough.

Women are subject to a wide spectrum of shame that shows no sign of abating. Amongst many others, we are shamed for having nipples, for gaining weight, for losing weight, for being sexual, for not being sexual enough, and even for eating on the tube. Want another one? Oh yeah, we’re shamed for the natural act of menstruation as well. Periods come with an average £18K price tag over a lifetime, but not everyone’s period has to flow with a designer label.

Here’s five ways to dodge the dent on your period purse:

1) Be period fierce

The super model Tyra Banks once said that we should all “walk fierce, eat fierce and do a number one fierce”. Well Tyra, I agree. We should all be fierce and fearless, especially when it comes to our bodies and more specifically, to our periods. We need to talk about periods so that we can’t be fobbed off for having them. The more we discuss what is wrong with mainstream attitudes towards menstruation, the quicker we will be able to become openly innovative about dealing with it. Sexism will never be tackled if women are ashamed of the functions of their own bodies.

2) Council your inner period psyche, no matter your gender

Men, this one’s for you. Being a real ally is hard work. It’s not enough to simply agree that we should talk about periods. We need to talk about them positively and yes, that means you too. You may never have experienced a period yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions and spark period positive conversations with those around you, irrespective of gender. The word ‘period’ isn’t as bad as you think it is. We will never win this battle without you being openly and actively on our side.

3) Don’t be shy: try new things

Studies show that we don’t just tend to buy the same sanitary product, but that we stay loyal to the same brand too. Moreover, only 6 per cent of us have tried using the most cost-effective, hygienic and environmentally friendly sanitary product on the market: the Mooncup. Perhaps period shame has panicked us into a quick buying routine at the tampon isle, but Tampax tampons aren’t our only option. There is a thousand-pound incentive to resisting period-isle-panic and experimenting a little. There shouldn’t be a ‘normal’ way of dealing with your period. Every period is different. Go with the flow. Try something new.

4) Campaign to end the tax on periods

The taxman seizes nearly £1,000 in VAT from everyone who menstruates. Why? Because of an out-dated taxation law that even Cameron opposes. The law currently brands sanitary products “a luxury”, but we are campaigning to end this. Join the 244,000 people who have already signed our change.org petition to help fight period shame and end the alienation of issues associated with women, period!

5) Spend your extra cash

Now that period shame no longer silences us each and every month, we can spend a little extra on something truly luxurious that we choose to have. Purses spared, period.