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Thoughts on period education, from a teen who wants better.

Yasmin is 16 and like most teens, she has an opinion on many things; the environment, education, government choices, what you can and should talk about, period products and access to them, the list goes on. Again, like most teens, Yasmin wants her opinion to be heard and wants better outcomes for future generations. Here's her beef with the recent news about free sanitary products in Victorian schools.

 

About bloody time

"The Victorian Government has finally realised the importance of supplying schools with free sanitary products across the State. No denying that this is a great start.

 

I was genuinely shocked when I found out that some kids’ families couldn’t afford to buy these simplest of necessities and in some cases, were being forced to steal these products in order to get by every month.

 

People are arguing that there are more important issues that the Government should be focusing their attention on before throwing money at sanitary products. That’s not where my beef with this lies though."

 

The period conversation needs to be happening with everyone

"I was 13 when I got my first period - pretty standard age. My mum (who’s an avid period preacher and has even gone so far as to create a menstruation education program for kids, as well as working on a documentary on the topic!) fully briefed me and my brother long before I started, so I was ready and prepared and personally, other than feeling embarrassed when I go and buy supplies from the supermarket now and then, I’m pretty okay with the whole situation.

 

That’s not the norm though. I know that most kids don’t have a clue about their cycle and many kids don’t know that there’s other options out there other than JUST pads and tampons - which by the way, are terrible for the environment if you think about the numbers that we use as a Country let alone as a whole population. The chemicals that are used on our non-organic, single use options are awful for our planet too, let alone the large amount of energy/water/factories and workers that are required to continually manufacture these sanitary products.

 

My mum uses a menstrual cup and although I’m not ready for that just yet, in all her craziness about periods, what she did introduce me too (and all my friends), were period undies and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that they literally changed my life and my whole monthly menstruation experience.

 

They’re comfy, they’re just like my normal undies, they’re reliable AND they’re kind to the environment. Not to mention they come in a pretty cool range of different colours and styles!"

 

Please. Think of the environment!

"So, why didn’t the Victorian Government consider them when they were putting together their policy to supply all Public Schools with free sanitary products I wonder? It would have saved them a fortune on wasted products, because let’s face it - kids are kids and we all know what they’re going to do when they get their hands on a constant supply of pads and tampons! I’m assuming the potential vandalism to the vending machines will have to be managed as an additional unnecessary expense and the generally high turnover of un-environmentally friendly products that are already clogging up our landfill is going to increase."

 

Give us a lesson in menstruation

"Education in my opinion, is another HUGE part of the period conversation - if not the biggest part of the problem. There’s zero sense in throwing free pads and tampons at kids who are already battling with shame on the topic, what about the different religions and cultural taboos too that very few kids understand.

 

Boys are already quick to use defamatory and degrading language around the topic due to their lack of understanding and I can’t see it changing anytime soon if they aren’t being taught all about one of the most natural bodily processes on the planet.

 

In an ideal world, if there was access to free environmentally friendly and sustainable products, combined with fully comprehensive education on menstruation, then and only then will we begin to normalise the conversations around periods and build a safer environment for our planet.

 

Victoria’s off to a good start, now let’s see if one of the other states can raise the bar!"

 

**

Modibodi was excited and eager to have our application considered for the Victorian Government tender for menstrual hygiene in schools and while we ultimately lost out to single use items, we're even more determined to get accessible, reusable options into other states. 

 

 

 

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