Sunday, January 25, 2015

There will be blood

Ah, Vice, the go-to place when you want self-consciously edgy titillation or hipster-baiting articles written by hipsters. Every now and again, though, they do publish something of real value - such as this eye-opening piece about the nightmare of menstruation for homeless women.

While it's bad enough that sanitary products aren't always freely available to those who need them, it's staggering that they're deemed non-essential items (unlike, say, bingo and crocodile steaks) and therefore subject to 5 per cent tax. While the government can't change this categorisation without the permission of the EU, pressure can be put on George Osborne to at least take up the issue by signing this petition.

Menstruation has also hit the headlines recently with tennis player Heather Watson's admission that her exit from the Australian Open was due to her period. It was a brave move - and, as Paula Cocozza suggests, might hopefully herald an increasing openness about the issue.

Away from the sporting arena, Rose George's article, also for the Guardian, contains some truly shocking statistics underlining just how harmful the ignorance, misinformation and taboo surrounding menstruation is worldwide. Thankfully, she suggests that things might actually be starting to improve in terms of how seriously the issue is taken by governments and also how companies and advertisers treat it - but there's a long way to go.

(Thanks to Zoe for the Vice link.)

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