blog : : bleeding in ireland

this space is for the menstruators of ireland! get in touch if you would like to write a blog for the MÍOSTA website + share your bloody experiences.

possible topics include, but are not limited to : :
☽ your experiences using reusable + alternative products (the highs and lows!)
☽ products + methods for menstrual pain relief
☽ your period journey through the irish education system
☽ menarche stories
☽ anything bloody that inspires you!

☽ may 2019 ☽

I was delighted to be asked by the amazing Shona project to write a blog about reusable period products for teens! have a read + let me know what other questions you have about products for younger menstruators!

Your Starter Guide to Reusable Period Products

Let’s talk periods! If you’ve been thinking about trying some reusable period products this is the blog for you!

First off, why use reusable period products? Girls and menstruators will have their period for 6 and a half years of their lives. And over their lifetime they’ll use 11,000 disposable period products, spending €132 on period products every year… that’s a lot of money that I’m sure we’d all rather spend on other things!

On top of that disposable products create quite the environmental problem. Just under 28,000 tampons and applicators are found on the worlds beaches every day, and the average user throws away 125-150kg of tampons, pads and applicators over their lifetime. Head on over to the brilliant Environmenstrual campaign by the UK organisation Women’s Environmental Network if you want to learn more about periods and the environment.

So, what can you use if you choose to not use disposable period products?

Continue reading . . .

☽ march 2019 ☽

on tuesday morning I read this article calling for increased regulation on menstrual products with great delight! the article mostly focuses on safety concerns about menstrual cups + cites a Danish study which found that “menstrual cups emitted ‘substantial amount’ of volatile unknown substances”. as a menstrual cup user, I wanted to find out more about these ‘volatile unknown substances’ – I was imagining volcanos erupting inside my vagina! I did a little digging about this + found that it's not quite as scary as it seems, we shouldn't throw our cups out yet!

The study. . .

Some of you may have read this article, by Catherine Sanz, calling for safety checks on menstrual products in Ireland. MEP Lynn Boylan called for the lack of regulatory control on menstrual products to be debated at the EU parliament, but they refused. She said, “[i]n the absence of the EU taking action on this matter, it is essential that the Irish government commission research on the products”. I couldn’t agree more! It is high time that menstrual products receive thorough, impartial and transparent regulation. And how incredible if Ireland became leaders in calling for this regulation in the EU — let’s make this happen!

The article mostly focuses on safety concerns about menstrual cups and cites this Danish study which found that “menstrual cups emitted ‘substantial amount’ of volatile unknown substances”. As a menstrual cup user, I wanted to find out more about these ‘volatile unknown substances’ – I was imagining volcanos erupting inside my vagina.

Unfortunately, the study itself is vague about these volatile compounds, saying only that, “[t]he specific volatile substances are unknown and the potential effects of these substances are therefore unknown as well.” The study also found that “menstrual cups did not show significant findings of unwanted chemicals,” which is important to quote to give a more complete idea of what the study says. It’s also worth noting that the study does not suggest avoiding menstrual cups but instead, “advises consumers to carefully follow the guidelines of the manufacturers and boil the products before they start to use them and every time before using the product again. During heating a large part of the volatile compounds will be released.” For anyone who hasn’t used a menstrual cup, it is standard cleaning procedure to boil your cup before and after your period, so this is good news.

Cup companies respond. . .

After reading Sanz’s article I wrote to four menstrual cup companies of the seven listed in the Danish study: Ruby Cup, Organicup, Lunette and Me Luna (at my menstrual workshops I have samples from all four of these brands). They sent me the following information about the regulation and safety of their menstrual cups. Continue reading. . .

☽ february 2019 ☽

this blog post is all about menstrual art + comes from Ellen O'Sullivan! Ellen walks us through the history of menstrual art arguing that what sets it "apart from most other art movements in history is the fact that it appears to be almost entirely populated by women. In a world where men have always been the primary creators, this is nothing short of revolutionary." Read on to learn more!

“If you think you are emancipated, you might consider the idea of tasting your own menstrual blood if it makes you sick, you’ve a long way to go, baby” [1]

Germaine Greer’s immortal words are mirrored in this 2009 work of Ingrid Berthon-Moine, entitled Red is the Colour. The piece depicts twelve women wearing their menstrual blood as lipstick, staring defiantly out at the viewer. The artist took her inspiration from tribal cultures such as the Dieri and other Aboriginal peoples, who celebrate the coming of their periods by using the blood as a cosmetic item. Each of the photographs is titled with a different colour of red commonly found at beauty counters.

Artists using their menstrual blood as a subject and a medium has been a prevalent idea in feminist art circles since the early 1970’s. As it’s popularity grew in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, this type of art became known as Menstrala art (coined from Vanessa Tiegs’ project of 88 paintings produced in the year 2000) . However, the development of the movement has never been documented properly, and because of it’s somewhat taboo associations, it is often dismissed by the art world as gimmicky and attention seeking. Menstrala art has also come under fire for being a somewhat exclusionary movement, centering around the artistic expression of predominantly young, white, middle-class, cisgender women. Continue reading...

☽ november 2018 ☽

the first blog post in the MÍOSTA collection comes from the awesome Katie Freeney of TAME : : Why We Need to Start Talking About Periods, Period. Katie talks all about using a menstrual cup for the first time, Irish sex ed, smashing menstrual stigma and includes interviews with Homeless Period Ireland and Sarah from Talking About Sex with Parents!

I got my first period when I was 11. On Midsummer’s Eve. My mam and I thought this was pretty romantic. Since then I’ve had my share of embarrassing period stories. From countless soiled sheets and seats to a pair of white trousers at a London fashion show. If the makeup artist that saved me with makeup wipes, soap, and warm water is reading this THANK YOU. And yes, that is your best quick trick to get a fresh period stain out of your clothes. Even white.

When I was 15 my boyfriend told me periods are disgusting and I didn’t know any better than to believe him. It was years before I was able to talk about periods in front of men. When I was 17 I moved out of home to Dublin and I recall being embarrassed that my friend kept her tampons on show in the bathroom for our male friends to see. I kept mine hidden. Continue reading...