Menstrual Hygiene Day is a worldwide advocacy platform that brings together the voices and actions of non-profits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector and the media to promote good menstrual hygiene management for all women and girls. More specifically, Menstrual Hygiene Day breaks the silence, raises awareness and changes negative social norms around menstruation and it underlines how women and girls are stopped from reaching their full potential because of period poverty. It engages decision-makers to increase the political priority and catalyse action for menstrual health management, at global, national and local levels.
Today we have collaborated with Seed, a community dedicated to storytelling to bring to you narratives centred around the realities and experiences of menstruation. The founder, Ellen Crane, wanted to create a platform that was accessible and gave professional opportunities to young writers. Seed is heavily inspired by the photographer Gregory Crewdson. Ellen states:
“His work is so evocative and cinematic in its staging and yet he’s adamant that the moments he captures hold no prior context, they just simply come to him as he drives through the streets of small-town America looking for the perfect frame.”
The concept of Seed is simple. Each week three different writers interpret a photograph, write a ‘seed’ of 100 words or less, and each interpretation is shared on social media. Ellen avoids using stills from film or television to avoid the writer being influenced by previous narratives.
Seed shares our aims of inclusivity and diversity and the belief that storytelling is a powerful tool to stimulate change. Anybody who contacts Seed is welcome to make a contribution.
For important International Days a ‘Seed Special’ is launched with more established writers. For Menstrual Hygiene Day Ellen chose the three female writers and a female photographer based on their strength of voice when it comes to challenging adversity, societal norms and advocating for the rights of women.
The chosen photograph is by Ashley Armitage.
“I ran out Miss M’s class. Blood don’t wait for lunch. Mum couldn’t afford tampons this month… said they only had the expensive ones left. I’ve been using my brother’s football socks… tell him the machine ate ’em cos he’s always complaining he’s got odd pairs. Not much use on day 1 though… heaviest… can feel the weight between my legs.
Rach’ knocked on the cubicle door… said she saw me walking like I shit myself. She passed me the little cotton wand and said she’d bring loads for me tomorrow. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have come in.”
Seed by Thea Gajic
Entry 234. Period Day 2. Tuesday. The ebb and flow of numbness and pain. I breathe. A raspy intake of oxygen, deep into my belly, helps me steady my thinking. I am alive, my body is talking. I might feel crumpled, yes, but we are those flowers that sleep at night. Tulips. Tucked away buds. We are snow melting, fruit falling from the tree, an eclipse, rainfall, a migration of birds, a beautiful sunset, a quickly cooling cup of tea, a sandstorm, a ripening avocado, rising bread, hiccups… things come and go. Remember, you are nature.
Seed by Ella Kirky
It was the first day back. As Kiera sat in the toilet cubicle looking down at her stained knickers, she sobbed. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t leave the toilet until 3pm when everyone else had gone home. It was 1pm. The door to the bathroom swung open. She silently cringed and drew her feet up to hide herself. Abruptly her phone rang. Grabbing to silence it, Sophie called out. “Kiera?” She didn’t respond. Soon the laughing subsided, the taps stopped running and everyone left. Suddenly, a familiar hand slid under the cubicle. Sophie said nothing, but Kiera knew in that moment she understood.
Seed by Libby Burke Wilde
Ashley Armitage: https://www.instagram.com/ladyist/
Thea Gajic: https://www.instagram.com/theagajic/
Ella Kirby: https://www.instagram.com/ellamkirby/
Libby Burke Wilde: https://www.instagram.com/libbyburkewilde/