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Book review: About Bloody Time

Medical & health articles 14 Aug 2019
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About Bloody Time is the culmination of many years of research by the Victorian Women's Trust around the taboo that continues to surround menstruation.

Written by feminist Karen Pickering and menstrual educator Jane Bennett, the book aims to help women, families, schools and communities to have more honest, open and meaningful conversations about menstruation and what it means for women as equals in our society.

The 200-page book includes the findings of a study of 3500 women and girls in Australia and beyond, who also spoke of their own experiences of menstruation. Sadly, the findings of the survey were shocking, with many girls and women find menstruation embarrassing and upsetting.

Specifically, 42% of women had mostly negative sentiments about their periods, a trend that was most pronounced among teenagers – girls aged 12 to 18 reported they either disliked everything about their period, or it was almost entirely bad.

The book is an easy-to-read four-chapter format that covers the study findings, the mechanics of the menstrual cycle, the taboo of menstruation and how we can tackle its pervasive effects in society.

'I would love to speak about it without whispering...' is one of many survey respondent comments dotted throughout the book that captures the feelings of shame, awkwardness and humiliation so many women and girls report.

This book offers an inspiring framework through which the authors urge readers to take action, whether that be committing to change the culture in the home, workplace or sporting club.

Ultimately, it is a vehicle to help transform the taboo of menstrual shame into a powerful force, enabling women to celebrate their bodies, and for society to appreciate women – menstruation and all.

The sale of each copy of About Bloody Time supports the work of the Victorian Women's Trust (VWT) and is available for purchase through the VWT shop.