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

 

by Amy, Volunteer Coordinator

Image: IG Tipsyvegan

If you are anything like me, the thought of putting in a tampon is a terrifying experience. Although they are massively convenient and make the least mess (most of the time), I still much prefer to use a pad for the sake of not having to stick a foreign object inside my flower! So, when I realised that menstrual cups were becoming a thing, a similar state of panic was instilled upon me. When people say “menstrual cup” my mind goes from thimble (what the hell is that going to hold) all the way through to mug (how the hell is that going to go in), there is no in-between in my brain.
But for the sake of science and for the Every Month blog I said I would test it out. This mini-series is going to be the journey of me trying out different menstrual products on a quest to find something that is super comfortable and healthy for me, and also better for the environment.
The first hurdle…which one?! On a Google of “menstrual cup”, I found there were actually a hell of a lot more than I thought. Panic instilled once again. Do I go for a MoonCup, Divacup or something off Amazon that I can’t pronounce?! I had heard of a Mooncup from various hip friends that are far cooler than me, so that’s the one I went for.
Hurdle number two…what size?! By this point I had been through a lot of different websites and was completely unsure whether I wanted turquoise or baby pink for my bits. Why does it matter if it’s violet?! Do they expect people to see it? Getting past this, I decided to just order one plain white one from Boots and went for the recommended Size B for ladies under 30 who hadn’t given birth (thank the lord!).
So, ordering off Boots was by no means the cheapest way of securing my new package but for some reason the blue and white tones put me a little more at ease as I added my purchase to my basket!
When my box arrived in the mail I was on Day 2 of my period and not feeling particularly motivated to test out my new collection device. But alas, I gave it a shot.
So, the box comes with quite comprehensive usage instructions. One of importance is the folding technique. After going through the different types and concluding that they all look the bloody same. I just went for a “lets make it as small as I can” approach. This is something I found quite tricky and took me right back to the image of “thimble”. However, I flattened, folded in half and then began the journey to find the right spot where it could be “worn as low as it will comfortably sit”. I found the process of getting the cup in quite fiddly and had multiple attempts where it unpopped before actually getting in as I couldn’t quite master the technique. But eventually it did sit comfortably and unfurled to create what felt like a fairly sturdy insertion.
Now, my main fear about tampons is that it will get stuck and be permanently lodged, a similar fear I had with my silicone pouch, not ideal. So despite only being in there for all of 2 minutes the first time, with some waddling around the bathroom to test it out and make sure it didn’t fall out, I then decided that was enough and tried to remove my Mooncup. The instructions detail to squeeze the bottom of the cup to release the seal (a very bizarre feeling) and the cup slides out. This was actually not as horrifying as originally thought and was relatively smooth once I had hold of the cup. I found angling one side down at a time gently helped and made it a little easier.
After having another read of the instructions and also the Mooncup website (extensively), I then read the bit about trimming the stem of my Mooncup. This is something I am not yet brave enough to try as I want to feel comfortable getting my Mooncup in and out without having to heavy breathe and take an odd squat position in my bathroom. But it states that if you are uncomfortable when sitting or walking because of the stem you can trim it a little bit at a time.

Verdict: I continued to test out my Mooncup for a couple of hours a day over my period. By day 5 I was feeling a little more comfortable using my little white device and found it relatively easy to fold and insert. The only worry I have is the removal but this just stems from me having a very nervous vagina that I swear likes to close completely at times (or at least it feels like it!).
Day 4 I think I did insert slightly too far up as it was a little more uncomfortable and I found it has risen slightly. I think this is why they emphasise placing the cup as low down as you can.

Next month I am going to be slightly more adventurous and try to incorporate using the Mooncup in daily life (rather than when I’m just sitting at home binge-watching Stalker and eating my body weight in banana bread). I’m a bit apprehensive on testing out my new pal whilst swimming or going to the gym but will report back on my progress!

This blog to some may seem slightly horrifying and have people thinking “why on earth bother with the hassle” so I’m just going to list a few reasons below why I am trying to move towards using a menstrual cup and for the same reasons why I would encourage you to do so!

1) To save money. So theoretically now I’ve purchased my Mooncup (for £21.99) once I’ve got the hang of it I shouldn’t have to purchase pads or tampons (which I probably spend around £4 on each month). The Mooncup website says that the cup can last for years with correct cleaning and storage so over 3 years this is already saving me over £100.
2) Menstrual cups can hold up to 28 grams, approximately 5 times the amount of a tampon. For someone with quite a heavy period this could make life a little easier.
3) Cups don’t contain latex, BPA, dye or other weird additives. Apparently, almost all tampons contain bleached rayon—a material that creates the possibly carcinogenic by-product dioxin. I see the word bleach and all-round panic (!!!). Cotton in tampons can also strip your vaginal walls of naturally occurring lining, making your flower (look, it’s a name I use, get over it) more susceptible to disease.
4) Health aside, tampons and pads are actually really bad for the environment. On average, omen use an estimated 16,000 pads or tampons in their lifetime. These end up in landfill and take years and years to break down.

Next month I am also going to try a reusable cotton sanitary towel! Check back on progress and don’t be afraid to ask any questions. Make sure you read up before you give it a try to make sure you understand how it works and if it’s right for you.

Hannah: Event Planner
I am solicitor and I moved to Manchester over two years ago. I love all things yoga, history, travel, smashing the patriarchy and music related. I am slightly obsessed with Twin Peaks, grunge music, Yorkshire tea and Newfoundland dogs (the most AMAZING hounds!)
1.What’s your role with Every Month? What will you be doing?
 I am one of two Event Planners at Every Month, working alongside the lovely Charlotte. We will be organising and running all the events including our awesome packing events and others  to fund raise and help spread the Every Month word.
2. How did you find out about the campaign?
Like a lot of the rest of the team, I followed the brilliant Instagram account and thought what a great idea the whole concept was. As soon as there was a call for volunteers I knew I had to get involved! I also knew that I would meet a great bunch of people too and I wasn’t wrong!
3. What interested you about getting involved?
The campaign really hits on so many issues that I feel passionate about like women’s rights and trying to address poverty and homelessness. It was a no brainer to get involved in something which makes a real, tangible difference to the lives of people. Access to sanitary products is such a basic fundamental right that slips under the radar when considering issues which homeless people face – anything that tries to address that and raise awareness of the issue is fantastic and very much needed.
4. Where do you hope the campaign will be in a year’s time? 
 I hope the campaign has spread far and wide and reached many more people locally and beyond Manchester. I also hope we are able to open up the discussion on menstruation and poverty and host some great speakers to help spread the message.
5. Who are you inspired by?
 I am 100% inspired by my mum. She is an absolute powerhouse of a woman! Her strength knows no bounds and she’s bloody hilarious! I am also inspired by anyone who lives their life completely unapologetically and just for them.
6. What books/documentaries/films etc do you recommend to everyone?
Everyone should read ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Film-wise, there will be always be a special place in my heart for Labyrinth and Dumb & Dumber. Not very high brow I know, but both remind me of being a kid! My favourite book is 1984 – it inspired me to study History at university and to question everything.
 7. What change would you like to see in the way menstruation is currently discussed?

Adverts for sanitary products need to stop featuring girls on rollerblades and get real about what it is to have a period. It has to stop being whispered about in hushed tones and should be discussed more in school. Parents also need to take responsibility for how the topic is discussed. It’s as natural to buy sanitary products as it is to buy loo roll so why is menstruation still considered taboo?!

8 What would you tell your younger self about periods?
Thankfully I grew up in a house where it was no big deal and I could freely ask any questions. I know from discussing this with friends that not everyone is so lucky. I guess I would remind my younger self and friends that there is nothing to be ashamed of.
9. What helps you most when you’re on your period?
A good stretch and a nice cup of tea.
 10. Anything you’d like to add?
Keep your eyes peeled for some great events (and go google Newfoundlands!)