We know how it is. Someone from work is doing a run, a friend has got a Crowdfunder campaign, your nephew or niece is doing a sponsored silence, you have those organisations that are important you give to when you can. Sometimes the pressure can be added when you click through to donate to something and the suggested amount is £10 or even £20. You’re doing a good thing and yet you’re made to feel a little bad for not having that amount to part with.

At Every Month, £1.50 makes a huge difference to someone’s life. The campaign is organised by a team of volunteers and your donation goes straight to the cause.

Your £1.50 provides someone with enough sanitary products for a whole month and a chocolate bar. The packs are made up with five pads, five non-applicator and  five applicator tampons. We even offer mooncup packs providing a guarantee for this cycle the next, the one after and so many more. A donation not only provides hygienic and safe periods but a comfortable one too. For anyone experiencing period poverty, these differences have a huge impact on someone’s physical and mental health.

A Every Month pack is less than the cost of:

  • A filter coffee
  • A birthday card
  • A nail varnish
  • A tube of pringles

There are other ways you can help too:

  • Donate sanitary supplies – Have a chat with our lovely packing team for more info : everymonthpacks@gmail.com
  • Share the campaign message on social media
  • Volunteer with us- email everymonthcentral@gmail.com to sign up to the mailing list and find out about upcoming voluntary opportunities.
  • Come to our next event – Paint the Town Red @ Plant NOMA on 24 November! Click here for more details
  • Guest blog – Share your stories with us and help us end period taboo. Email your great ideas to everymonthblog@gmail.com
  • Sign our campaign here  or write a letter to your local council – email everymonthlobby@gmail.com for more details. Help us to make Manchester a forerunner for free sanitary products in schools.
  • Hold a fundraising event- whether it’s making Every Month your nominated cause at work, a sponsored run, a bake sale or an off the wall idea – the funds raised would go directly to helping someone. Get in touch with the Fundraising gals for more info and inspo:  everymonthfundraising@gmail.com. We’ll be sure to share your contribution on our social media.

The campaign relies on support and we are really grateful for ALL the donations we receive. We love you guys! Help us to help more people and spread the word, together we can make some big changes and kick period poverty’s arse.

 

Does anyone else kinda wanna high five Bodyform rn?

If you haven’t seen already, Bodyform have become the first sanitary product company to depict blood in adverts instead of that blue liquid that’s common place in absorbency testing (srsly, what is it?). Watch it here. Not only is it used for the absorbency test in the ad but blood runneth downeth the leg of someone in the shower. A man goes to buy pads and he’s not annoyed or ashamed of the fact he’s buying them. Good going Bodyform.  Unbelievably it was only last year that an actual pad was shown in an advert here in the UK (Bodyform again).

After the initial excitement of the acknowledgement that periods are blood not blue, I felt slightly overwhelmed by the fact that it is 2017 and people are still not comfortable with discussing periods to the point where red liquid on a pad is too much (check out Instagram/Facebook/Youtube comments if you dare).

Yes, it’s a big step from blue to red but seriously, what took so long for us to get here and why are the naysayers still naying even though half of the population bleed monthly?

Soapbox aside, Bodyform are leading the way for other sanitary product companies and taking a powerful stand in encouraging period normality and conversation. Period taboo is not only damaging to confidence, increasing anxiety and affecting mental health of bleeders but it can stop people accessing products leading to poor hygiene and infections. The more people who join in with the conversation about period taboo, the more likely sanitary products will become normalised, considered and accessible to everyone.

I delved into the Youtube sanitary product ad archive and found this Bodyform advert from 2009. The difference is HUGE. The focus is a traditionally ‘feminine’ female with a good selection of bags, dresses, skirts, heels and the focus is about feeling good. Feeling girly and nice when bleeding and not an actual pad in sight.

SO we have come a long way from the ad above and after the initial ‘shock’ (avert thine eyes from the period blood), it’s likely that other companies will follow.

Progress will always feel a bit slow to us (Every Month are unsurprisingly an open bunch when it comes to period talk) but it’s happening. What are your thoughts?  Bloody great or does it make you feel blue?

 

You might have seen recently on our social media accounts that we are looking for artists to submit for our upcoming event Paint the Town Red (more information on it’s way soooon!). We want to showcase the work of local Manchester talent expressing the theme of “Menstruation” in a piece of work.

Whatever your background, medium, opinion, we want to display your submissions at our exhibition. You could express how you view periods, how PMS makes you feel or how you think menstruation affects your life or those of others. Whether you decide to take a humorous, political, or personal, stance we are asking you to really push the limits of this theme and are looking for creativity, diversity and honesty. The brief is completely open-ended!

Your work will be displayed at PLANT, NOMA at the event on Friday 24 November. Artists will be able to attend for free and have a plus one ticket at half price for only £3 which is the equivalent cost of 2 Every Month packs, providing someone with access to sanitary products for 2 months. Additionally, we will be creating an online gallery following the exhibition where your work can be viewed.

12 artists will also be chosen to feature in the first ever Every Month 2018 calendar. The calendar will be on sale at the event, through our website and at locations across Manchester.

This is an exciting opportunity to really explore all aspects of menstruation creatively, share your experiences with others and help us to share the Every Month message and fund raise for the cause.

Submission

We ask you to send your work to everymonthvisuals@gmail.com along with the form below, which confirms that you are happy for us to display your work and tells us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you. If you have worked with sculpture, print making, painting, (or anything
else!) a low res JPEG will do for now!

Let’s Paint the Town Red Artist Submission

Let’s Paint the Town Red Artist Brief

The deadline for submissions is Friday 27 October

We can’t wait to see your work!

Emma: Visual Content Creator

My name is Emma, and I moved to Manchester a year and a half ago, and just totally fell in love with it! I work as a Freelance Graphic Designer and Photographer which can be hard going, but I love the freedom it gives me to work on my own terms. I make books in my free time, love the countryside, adventure, meeting new friends, meeting old friends, live music, art, pubs and pretty much survive on salad wraps and a bottle of red.   

1.What’s your role with Every Month? What will you be doing?

My role within Every Month is Visual Content Creator, which kind of speaks for itself! I will be putting together videos, artwork, photography, and keeping our campaign looking beautiful, as well as providing important visual resources to keep us informed and excited about the cause.

2. How did you find out about the campaign?

I stumbled across Every Month on Instagram and was instantly hooked! I contacted Rosy last year about volunteering but it wasn’t until recently, that the campaign has started to grow and there was room for me to get involved.

3. What interested you about getting involved?

I spend a lot of time debating and discussing topics around feminism, gender, menstruation and politics but its rare I do anything active to aid the causes I feel so strongly about. Coming into my 27th year on this planet I thought it was time to stop talking and start doing!

4. Where do you hope the campaign will be in a year’s time? 

It is very exciting to be part of a group of people who are all working together to make positive change happen. I can already see how hard everyone is working and I can see the campaign moving forward dramatically not only in the coming year but the coming months. I hope to see products available widely over Manchester, as well as many more people aware of what we are doing, opening up a discussion between all genders. When I speak to people about the campaign it is very quickly apparent that many people don’t even consider the expense and inaccessibility of sanitary products an issue, mostly due to a lack of education and the shame around menstruation. If we could open up that conversation I think it would be a hugely positive thing.

5. Who are you inspired by?

My friends, my family, all the strong people around me doing their very best day to day I think my family are they hardest working people I know, whilst always remaining kind and their success and compassion constantly inspires me. Anyone who has the strength and conviction to be honest about who they are, to themselves and those around them. I love Clare Boucher, I think she is just incredible, always pushing boundaries and working in her own way. She has no fear to be exactly who she is, and is such a strong woman. I cried my eyes out when I went to watch her perform last year!

6. What books/documentaries/films etc do you recommend to everyone?

‘Into thin air’ by Jon Krakauer is my all time favourite book. He is a mountaineer who speaks of his experience of climbing Everest with a group and getting caught up in a storm. They made it into a film recently which doesn’t really do it justice but the book is an incredibly inspiring story of struggle, humanity and surviving. Documentaries I would recommend ‘Valley Uprising’ which is about climbers in Yosemite, developing the sport and living on the fringes of society. ‘The Sopranos’ is my favourite ever TV show, and if you haven’t watched it you need to drop everything and put away some serious time to get through all six seasons.

7. What change would you like to see in the way menstruation is currently discussed?

I want people to be proud of their periods and openly be able to say that the reason they have to rush to the bathroom in the middle of a meeting, or leave the office mid morning to run to Boots is because of their period. There are too many hushed whispers between women in the corner, trying to negotiate tampon swaps and moments of trying to hide a pad up your sleeve as you scuttle to the bathroom, its absurd! For me, getting my period means my body is working, I am healthy, and fertile. Its a really beautiful thing when you boil it down, and that needs to be addressed rather than it constantly being framed as something shameful and dirty.

8 What would you tell your younger self about periods?

That you won’t ever remember the only reason your crying in Tesco because they only have full fat milk is because of PMS, but you’ll be able to look back at those moments and laugh. Also not to worry, because they will invent period pants and you won’t end up leaking on various carpets, floors, chairs and items of clothing anymore.

9. What helps you most when you’re on your period?

Food, painkillers, a little cry and a little self indulgence! If anyone wants to give me a back massage as well, I won’t say no!

10. Anything you’d like to add?

Just a big THANK YOU to everyone for making this campaign happen, and to Manchester for being such a dream.


Last Sunday, some of the Every Month gang teamed up with Hannah from Raised by Feminists to host a letter writing workshop at Partisan in Manchester. The intention was to write to local MPs to encourage them to lead Manchester in the same direction as Aberdeen and provide free sanitary products in schools, walk in centres and food banks; making them readily available to anyone who needs them. Read more about Scotland’s scheme here.

We were well prepared with a heap of letter templates, paper, felt tips, snacks and colouring in sheets for the three hour session. Everyone who dropped in had a different story to tell about why the campaign was important to them. A common experience was the lack of availability of sanitary products in school. Nearly all of the schools we had attended could provide sanitary products if you knew who to ask but it was never common knowledge among students. Another key factor was those who had asked for sanitary products were only given one, assuming that the student would only need that one because they’d have access to more at home. However, we know for many this is not the case and could lead to further problems such as poor hygiene and illness if that one free pad/tampon was used for too long. Another letter writer shared the experience of his sister who was bullied for not being able to afford pads whilst another wrote their letter because it was unbelievable that they weren’t free in schools already. The discussions on the day only fuelled the fires for the cause and we left more inspired than ever to spread the word and get more people involved. We had a the best time meeting everyone who came and shared their enthusiasm for eradicating period poverty.

If you weren’t able to join us, it’s not too late to get involved. Visit our Campaign page to sign the petition and learn who your local MP is to write to. You can also get in touch with Martha, Political Lobbying Coordinator if you have any questions. She’s also put together a great Campaign template you can use or use for inspiration for your own letter.

We will also be announcing our next Letter Writing Workshop SOON so please watch this space and our social media accounts (IG: @everymonthmcr,  Facebook) Tell your pals, fam, colleagues, partners and join us for the next (there will be even more snacks, great chats, colouring in and a feminist playlist of dreamz from Hannah ). Together we will make Manchester a forerunner for period positivity and offering a better quality of life for everyone. YAS.

Rose x