Women don’t often talk about their periods. There’s still a fair bit of awkwardness about the topic, even amongst feisty, fearless types. But Martha Silcott, aka the Period Whisperer, has found that actually, women are often bursting to tell their stories.
“Women talk about almost everything together, but the in’s and out’s of periods remain one of the last taboos,” she says, “Some women are having a really stressful time every month and yet it all goes unspoken. We really need a bit more openness about periods. We tend to think that how we manage their periods is how everyone does it (Flushers and Binners do not know each other exists and are equally horrified to find out they do!). Some think they are extreme: they must be a freak….Surely no one can have period as heavy as me….?”
Having invented FabLittleBag, the innovative disposal bag for tampons and pads, Martha began talking to women about what actually goes on behind the bathroom door. There were a few surprises.
“The stories coming out about period disasters were that perfect combination of shocking and hilarious,” she says, “although really there’s nothing that funny about some of the ignorance that still persists around the subject. The thing is, nobody talks about it, especially when it comes to the crucial matter of disposal. It’s like the taboo within the taboo“.
FabLittleBag started as more of an eco-mission. Mindful of the environmental impact of flushed tampons, Martha wanted to create a better method for binning instead. However, it seems that the mission has become something more emotional.
“Periods are a natural process, but for some women, they had become a dreaded time of the month. Not just the cramps and the leaks, but also the uncertainty around disposal. Having to choose between blocking a toilet or carrying your used item out in your handbag is no fun at all”.
So unexpectedly it seems that FabLittleBag has become beloved by women not so much for its eco-credentials but as something of an emotional crutch. Martha says,
“It’s the one thing about their period that they can depend upon. And there’s something very clean and satisfying about sealing it shut. It’s cathartic and restores an element of control and calm to what is frankly an awkward and sometimes uncertain process”.
Whilst it’s a great start that women are starting to whisper their period stories, we can only hope that the whisper can build to a shout and throw some light on this unnecessarily secretive area.
Would you like to help us #ScrewTheTaboo? Tell us your most cringe-worthy period story and let other women know they’re not the only ones!