If you aren’t on Twitter and you find discussion about the menstrual cycle fascinating, you might want to register for an account and start following the hashtag #PeriodTalk.
Before joining Twitter I never really understand why anyone would want a Twitter account. However, once I started blogging, I realized how effective of a tool it can be for social networking, education and advocacy. Of course like any social media platform there is the chance for it to be misused, for information to be misconstrued and for people to get hurt. So knowing when to not comment and who to follow is a learned skill.
Since embarking on the Twitter journey about a year ago I have been introduced to so many new areas of research and menstrual-related products that I probably wouldn’t have discovered (or would have eventually discovered, but months after it was first introduced) if I wasn’t on Twitter.
Some of these interesting people, organizations and products include Feby, an organization that sells a beaded bracelet that can help young girls track their periods, Vag Magazine, a really fun third wave feminist series, Cycle Harmony, a site with some great resources on moon phases and the menstrual cycle, the Period Piece blog and Crimson Campaign, an organization committed to helping women and children in developing nations overcome the barriers related to menstruation.
And there’s more!
About six months ago I attended my first Twitter Tweet Chat. At the time I didn’t believe you could effectively have conversations with people using 140 characters or less. But, I quickly discovered that you can!. This Tweet Chat was called #PeriodTalk, and you guessed it, it was all about periods. I was instantly hooked! #PeriodTalk is co-hosted by You ARE Loved and Be Prepared Period and takes place once a month.
Each one is always different, never the same (just like our cycles).
September’s Tweet Chat (that took place just today) had an interesting hiccup – in the middle of discussing the topic of Back to School: Periods 101, the hashtag #PeriodTalk started trending on Twitter and as with any talk around periods, it was not very well received.. or rather not very well understood.
In between tips for caring for your period at school and honest confessions from moms who were having a hard time talking to their daughters about periods, were people making fun of the discussion – in essence it was a word war between those who saw the value in talking about the menstrual cycle and those who didn’t. For me, the most discouraging part was that a majority of the critics were (are) women.
Even still, there are a lot of people questioning why anyone would want to talk about their periods at all; many of whom are stating that Twitter is not the forum to do such a thing.
Is Twitter not a good tool to use to educate people on important health topics? Is it not a tool used by parents, students, media workers, researchers, etc. for leads and advice on topics like menstrual health? Is it not the ideal social forum to share ideas, news articles, product reviews, etc on a topic that pretty much affects half the world?
If you have Twitter I’d encourage you to post about why you think #PeriodTalk belongs on Twitter, and if you don’t, you can add to the conversation on the new PeriodTalk website. This website is free for anyone to join and is a neat place to post questions/comments about puberty and menstrual health.
I remember talking to people about my research and hearing them say that they didn’t understand why I would research something that isn’t taboo anymore. Given the discussion in today’s #PeriodTalk, I’d say it is fair to say that just because we have television ads that feature tampons and say the word “period”, does not mean there is no anxiety, embarrassment or hate surrounding the topic of menstrual health.
Final words #PeriodTalk… because young women deserve to have the “talk” and deserve to have it done well, without shame, secrecy and negative speak.