Project Lunar: “Menstruation is not, never has been, and never will be a quintessentially womanly experience. “

In this blog, Kasey, a non-binary person, speaks out about why we need more inclusive discussions about menstruation. (TW: rape & gender dysphoria)

I am a non-binary person, and I menstruate. And, as it turns out, I sometimes (read: often) find myself excluded from conversations about menstruation. Because I am living in a cissexist world, and from a cissexist perspective (i.e. one in which trans people don’t really exist), only women menstruate. And from a cissexist perspective, it’s funny sometimes to speculate about what it would be like “if men had periods”.

Newsflash: men do, sometimes, have periods. And that experience can be fraught enough for them, as menstruation is often a dysphoria trigger for trans men and other transmasculine people, without also making them the butt of jokes that erase their experiences entirely.

Menstruation is not, never has been, and never will be a quintessentially womanly experience. It’s not the exclusive domain of women, and it’s not even an experience all women have in their lives, whether because they are trans, or because they have a medical reason why they simply don’t menstruate. And it is important to remember that.

At the same time, I see many cis women’s frustration when this is pointed out to them. And I get it, because y’all have some very real beefs with the way periods are treated, the way we are all expected to keep them so super secret and make sure that cis men (delicate flowers that they are) are never reminded that this extremely normal bodily function exists. Your frustration is valid.

And yes, these issues are very much women’s issues. I’m not even remotely going to argue they aren’t – the secrecy and fear and misinformation that surrounds menstruation in popular culture are all part and parcel of misogyny, and of patriarchy – those of us who menstruate but aren’t women are, to some extent, collateral damage in this arena.

But that doesn’t make it ok to erase us from existence in this arena any more than it is ok to do so in any other context. Trans people’s existence is so often and so easily forgotten in conversations among cisgender feminists, and it really isn’t ever ok.

I’m not asking you not to be angry (I am angry right along with you, trust me!), nor am I saying you can’t talk about menstruation, or even frame it as a women’s issue. But I am asking you to be more thoughtful in the way you talk about these issues. If you can talk about other women’s issues that don’t exclusively impact women, in a way that centres women without erasing the other people affected (rape culture comes to mind – you don’t often, or ever, see people forgetting that people of any gender can and do experience rape) you can do the same with menstruation.


About Kasey:

Kasey is a non-binary librarian on the asexual spectrum. They write about their experiences around these and other aspects of their identity, as well as other social justice issues, at Valprehension. You can also follow them on Twitter and Tumblr


If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.

"I Don't Only Have Glitter in My Veins", 2013

Project Lunar: Another Bodily Function

In this blog, Brenda talks about periods and the frustration it causes when people are grossed out by such a natural bodily function…

For whatever reason, periods provoke squeamishness and disgust in its purest and most extreme form. Why? I do not know. Periods are just that, periods. It’s natural, it’s a part of human nature, and it’s just the way bodies function. It’s pretty much the same concept as the way our fingers move typing on a keyboard or the way our eyebrows scrunch together in disdain or confusion. It’s just natural, end of story.

For this reason, I never understood why periods were and are such a taboo topic. Is it the fact that blood is literally pouring out of our vaginas? Is it the fact that it’s just that, blood? Is it the fact that the first drop of blood in between our legs is the surefire sign that puberty is coming our way? What is the reason for the appalled reactions at the sound of “period?”

I mean, you’d think that the fact that more than half of the world’s population goes through periods that it wouldn’t be considered taboo but apparently it is. Maybe time hasn’t progressed enough to forget the ridiculous and totally false concept that  people who had periods were summoned by the devil. I definitely do not think that those who have periods are demonic because, well, it’s just not true. But it also might be that periods are considered unclean and simply dirty, which is also not true. Yes, there may be a bloody mess in the bathroom one day or another but it’s natural!

Despite all the shame or embarrassment that MAY come with a period, it all comes down to the fact that periods are natural and there really is nothing to be ashamed about, especially if more than ONE-HALF of the people on earth go through it.


About Brenda Liang

“I’m Brenda Liang, a 16 year old blogger over at Just as a little ice breaker, here’s a few facts about me.

  1. I take short (3 minute) showers.
  2. I relish in nothing more than taking my bra off after a long day.
  3. I find so much joy and glory in putting on my makeup.”

You can follow Brenda on Twitter here. 


If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.


A big thank you to Georgia Grace Gibson for the feature image for this post: “I Don’t Only Have Glitter in My Veins”, 2013


Project Lunar: “We are out here; men and nonbinary folk who have periods”


In this blog, Nixon talks about men and nonbinary people who get periods and encourages us to challenge our assumptions… (TW: gender dysphoria & self-harm)

As a man, society looks at me and expects me to approach the topic of menstruation with the same air of mystery and squeamishness that most men have about the subject, and expect me to never comprehend the torture of cramps and passing clots. And why not? Menstruation is such a taboo topic in most western cultures that I know many girls from conservative families that had their cycles sprung upon them with no preparation from their parents at all, so it would make sense that as a man, I’d have less than spectacular insight as to woes of those who bleed.

I am, however, a trans man. To paraphrase liberally from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, “If you put a uterus in me, do I not bleed?” (Oh yes, yes I do)

For the unaware, trans men are those of us who were incorrectly assigned female at birth. We came out, the doctor/midwife saw a vulva and proudly proclaimed to our parents, “It’s a girl!” Genitals, however, do not a gender make. So out I came, the doctor announced my girlhood to the room, and on we went from there. Including all the wonderful trauma that happens to a 9 year old boy who gets his first period. It’s shocking, I imagine, for everyone who gets their first menses, but my first period sent me reeling. Until then I’d been able to live inside a bubble where I was just like my brothers—strong, athletic, brash…the first sight of blood between my legs was (and continues to be) the ultimate act of my body betraying itself. The dysphoria that would come with every cycle would send me reeling, thinking thoughts of self-harm and wishing—PRAYING—that I’d get uterine cancer and have to have it out.

I’m not sure how other people feel about their periods, but during that time I can’t really cope with much. In the past, suicide has seemed like a legit option. It’s hard to feel manly when you’re doing what the world thinks of, aside from giving birth, as the womanliest thing on earth there is to do. And that disconnect is painful in a real way. It’s encoded in our language—we call pads and tampons “feminine hygiene products,” we call it “lady days,” and “my womanly time” to avoid calling it what it is. You can’t go into the men’s restroom at a bar and get a tampon, and if you could, you can’t dispose of it in the stall, since men’s stalls typically lack the little garbage can women’s stalls enjoy.

As a man who has periods if I can’t take my testosterone on schedule (which is sometimes the case if money is tight. The kids need to eat more than I need that medicine), I have to face down the task of buying, and using, menstrual products in a world that defaults to “only women have periods.” It’s a painful reality to live in, and it’s simply wrong. We are out here, men and nonbinary folk who have periods. To assume that the man in front of you can’t possibly relate is simply not always true. We exist. We feel your (cramping) pain—literally and metaphorically.

So throw an extra tampon or two in your bag the next time you go out…there may be a bloke at the bar who is smack dab in the middle of his shark week and needs you to throw him a lifeline.


About Nixon VanJustice

Nixon VanJustice is a pretty much the luckiest partner and father in the world. He’s been in love with his partner since they were 11 years old, and together they have two epic tiny humans and an Italian Mastiff. I guess you could say he’s pretty average for the typical American guy, insofar as guys whose parents thought they were little girls growing up.

Follow him on twitter: @NixRedux!


If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.


Project Lunar: Health and Fitness whilst on your period..

This post was written by Ellie Abel. I asked Ellie to write about her experience and expertise around health and fitness* whilst on your period..

The dreaded time of the month, when your period hits. You get stomach cramps, bloating and you crave everything in sight, staying healthy can be a major test of your willpower. Not all is lost, if you can make a few adjustments to your eating habits, you don’t have to suffer that one week of a month.

When on your period, there are a few simple things you can do to help you through this time of the month, for example eating smaller portions more frequently. This will help to reduce your cravings and keep you at a happy medium of satisfaction. Also helping with any sickness you may get from cramps.

You should also be eating lean protein and fibre to help you blood sugar remain stable, which ultimately will help with your cravings. Again eating and drinking frequently will also help with your bloating as this relates to what you eat. If you drink sugary, carbonated drinks you will bloat more. You want to be looking for low salt foods plus whole foods such as nuts, fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid processed and packaged goods.

It is also very important to keep your iron levels up. During our periods many of us lack the appropriate iron levels because we lose a lot of it when menstruating. You may find you crave more meat, like hamburgers but there are healthier choices. For example, you can have lentils, spinach, white rice, kidney beans or tomatoes to name a few.

Another little hint, is to drink some caffeine first thing in the morning! Coffee is a great choice as it does have some health benefits but you can also get your caffeine kick from fruit teas, especially green tea. Not only that but green tea is great for bloating and speeding up your metabolism which will aid weight loss.

 Now to talk about exercise! A lot of us will avoid the gym during our periods but really it’s a great idea as studies have shown that people feel better when moving whilst on their periods. Being active can actually help the overall feeling of your periods, less cramping and a less heavy flow. Not only does sweating help to eliminate excess water, which helps resolve bloating, but endorphins also help to take your mind of any pain. The best form of exercise to do is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). If you’re feeling groggy and tired exercise is always a great way for overcoming this and actually can give you more energy, try working out first thing in the morning, setting you up for the day.

 Many people will also pop a few paracetamol to help relieve the pain of cramps during their period but exercising is a great natural way to combat this. If you prefer to do something a little less intense, then Yoga is for you. Relaxing your body can help with your flow and there are certain positions to help with back pain and relive cramps.

About Ellie Abel

Founder of Sculpting the Elite You. Sculpting the Elite You is a health and fitness page that I have put together to help promote and inspire a healthy lifestyle as well as to promote my product. I have recently had a re-brand from Sculpting the New You to Sculpting the Elite you to tie in my business team more, so apologies for the different names in my links.

Twitter: @SculptingtheEliteYou

If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.


*DISCLAIMER: this post does not include medical advice. As with any form of exercise or changes to your diet, please consult a doctor or health care professional.


Project Lunar: PMS; It’s Not Just Big Pants and Cadburys  

In this blog, Caitlin talks about PMS and sex education…

It is a Sunday evening and I’m sat on my sofa waiting for my weekly food shop to be delivered. The day so far has been very relaxed, a good day. However I keep getting waves of anxiety and sadness, sometimes bubbling over into anger.

This week is the week I commonly refer to as ‘crazy week’. It’s the week leading up to my period and over the years I’ve come to accept that I’m going to feel a little out of sorts during this time.

‘Out of sorts’ is perhaps an understatement for how I actually feel, have felt during this time. I have memories of crying on my bathroom floor because I feel ‘too fat’ to go out and see friends, standing at train platforms wandering towards and over the yellow line, sitting at work feeling completely incapable of making that client phone call.

PMS, premenstrual syndrome, the name for the physical and emotional symptoms that occur a week or two before a period, that’s what I’m talking about here. 

I really resent referring to it as PMS because of the connotations that society has put on it; big pants, chocolate, an unpredictable temperament, a loss of control. The words that are whispered with a knowing wink when a person is acting ‘irritable’, “Psst, I think it’s their ‘time of the month’”. Everything about that makes me wriggle in my seat and clench my fist.

This is another example of how society puts people in boxes when there is an element of them that is ‘other’. To make themselves feel comfortable about it, they create a caricature of what a person on their period is like, poke fun at it and move on with their lives.

This is not enough. It can’t be. Statistically there are around 33 million people that have periods in the UK alone. 

These people are parents, carers, civil servants, athletes, politicians, service people and they are dealing with psychological and behavioural symptoms on a monthly basis and we make no room for that.

A company in Bristol, Coexist, attempted to tackle this by introducing a ‘Period Policy’ which allows staff to go home when struggling with period symptoms, particularly physical pain.

Director Bea Baxter spoke about how we don’t fully understand the impact of periods and claimed that “When [women] are having their periods they are in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies. The spring section of the cycle, immediately after a period, is a time when [women] are actually three times as productive as usual.”

Personally this rings true for me. However whilst it is refreshing to see a boss, albeit someone who experiences periods themselves, to attempt to make a positive change, I think this actually causes more discrimination and ultimately embarrassment.

We need to go right back to basics and change the way we talk about periods

Sexual education should be more than just about how to put in a tampon. Remember doing sexual education at primary school and being separated by perceived gender, taken to separate rooms and being told what puberty would be like for you?

I remember sitting on an itchy blue carpet staring up at my teacher as she told me about the different forms of sanitary protection and tentatively described how and where the hair would start to grow on my body. I don’t know whether this is actually the case, or if this is a fabricated memory, but I remember my teacher whispering these precious nuggets of information to me, as though it was a secret. I felt embarrassed and ashamed.

Why were we separated by gender for these conversations? It would have been so much more helpful to understand what everybody would experience, remove the taboo, banish the embarrassment and lay it all out there.

I wish at that point, we had all sat in a big room together and were just told the complete truth. An open, inclusive conversation that covered both the physical and psychological impacts of puberty and being a human.

And what I wish most is that we were taught to respect one another and ourselves enough to feel that we never had to hide these symptoms.

I, for one, talk openly about my experience of PMS and I never hide my tampon up my sleeve when nipping to the loo in the office and that is what I will carry on doing to try and tackle this taboo in my own small way.

Follow Caitlin on Twitter: @Caitlin_AW


If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.


Project Lunar: On the Job

This post was written by Eleanor Owens. I asked her to write a bit about how having a period impacts her at work…

Physical labour is required of me day in day out – I can’t really afford to take 3-5 days off each month because I have my period. When you’re on your period, it can make it harder to go to work as you’re more fatigued and generally uncomfortable. Work I have to do includes prolonged standing, using my stomach muscles and bending/stooping down. These kinds of activities can have negative impacts on your body whilst you’re menstruating; 4-6 hours of excessive exercise per day requires a lot of energy. This means that I have to consume healthy and nourishing foods that will fuel my body correctly; without this, it could cause long term problems. No one wants to endure such problems if they can be avoided.

Manual labour is stereotyped as a “man’s job”. As I identify as a woman, therefore not conforming to this stereotype, some wrongly assume I am ‘weaker’ and less capable of doing the work. I have to fight this ideology every day and constantly prove I am more than capable to my clients; this becomes considerably harder when I am inhibited by my period once a month. I don’t want to be given ‘allowances’ by kind clients when I am struggling as it makes me feel patronised; especially when I am already fighting to compete in my male dominated industry.

As a start-up business I don’t have all the power tools used in horticulture that would potentially make life easier on the job. This increases my manual work load and clients often tell me they’d rather ‘get a man in’ than trust my skill level. This is increasingly frustrating. How am I meant to prove them wrong whilst battling my period that can make me feel weak and defeated?

On the plus side, there are many benefits of exercising whilst you’re menstruating as it relieves cramping, pain and bloating by regulating blood circulation throughout your body. I often feel happier and I find it easier to sleep after working through my period. Working outside allows me to walk and stretch, removing most cramping pain; unlike people who remain sat down in an office throughout their period whom don’t have the opportunity to stretch and walk about as much. Working in the fresh air also extinguishes head aches and any feelings of sickness.

I am very lucky to work in the sector I do, but I am still learning how to make it more comfortable whilst I am on my period. I am exploring alternatives to tampons such as using a moon cup; as it is so much better for your body and the environment. I am also keen to voice the issues I’ve touched on today for other people who have periods in my industry.



About Eleanor Owens

Eleanor started her business in 2015, delivering garden maintenance and design services in West Sussex. She is passionate about challenging the sexist practices within the Horticulture industry and is also keen to inspire young people to get involved in gardening.

Check out her website and follow her on twitter @eogardening.



If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.


Project Lunar: So, periods.

I have been wanting to write about periods for the long time, however I was hesitant to voice my opinion. We have all been socially conditioned to not talk about messy topics. The tricky topics that might make people feel uncomfortable. But the more I thought and read about menstruation, the angrier I got that we are discouraged to talk about something that affects SO many people, every single day.

It’s a big issue and it’s difficult for me (and my team of guest bloggers) to summarise what we have to say. In my contribution to Project Lunar, I am going to cover 3 mini topics. Here we go!

  1. Periods are not just blood

People who get periods will often experience a variety of symptoms for the duration of their cycle. Periods impact people physically and emotionally. Therefore it can influence your behaviour at school, work and university. Your period can also have consequences for your relationships with others. Physical symptoms can leave you feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious. I don’t think the solution is “special treatment” such as the controversial Menstrual Leave that has been introduced in some organisations. However, I think more acknowledgement of periods and how they affect individuals is really important – particularly in circumstances where your performance is being monitored. This does not mean it is acceptable for others (especially people who DO NOT get periods) to make comments about someone’s behaviour e.g. “Are you coming on your period? You seem really angry…” etc. Inclusive design springs to mind as a solution for this issue. Making workplaces and education and environment where everyone can thrive. This includes when people get periods.

  1. Silence = lack of education

By making any topic a taboo, you limit the opportunity for debate and discussion. Menstruation falls into this category. I remember being split up into “boys” and “girls” in primary school to be taught about tampons and pads. This was problematic for a number of reasons. First of all, any divide based on the non-existent binary gender system is inaccurate and can trigger dysphoria. Secondly, people who don’t get periods should still be taught about them. How menstruation works, what to use, how to look after yourself. Because even if you don’t get periods, you will definitely come across someone who does.

  1. We need more gender inclusive period chat

All this talk of “real women have periods” and “Let’s talk about the time of the month, ladies” is exclusive for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s not just women who get periods. Without going into the spectrum of genders, there are lots of people who do not identify as women who get periods. For example, non-binary individuals. When we talk about periods as a “women’s issue”, we can trigger dysphoria and exclude lots of people, despite menstruation being an issue that so many of us deal with. There are also people who identify as women who don’t get periods. Another problem with making period chat exclusive, is that it inhibits conversations and debate. If we want to lift the stigma heavily weighing on this topic, we need to get people (regardless of identity) to talk openly about it.

A simple solution to this problem is to always use inclusive language. Switch pronouns to “they” and say “people” instead of women. You should avoid making assumptions, often we humans surprise each other.


I could have covered many other topics. For example, the tampon tax and how ridiculous it is that decisions that affect people with periods are being made by a majority of people who don’t have periods. Maybe I will discuss these issues a little later, however in the meantime I have lots of guest bloggers lined up to discuss all things periods and I am really excited for you to read their pieces – enjoy!


If you would like to contribute your own piece or share your ideas, let us know in the comments or tweet them to me: @maldrichwincer.







Project Lunar: Periods & Politics

Over the next few weeks a team of guest bloggers and I will be exploring menstruation, gender, feminism and a little bit of politics: Project Lunar. 

The series has been designed to be as inclusive as possible, however if you read something you’re not happy about – please contact me! We are always looking to learn and to become more educated people.

If you’ve got a blog or response you’d like to submit, just drop me a message in the comments!


With much excitement and mooncups at the ready… Let’s do this.

Graphic by Brenda Liang

GUEST BLOG: “Makeup & Feminism” By Brenda Liang

In this blog I would like to introduce Brenda Liang. I asked Brenda to share her thoughts on her relationship with makeup and feminism:

“Molly was so generous and kind to offer me a guest blog on her inspirational blog so here I am. Oh wait, let me introduce myself, duh! I’m Brenda Liang, a 16 year old blogger over at Just as a little ice breaker, here’s a few facts about me.

  1. I take short (3 minute) showers.
  2. I relish in nothing more than taking my bra off after a long day.
  3. I find so much joy and glory in putting on my makeup.

And…that’s all you need to know. So let’s backtrack to number 3 really quickly because a topic that is overseen often times is the connection (or lack thereof) between feminism and makeup.

Here’s my thing: I’m a feminist. I believe in equal rights. I know, how far-fetched. If you are a feminist too, or have even said something in the remote realm of feminism, I’m sure you’ve heard comments like “man-hater” etc, etc. But a new comment that Molly opened my eyes to is such of: “Wearing makeup makes you a bad feminist.” What…?

My first instinct was a crinkled forehead and a sharp inhale. I was taken aback. I mean what does makeup have to do with feminism? Absolutely nothing. Feminism means equality for women and men. There is nothing about makeup in relation to feminism because makeup is a personal choice, a daily decision. Makeup is about my face and how it looks when I first wake up. Makeup is about the inevitable bags under my eyes. Makeup is about the newborn family of pimples that decided to take a journey down my face. Makeup, however, is not about my beliefs towards equality.

To be brutally honest, it’s no secret that the beauty and makeup industry has contributed to making women think they have to look a certain way. But I think a fair portion of the industry has been revolutionized for the better. There are many brands like Glossier, Josie Maran, Milk Makeup and more that embody an empowering effect rather than a self-deprecating and sexist effect. While you can look through the brands’ websites and read their philosophies, all I need to do is use the product and know that, “Wow, this isn’t making me look like the model in the magazine but the more polished version of myself.”

Now, people either wear makeup for themselves or for other people. And at this point, yes, makeup and the overall beauty industry was born from the marriage of both sexism and capitalism, but people, like myself, wear makeup anyways in spite of its roots because I’m not trying to fit into the (beauty) criteria the media has molded for women today.

I wear makeup sometimes because I like the way it makes my non-existent lashes visible to the human eye. I like makeup because of the way my highlighter catches the light. I like makeup because sometimes it makes me feel like the best version of myself. And I love makeup because I love the sense that I’m painting on my face, not to cover, but to enhance.

I do not wear makeup though, to impress the boys I see at my local Walgreens while picking up my much needed dose of tampons. I wear it for myself. And myself only. But I’m not a feminist for myself, rather for my fellow community of strong and powerful women and my sister, my mother, my grandmother, my future daughter, and generations of intelligent women to come.

Wearing makeup does not make me or anyone a bad feminist. There is just no correlation. None. Wearing makeup does not make me or anyone a good feminist either. Why is that though? Wearing makeup is neutral. NEUTRAL. It does not relate to anything other than the way one decides to present her or himself to the world on any given day.”


What are your thoughts on the beauty industry and makeup? Let us know in the comments or tweet your ideas to @maldrichwincer! 




IN: Labels

“Could you define your identity in one word? Maybe. Personally, I can’t. My identity is made up of lots of things. My occupation, family, educations, hobbies and values are all contributing factors to how I describe myself. I would say that it is near impossible to describe  yourself using any single category or label.

I recently attended an event which taught attendees how to design a ‘verbal business card’. In the professional world it’s really important to be able to articulate what you do in a quick and clear way when networking (your elevator pitch). You are competing against other candidates or potential service providers and you’re trying to sell your skills! In these circumstances, labels might be necessary.

We can’t get away from the fact that humans have this need to categorise. We categorise objects in order to understand and identify them. In the same way we categorise people, including ourselves, in order to understand social environments. When we are able to understand people and add some context, it tells us more about them and we learn more about ourselves. With categories come social norms and behaviours that allow us to assign others and ourselves to groups.

I have mixed feelings about this. Generally, without having to give it much thought, I would say I’m not a big fan of labelling other people. Those assumptions we make can be restrictive and oppressive. Stereotypes and presumptions are never good. For some people, categories or ‘labels’ are really important for their identity and where they feel that they belong. The difference here is that they are labelling themselves. The label is the choice of the individual to describe their own identity. When the label is being forced upon them by another person and society, this is where it gets dangerous.

For me, whether or not a label is a good thing depends on its purpose and who is benefitting from it. If it helps an individual learn to love themselves and have a sense of belonging, I am all for it! If the label is pushed onto an individual, born from ignorance and laziness, I’m not a fan.

“My sexuality is not the most important thing about me”
Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black

Another important thing to remember when talking about labels is that we can all have more than one. We all belong to a diverse range of categories. It can be really frustrating when others fixate on one label you identify with. Labels and categories are rarely mutually exclusive. Allow yourself and others to explore different labels. These can also change over time, identities (whether that be sexuality, gender, religion or values) will grow and develop as you do.

We are all complex beings, made up of a mass of contradictions and that’s a big part of what makes humans so beautiful.”

I am thrilled to be able to say that this article was published in the first edition of the #THISISME magazine! Read more about it here.