The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies

Publication date: 2020

Edited by Chris Bobel · Inga T. Winkler Breanne Fahs · Katie Ann Hasson Elizabeth Arveda Kissling · Tomi-Ann Roberts The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies Chris Bobel · Inga T. Winkler · Breanne Fahs · Katie Ann Hasson · Elizabeth Arveda Kissling · Tomi-Ann Roberts Editors The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies Editors Chris Bobel Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies University of Massachusetts Boston Boston, MA, USA Inga T. Winkler Institute for the Study of Human Rights Columbia University New York, NY, USA Breanne Fahs Women and Gender Studies & Social and Cultural Analysis Arizona State University Glendale, AZ, USA Elizabeth Arveda Kissling Women’s & Gender Studies Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA, USA ISBN 978-981-15-0613-0 ISBN 978-981-15-0614-7 (eBook) © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020. This book is an open access publication. Open Access This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this book are included in the book’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the book’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover image: © Jen Lewis This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore Katie Ann Hasson Center for Genetics and Society Berkeley, CA, USA Tomi-Ann Roberts Department of Psychology Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO, USA v Acknowledgments A book project of this scope and scale requires the creativity, grit, tenacity, and goodwill of legions—more than can be properly acknowledged here. Our exhaustive outreach depended on many intersecting networks of countless scholars, advocates, and others who helped connect us with the right person to write the right piece at the right time. We know that every chapter in this book is possible because of the labor of many and we regret that we cannot list each of these behind-the-scenes helpers. But we will take a moment to explicitly name a few people and organizations whose support of this project was invaluable. Sharra Vostral helped conceive the rationale and framework for this handbook. Her visionary work crafting the proposal for this Handbook set the project in motion, and now, several years later, we remain in her debt. Our thanks also go to the anonymous peer reviewers who provided incisive feedback [and encouragement] at both proposal and clearance review stages. They, too, helped shape this Handbook. We leaned heavily on several editors and editorial assistants along the way. In the early days, Michelle Chouinard managed the communication and organization of our call for proposals. Trisha Maharaj, Victoria Miller, Laura Charney, and Sydney Amoakoh provided invaluable support for many chap- ters. During the final and all-important stage of preparing the book for production, Sydney Amoakoh also single-handedly managed the abstracts, bios, images, figures and tables, and various consent forms plus more for more than 130 contributors. Her calm efficiency and capacity to track detail is a marvel. We also benefited from the hand of Dakota Porter, who stepped in to help with myriad administrative tasks in the last phase of manuscript preparation. Many thanks also to Virginia Roaf who provided editorial sup- port and special appreciation to the peerless Perri Schenker whose invaluable editorial skills were essential to producing this resource. Others who stepped in at key moments include Adrian Jjuuko, Marcy Darnovsky, the Center for Genetics and Society, Radu Dondera, Dawn Dow, and Anna Krakus. We thank them each. We also note with gratitude the team at Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature, especially Holly Tyler who first pitched the idea of a handbook to Chris with irresistible enthusiasm, and Joshua Pitt who succeeded her and walked with us throughout the subsequent years of this project. He and edi- torial assistant Sophie Li responded to every query—the trivial, the profound, and the anxious–with equanimity and unflagging support for our vision for this book. “Thank you” is too small a phrase. Finally, we appreciatively acknowledge those who donated resources to support the book. First, we thank artist Jen Lewis, self-described ‘menstrual designer’ whose arresting 2015 macrophotograph “The Crimson Wave” (2015) graces our cover. Second, we express our gratitude to our gener- ous funders—the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University through its Working Group on Menstrual Health and Gender Justice and the University of Massachusetts Boston Periodic Multi-Year Review Fund. Without their support, we would not have been able to meet our ambitious goal of publishing this robust and richly diverse body of work. And above all, we express our sincerest gratitude to the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council whose abiding belief in the value of this book enabled us to not only engage crucial editorial help, but also covered the fees necessary to make the digital edition permanently open access world- wide. From the very beginning, our fervent hope for this book was that it function as a reliable and accessible ‘go to’ resource for the widest possible audience, and WSSCC’s generosity makes this truly possible. Thank you! vi ACKNOWLEDGMENTS vii About the cover: beAuty in blood— A mAcrophotogrAphic lens on menstruAtion, body politics, And visuAl Art “The Crimson Wave” (2015) exemplifies the Beauty in Blood collection, my feminist, bioartography project that seeks to confront social taboos pertaining to menstruation and the female body through macrophotography of men- strual fluid. I challenge the notion that menstruation is “gross,” “vulgar,” or “unrefined” through candid, real-life photos of my menstrual blood which force viewers to see and think about menstruation in an entirely new way. There is an abstract artistic quality when blood meets water that warrants a closer look not only by women but also by society as a whole. Capturing the artful quality of this natural occurrence is my way of progressing society’s view and conversation around menstruation as well as redefining some traditional fine art aesthetics. In my opinion, society’s squeamishness about menstruation is completely ridiculous considering its graphic consumption of bloodshed through vio- lence in pop culture entertainment, that is, blood sports like boxing, hockey, and wrestling; video games like Call of Duty; shows and movies like Dexter and Twilight; and even the news media. Pacifying social taboos only serves to give more power to society than to the self, and as women we have done that for far too long. My work quashes this taboo, reclaims feminine power, and puts menstruation in the context it so rightly deserves. Creating each piece of work is a four-step process: media (aka blood/men- strual fluid) collection, design layout (aka pouring), photoshoot, and finally photo selection. The images of menstrual fluid are obtained in two different manners. During the early stages, we captured images by mounting a cam- era on a tripod and strategically angling it over the toilet bowl, so Rob, my husband, artistic collaborator and project photographer, could snap photos as soon as I poured the freshly collected menstrual fluid from my cup. After sev- eral shoots and a desire to capture more dynamic imagery, we began shooting in a small aquarium (about 15 gallons). Rob discovered a fluid photogra- phy technique that greatly improved our final designs. Both Rob and myself approach each shoot with an experimental spirit and love to play with varia- bles to see how it will effect the menstrual fluid’s movement in the water, for example, salt density, ratio of freshwater to saltwater, and tools to distribute the blood. The clarity of the final images can be credited to the use of saltwa- ter, which slows menstrual fluid movement, and macro lenses, which show us more than the naked eye can see. If I have learned anything over the past few years of producing Beauty in Blood it is that menstruation matters more than most people in society are willing to recognize; it is deeply embedded in our global body politics and is a major contributor to the vast gender inequity between men and women today. Institutionalized hierarchies maintain and support the outdated patri- archal belief that menstruation makes the female body inferior to the male body. Billions of dollars are spent annually trying to make women’s bodies conform to male “norms” by suppressing the natural menstrual cycle through hormonal birth control. The feminine “hygiene” industry perpetuates taboo thinking by suggesting the monthly cycle is dirty and socially impo- lite; it should be concealed in frilly pink wrappers like candy and only very loosely referenced with blue liquid in product commercials. In my experience, women and men are hungry for an authentic dialogue about menstruation and all that encompasses. It is clear the time is now to stand up and speak out on behalf of men- struation. It is a natural, messy but beautiful part of life, and just because it is not a shared experience doesn’t mean it needs to be a divisive topic that aids gender inequity. Beauty in Blood asserts that menstruation needs to be seen to help normalize the menstruating body and to acknowledge this part of the menstruator’s life experience by inviting the viewer to take a closer look and reflect on their personal gut reactions to the subject of “menstruation.” Jen Lewis Menstrual Designer viii ABOUT THE COVER: BEAUTY IN BLOOD—A MACROPHOTOGRAPHIC … ix contents 1 Introduction: Menstruation as Lens—Menstruation as Opportunity 1 Chris Bobel Part I Menstruation as Fundamental 2 Introduction: Menstruation as Fundamental 9 Inga T. Winkler 3 Bleeding in Public? Rethinking Narratives of Menstrual Management from Delhi’s Slums 15 Annie McCarthy and Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt 4 The Realities of Period Poverty: How Homelessness Shapes Women’s Lived Experiences of Menstruation 31 Shailini Vora 5 Opinion: Prisons that Withhold Menstrual Pads Humiliate Women and Violate Basic Rights 49 Chandra Bozelko 6 Bleeding in Jail: Objectification, Self-Objectification, and Menstrual Injustice 53 Tomi-Ann Roberts 7 Navigating the Binary: A Visual Narrative of Trans and Genderqueer Menstruation 69 S. E. Frank and Jac Dellaria 8 The Human Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities: Sterilization and Other Coercive Responses to Menstruation 77 Linda Steele and Beth Goldblatt 9 Personal Narrative: Let Girls Be Girls—My Journey into Forced Womanhood 93 Musu Bakoto Sawo 10 “I Treat My Daughters Not Like My Mother Treated Me”: Migrant and Refugee Women’s Constructions and Experiences of Menarche and Menstruation 99 Alexandra J. Hawkey, Jane M. Ussher, and Janette Perz 11 Menstruation and Religion: Developing a Critical Menstrual Studies Approach 115 Ilana Cohen 12 Personal Narrative: Out of the Mikvah, into the World 131 Tova Mirvis 13 Personal Narrative: Caste Is My Period 137 Deepthi Sukumar 14 Menstrual Taboos: Moving Beyond the Curse 143 Alma Gottlieb 15 Transnational Engagements: Cultural and Religious Practices Related to Menstruation 163 Edited by Trisha Maharaj and Inga T. Winkler Part II Menstruation as Embodied 16 Introduction: Menstruation as Embodied 177 Tomi-Ann Roberts 17 The Menstrual Mark: Menstruation as Social Stigma 181 Ingrid Johnston-Robledo and Joan C. Chrisler x CONTENTS 18 The Menarche Journey: Embodied Connections and Disconnections 201 Niva Piran 19 Resisting the Mantle of the Monstrous Feminine: Women’s Construction and Experience of Premenstrual Embodiment 215 Jane M. Ussher and Janette Perz 20 Learning About What’s “Down There”: Body Image Below the Belt and Menstrual Education 233 Margaret L. Stubbs and Evelina W. Sterling 21 Living in Uncertain Times: Experiences of Menopause and Reproductive Aging 253 Heather Dillaway 22 The Womb Wanders Not: Enhancing Endometriosis Education in a Culture of Menstrual Misinformation 269 Heather C. Guidone 23 Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and the Myth of the Irrational Female 287 Sally King 24 The Sexualization of Menstruation: On Rape, Tampons, and ‘Prostitutes’ 303 Lacey Bobier 25 (In)Visible Bleeding: The Menstrual Concealment Imperative 319 Jill M. Wood 26 Transnational Engagements: From Debasement, Disability, and Disaster to Dignity—Stories of Menstruation Under Challenging Conditions 337 Edited by Milena Bacalja Perianes and Tomi-Ann Roberts Part III Menstruation as Rationale 27 Introduction: Menstruation as Rationale 349 Breanne Fahs CONTENTS xi 28 If Men Could Menstruate 353 Gloria Steinem 29 Introducing Menstrunormativity: Toward a Complex Understanding of ‘Menstrual Monsterings’ 357 Josefin Persdotter 30 Empowered Bleeders and Cranky Menstruators: Menstrual Positivity and the “Liberated” Era of New Menstrual Product Advertisements 375 Ela Przybylo and Breanne Fahs 31 “You Will Find Out When the Time Is Right”: Boys, Men, and Menstruation 395 Mindy J. Erchull 32 Menstrual Shame: Exploring the Role of ‘Menstrual Moaning’ 409 Maureen C. McHugh 33 Becoming Female: The Role of Menarche Rituals in “Making Women” in Malawi 423 Milena Bacalja Perianes and Dalitso Ndaferankhande 34 Researcher’s Reflection: Learning About Menstruation Across Time and Culture 441 Sheryl E. Mendlinger 35 Transnational Engagement: Designing an Ideal Menstrual Health (MH) Curriculum—Stories from the Field 449 Breanne Fahs and Milena Bacalja Perianes Part IV Menstruation as Structural 36 Introduction: Menstruation as Structural 469 Inga T. Winkler 37 Practice Note: Why We Started Talking About Menstruation—Looking Back (and Looking Forward) with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation 475 Virginia Roaf and Catarina de Albuquerque xii CONTENTS 38 Policy and Practice Pathways to Addressing Menstrual Stigma and Discrimination 485 Archana Patkar 39 Menstrual Justice: A Missing Element in India’s Health Policies 511 Swatija Manorama and Radhika Desai 40 Practice Note: Menstrual Hygiene Management—Breaking Taboos and Supporting Policy Change in West and Central Africa 529 Rockaya Aidara and Mbarou Gassama Mbaye 41 U.S. Policymaking to Address Menstruation: Advancing an Equity Agenda 539 Jennifer Weiss-Wolf 42 Personal Narrative: Bloody Precarious Activism in Uganda 551 Stella Nyanzi 43 Addressing Menstruation in the Workplace: The Menstrual Leave Debate 561 Rachel B. Levitt and Jessica L. Barnack-Tavlaris 44 Monitoring Menstrual Health in the Sustainable Development Goals 577 Libbet Loughnan, Thérèse Mahon, Sarah Goddard, Robert Bain, and Marni Sommer 45 Practice Note: Menstrual Health Management in Humanitarian Settings 593 Marianne Tellier, Alex Farley, Andisheh Jahangir, Shamirah Nakalema, Diana Nalunga, and Siri Tellier 46 Mapping the Knowledge and Understanding of Menarche, Menstrual Hygiene and Menstrual Health Among Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries 609 Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli and Sheila Vipul Patel CONTENTS xiii 47 Interventions to Improve Menstrual Health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Do We Know What Works? 637 Julie Hennegan 48 Transnational Engagements: Menstrual Health and Hygiene—Emergence and Future Directions 653 Edited by Victoria Miller and Inga T. Winkler Part V Menstruation as Material 49 Introduction: Menstruation as Material 669 Katie Ann Hasson 50 Of Mice and (Wo)Men: Tampons, Menstruation, and Testing 673 Sharra L. Vostral 51 Toxic Shock Syndrome and Tampons: The Birth of a Movement and a Research ‘Vagenda’ 687 Nancy King Reame 52 Measuring Menstruation-Related Absenteeism Among Adolescents in Low-Income Countries 705 Anja Benshaul-Tolonen, Garazi Zulaika, Marni Sommer, and Penelope A. Phillips-Howard 53 Practice Note: ‘If Only All Women Menstruated Exactly Two Weeks Ago’: Interdisciplinary Challenges and Experiences of Capturing Hormonal Variation Across the Menstrual Cycle 725 Lauren C. Houghton and Noémie Elhadad 54 Monitoring Menses: Design-Based Investigations of Menstrual Tracking Applications 733 Sarah Fox and Daniel A. Epstein 55 “Life is Much More Difficult to Manage During Periods”: Autistic Experiences of Menstruation 751 Robyn Steward, Laura Crane, Eilish Mairi Roy, Anna Remington, and Elizabeth Pellicano xiv CONTENTS 56 Not a “Real” Period?: Social and Material Constructions of Menstruation 763 Katie Ann Hasson 57 Painting Blood: Visualizing Menstrual Blood in Art 787 Ruth Green-Cole 58 To Widen the Cycle: Artists Engage the Menstrual Cycle and Reproductive Justice 803 Curated and Edited by Jen Lewis 59 The Modern Way to Menstruate in Latin America: Consolidation and Fractures in the Twenty-First Century 813 Eugenia Tarzibachi 60 Challenging the Menstruation Taboo One Sale at a Time: The Role of Social Entrepreneurs in the Period Revolution 833 Maria Carmen Punzi and Mirjam Werner 61 Transnational Engagements: Smashing the Last Taboo—Caring Corporations in Conversation 853 Edited by Milena Bacalja Perianes Part VI Menstruation as Narrative 62 Introduction: Menstruation as Narrative 865 Elizabeth Arveda Kissling 63 Challenging Menstrual Normativity: Nonessentialist Body Politics and Feminist Epistemologies of Health 869 Miren Guilló-Arakistain 64 Menstrual Trolls: The Collective Rhetoric of Periods for Pence 885 Berkley D. Conner 65 Menstruation Mediated: Monstrous Emergences of Menstruation and Menstruators on YouTube 901 Lise Ulrik Andreasen CONTENTS xv 66 Rituals, Taboos, and Seclusion: Life Stories of Women Navigating Culture and Pushing for Change in Nepal 915 Jennifer Rothchild and Priti Shrestha Piya 67 From Home to School: Menstrual Education Films of the 1950s 931 Saniya Lee Ghanoui 68 Degendering Menstruation: Making Trans Menstruators Matter 945 Klara Rydström 69 Sex During Menstruation: Race, Sexual Identity, and Women’s Accounts of Pleasure and Disgust 961 Breanne Fahs 70 Normality, Freedom, and Distress: Listening to the Menopausal Experiences of Indian Women of Haryana 985 Vanita Singh and M. Sivakami 71 The Messy Politics of Menstrual Activism 1001 Chris Bobel and Breanne Fahs 72 Transnational Engagements: Women’s Experiences of Menopause 1019 Edited by Milena Bacalja Perianes and Elizabeth Arveda Kissling Index 1029 xvi CONTENTS xvii notes on contributors Jane Hartman Adamé is a customer engagement and user research professional and former hairdresser living with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder. Jane is a co-creator of FLEX Cup, an inclusively designed menstrual cup made in collaboration with Andy Miller, a medical device designer. Jane turns customers into co-designers from her home in Oakland, CA. Rockaya Aidara is a gender, equity, and human rights policy specialist with over 10 years’ experience in development and international cooperation. At the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council she designed and implemented the Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation, which used menstrual hygiene management as an entry point to address gen- der inequalities in WASH. Prior to joining WSSCC, Rockaya worked with the UN Agency on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the European Foundation FEDRE. She supported programs on women’s political participation, as well as advocacy campaigns on violence against women, peace and security, and climate change. Lise Ulrik Andreasen is a Ph.D. fellow at The Danish School of Education at Aarhus University, Denmark. Based on fieldwork, her Ph.D. project exam- ines lived and embodied experiences of young menstruators in Denmark. Lise’s research on menstruation and youth intertwines with her interests in feminist theories of gender, sexuality, science, methodologies, materiality, affect, politics, utopia, care, and ethics. She holds an M.A. in women’s studies from University College Cork, Ireland, and an M.A. in educational anthro- pology from Aarhus University. Lise is a member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark with her partner and two children. Robert Bain is a statistics specialist at UNICEF and has been a member of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene since 2014. Prior to joining UNICEF, he worked as a researcher for the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Bristol with a primary research focus on monitoring drinking water quality. Robert received his Master of Engineering from the University of Cambridge and MIT in 2008. Jessica L. Barnack-Tavlaris is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at The College of New Jersey; she teaches classes in health and social psychology, and research methods. Her research interests include atti- tudes toward menstruation, stigma toward women’s reproductive health, and the transition from infertility to motherhood. She is the book and media review editor for Women’s Reproductive Health, the official journal of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. Anja Benshaul-Tolonen has been an assistant professor of economics at Columbia University’s Barnard College since 2015, working on economic development and applied economics. One strand of her research focuses on health and gender, including menstruation and school absenteeism, stigma around menstruation, and household health investment and knowl- edge. Another strand focuses on natural resource extraction and how the sector interacts with local economic development, health, and gender. Her research methods include quasi-experimental analysis and randomized con- trol trials, and large datasets. She also teaches econometrics and development economics. Mayuri Bhattacharjee is a menstrual health educator and trainer who has reached more than 8000 menstruators through her Menstrual Health Workshops in Assam and West Bengal. As a changemaker of’s She Creates Change Fellowship, she runs a digital campaign called Dignity in Floods ( to build women-friendly flood relief shelters in Assam. She is a climate reality leader at The Climate Reality Project and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. She won the 2019 Ton Schouten Award for WASH storytelling from IRC WASH. Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch is a self-taught artist who sees beauty in common objects. She is known for creating art that is humorous and thought-provoking, and transforms everyday objects into something entirely different from their intended purpose with the goal of creating conversa- tions. Composed of hardware store finds, street debris, and stumbled upon items, her mixed-media sculptures draw upon the traditions of contemporary fiber arts and assemblage. Ingrid’s work has been collected by museums as far-reaching as Germany’s The Bikini Museum, Azerbaijan’s The Waste to Art Museum, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museums in Orlando and Los Angeles. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts with her husband, two teenage sons, and a parakeet. xviii NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS Chris Bobel is professor and chair of women’s, gender and sexuality stud- ies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Chris is the author of The Managed Body: Developing Girls and Menstrual Health in the Global South (Palgrave Macmillan), New Blood: Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation (Rutgers University Press), The Paradox of Natural Mothering (Temple University Press), the co-edited collections (with Samantha Kwan) Embodied Resistance: Breaking the Rules, Challenging the Norms, and Body Battlegrounds: Transgressions, Tensions and Transformations (both with Vanderbilt University Press). Chris is the past president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and a fellow of the Working Group on Menstrual Health & Gender Justice at Columbia University. She is often consulted by the mainstream media about the rapidly growing menstrual activist move- ment. She is at work on a new ethnographic project exploring contemporary activism inspired by grief and trauma. Lacey Bobier is a sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on adolescent girls, sexual subjectivity, and their roles in the gender power structure. Her previous publications examine early childhood sexuality education, while her current work considers the construction and reg- ulation of girls’ bodies through such mediums as magazines and school policies. Danielle Boodoo-Fortunè is a poet and visual artist from Trinidad and Tobago. Her first collection of poems, Doe Songs (Peepal Tree Press) was awarded the 2019 Bocas OCM Price in Poetry. Her paintings have been featured in numerous arts publications and exhibitions in the Caribbean and abroad. Gabriella Boros has shown her prints, paintings, and multimedia works nationally and internationally. Currently focusing on woodblock prints and handmade books, she also does nature photography, acrylic on wood panel, drawings, sculptures, and found object cheese boxes. Gabriella’s narratives reflect her European parentage, Israeli birth, and American childhood. Her latest works include a solo show at Stockholm’s Ze Zig Zag Zone and a print in the “Spinoza: Marrano of Reason” show in Amsterdam. In 2020, she will complete a residency at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, where she will create a series of installations commemorating Kentucky women and the native plants that represent them. Chandra Bozelko was the first incarcerated person to have a regular byline in a publication outside of prison. Her newspaper column, “Prison Diaries,” became an award-winning blog. She has won many awards and fellowships for her writing and criticism of the United States criminal justice system. Bozelko is now a syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate and serves as the vice president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Janelle Chambers is a mother of three children, two sons and a daughter. She identifies as a lesbian woman and is in a long-term relationship with a very loving wife. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xix Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli leads the work on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) in the World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research. His work includes building the evi- dence base on ASRH, and supporting countries to translate evidence into action through well-conceived and well-managed policies and programs. His experience is global in scope and spans over 30 years, during which he has contributed substantially to a number of WHO publications and the work of numerous national-level bodies and front-line organizations around the world. Dr. Chandra-Mouli has presented in global, regional, and national conferences, and (co)authored books, book chapters, articles, blog pieces, and around 90 peer-reviewed journal articles. Jieun Choi is a freelance journalist and videographer currently based in Seoul, South Korea. She finds beauty in telling stories of the unheard. With relentless curiosity, Jieun dives into various realms of the society in which she lives. Previously, she worked at a media startup, Korea Exposé, cover- ing mainly society, culture, and gender issues of the Korean Peninsula. She has experience working in arts and media scene in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Melbourne. Choi holds a B.A. in fine arts from the University of Hong Kong. Joan C. Chrisler is the Class of 1943 Professor Emerita of Psychology at Connecticut College, where she taught courses in gender, social, and health psychology. She is internationally known for her research and writing on the psychology of women and women’s health issues, including menstruation, PMS, body image, and aging. She is editor of the Women’s Reproductive Health journal. Her most recent books are The Routledge Handbook of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health (forthcoming), Woman’s Embodied Self: Feminist Perspectives on Identity and Image, and Lectures on the Psychology of Women. Ilana Cohen is an independent researcher. She holds an M.A. in anthro- pology and women, gender, and sexuality studies from Brandeis University, where she studied the menstrual hygiene management sector and menarche ceremonies in Tamil Nadu, India. She earned B.A.s in cultural anthropology and Jewish women and gender studies from the School of General Studies at Columbia University and List College at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is a research associate at Verité, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring safe, fair, and legal working conditions worldwide. Berkley D. Conner is a doctoral student in communication studies with a concentration in rhetoric and public advocacy at the University of Iowa. Her scholarship broadly examines health and medicine from a humanistic perspec- tive, particularly around cultural rhetorics of menstrual health. She is espe- cially interested in how menstruators’ subjectivities are negotiated between their capacity as regulated spaces and their capacity to weaponize their bodies for resistive purposes. Her current research explores medical and public dis- courses about various modes of menstrual management. xx NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS Laura Crane is an associate professor at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at UCL Institute of Education, where she is also deputy director. Laura’s work focuses on two main areas: the education and healthcare experiences of autistic people, their families and the professionals who work with them; and developing an evidence base to promote access to justice for witnesses on the autism spectrum (in both the criminal and family justice systems). Laura is a strong advocate of public engagement and com- munity outreach; ensuring that research is accessible to the public, to policy- makers, and—importantly—to the autistic community and their allies. Amina Darwish is the Muslim chaplain at Columbia University. She has received ijaza in Islamic studies and in the 10 Qira’at. She also studied indi- vidually with various Islamic scholars. She earned a B.S. in chemical engineer- ing from Kuwait University, an M.S. in industrial engineering and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati. She previously served as an adjunct professor in Islamic studies at Northern Kentucky University, the Muslim chaplain at the University of Cincinnati, and as the content development coordinator at the Muslim Youth of North America. She is the founder and CEO of Mercy in Action. Catarina de Albuquerque is chief executive officer for the global multi-stakeholder partnership, Sanitation and Water for All. From 2008 to 2014, she was the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation. Between 2004 and 2008 she presided over the negoti- ations of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the UN General Assembly approved by consensus on December 10, 2008. Ms. de Albuquerque was awarded the Human Rights Golden Medal by the Portuguese Parliament (December 10, 2009) for outstanding work in the area of human rights. Jac Dellaria is a queer, trans illustrator, and cartoonist currently based in Chicago, IL. His work focuses on his personal experiences with transitioning and managing the balance between one’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Jac studied comics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and also creates work under the name Wrigley. Jac’s art can be found at Radhika Desai has a Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her work spans women’s work, early childhood development, financial inclusion, livelihood promotion, microfinance, and entrepreneurship. Radhika has brought together knowledge and practice as a program man- ager, social impact and gender evaluation specialist, researcher, and teacher for postgraduate students of women’s studies. Her writings include Women’s Work Counts: Feminist Arguments for Human Rights at Work (PWESCR, 2015) and “Livelihoods of the Poor” in the 2011 State of India’s Livelihoods Report (SAGE Publications, 2011). NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxi Heather Dillaway is a professor of sociology, director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Program, and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Dillaway’s research focuses on women’s menopause experiences and the reproductive health experiences of women with physical disabilities. Anna Druet is a researcher, science and education manager at Clue, as well as a public health and femtech advocate. She aims to help people know more about their bodies and raise awareness of the central importance of reproduc- tive and biological autonomy to global welfare. Noémie Elhadad is an associate professor of biomedical informatics, affil- iated with Columbia University’s Computer Science and Data Science Institute. Her research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning, natural language processing, and medicine. She investigates ways in which observational clinical data and patient-generated data can enhance access to relevant information for clinicians, patients, and health researchers alike, and the ultimate potential of such access to impact healthcare and the health of patients. Daniel A. Epstein is an assistant professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. His research is in the area of human– computer interaction (HCI), where he studies how personal tracking tech- nology can acknowledge the realities of everyday life. He leverages this understanding to develop and evaluate new apps and interfaces which better account for those realities. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science and engi- neering from the University of Washington. Mindy J. Erchull is a professor of psychological science and a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Mary Washington. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Arizona State University. Her research focuses on the objectification and sexualization of women, feminist identity, division of labor and parenting, and women’s reproductive health. Her menstrual cycle research has largely focused on edu- cation about and attitudes toward menstruation and menstruators. Breanne Fahs is a professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University, where she specializes in studying women’s sexuality, crit- ical embodiment studies, radical feminism, and political activism. She has authored five books and three edited collections: Performing Sex, Valerie Solanas, Out for Blood, Firebrand Feminism, Women, Sex, and Madness, The Moral Panics of Sexuality, Transforming Contagion, and Burn it Down. She also works as a clinical psychologist in a private practice, where she specializes in sexuality, couples work, and trauma recovery. Johanna Falzone attributes her creative roots to growing up in the 90s under the influence of punk rock music, feminism, Nickelodeon cartoons, and Barbie. These forces have incited her attraction to pretty imagery ranging xxii NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS from the grotesque to the overtly feminine with whimsical nods to childhood in her paintings, illustrations, poetry, films, short stories, and screenplays. Johanna is also classically trained in ballet and modern dance. She attended Suzanne Farrell’s Young Dancer’s Workshop in 2007 and 2008; as well as Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s 2008 Summer Program. Currently based out of Florida, she remains a fierce Winnipeg Jets fan and Tim Hortons iced coffee and donut lover. Alex Farley has worked with WoMena as a research and project management officer. She holds an M.Sc. in African development from the London School of Economics, with a specialty in gender-sensitive humanitarian policy and programming. Sarah Fox is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human Computer Interaction Institute. Her research focuses on how technological artifacts challenge or propagate social exclusions by exam- ining existing systems and building alternatives. Her work has earned awards in leading computing venues, including ACM, CSCW, CHI, and DIS, and has been featured in the Journal of Peer Production, Design Issues, and New Media and Society. She holds a Ph.D. in human-centered design and engi- neering from the University of Washington. S. E. Frank is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the Department of Sociology. She currently studies menstruation in United States institutions, including law and the military. Sarah lectures for Madison’s Department of Legal Studies and Sociology and leads gradu- ate teaching trainings across the university. The present research on queer- ing menstruation won the Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honors Society Graduate Student Paper Award at the American Sociological Association in 2019 and the 3-Minute Thesis Competition at the Midwest Sociological Society in 2019. Follow her work at Rosa Freedman is the inaugural professor of law, conflict, and global devel- opment at the University of Reading. She received her LLB, LLM, and Ph.D. from the University of London, and is a member of Gray’s Inn, the UN Secretary-General’s Civil Society Advisory Board, and the UK Foreign Office’s Women Peace and Security Steering Committee. Freedman’s research and publications focus on the UN, particularly human rights bodies and sys- tems, peacekeeping, and accountability for human rights abuses commit- ted during such operations. Her publications include two monographs, two co-edited collections, and articles in the American Journal of International Law, European Journal of International Law, Leiden Journal of International Law, and Human Rights Quarterly, among others. Saniya Lee Ghanoui is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation is a transnational cultural his- tory that investigates the development of the movements for sex education NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxiii in the United States and Sweden from 1910 through 1962, the interactions between these two countries, and their signature method of education: the sex education film. Krystal Nandini Ghisyawan is an independent Indo-Caribbean, queer feminist scholar working in the areas of female same-sex desire, LGBTQI advocacy, and women in Hinduism. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of the West Indies and is a former postdoctoral associate at Rutgers University. She is a director on the board of the Silver Lining Foundation and has guided the organization’s research and development agenda since 2014. She is currently completing her manuscript, Erotic Cartographies: Mapping Caribbean Subjectivities, Spaces, and Queer Decolonial Praxis, which explores the space-making practices of same-sex loving women in Trinidad. Carla Giacummo has channeled her passion for promoting open discussion on menstruation and elevating it as a vital sign into building Eco-Ser in 2012. She has also been a Menstrupedia co-publisher for Spanish since 2015. She regards the platform as the perfect tool for girls around 9 to learn about peri- ods, and as an invaluable community of nonprofits, health institutions, teach- ers, doctors, and others who promote menstrual literacy in Latin America, the United States, Spain, and other countries worldwide. Driven by her love for the art of connection, Giacummo has also worked as an executive secretary, piloted her own clay atelier for children 10 and older, and is the mother of two boys. Sarah Goddard is a global health and international development profes- sional. Her work has focused on governance, health, water, and sanitation, and sustainable urban development in low- and middle-income countries. Sarah has a Master of Public Health and Master of Arts in international affairs from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree from Brown University. Beth Goldblatt is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and an honorary associate pro- fessor in the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She works on equality, human rights, comparative constitutional law and feminist legal theory, focusing on gender and poverty. She is the author of Developing the Right to Social Security—A Gender Perspective and co-editor of two collections on women’s social and economic rights. Beth is a member of the UTS Law Health Justice Research Centre and a co-convener of the UTS Feminist Legal Research Group. She previously worked as a researcher on disability issues. Alma Gottlieb is the (co)author/(co)editor of nine books. Gottlieb began her publishing career with Blood Magic: The Anthropology of Menstruation, an award-winning collection that helped inaugurate a modern, feminist xxiv NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS approach to menstruation cross-culturally. Gottlieb has held fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Social Science Research Council, and has held teaching/ research appointments at Princeton University, École des Hautes Études (Paris), Catholic University of Leuven, and elsewhere. A Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gottlieb is currently a Visiting Scholar in Anthropology at Brown University. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Virginia. Ruth Green-Cole is a mother, artist, curator, academic, curriculum devel- oper, educationalist, and the former director of the Whangarei Art Museum, a regional art gallery in Northland, New Zealand. Her research interests include the leaky and maternal body in contemporary art, the sacred feminine, gen- der studies, feminist theory, and contemporary and modern New Zealand art. She received a Master of Art with first-class honors in art history from the University of Auckland in 2014 for her thesis, “Visualising Menstruation: Gendered Blood in Contemporary Art.” Green-Cole posts about menstrua- tion and visual art on her blog at Heather C. Guidone is the program director of the Center for Endometriosis Care. For more than 25 years, she has focused on endometrio- sis education, research facilitation, policy reform, patient-centered care, health literacy, engagement and adherence, and more. A board-certified patient advocate and health educator, she serves on many councils, committees, and special interest groups on endometriosis, pelvic pain, gynepathologies, and women’s health issues, and has contributed to countless books, articles, and publications on these topics. She is active in several professional health organ- izations, including as a PCORI ambassador and contributing member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. Miren Guilló-Arakistain is a professor in the social anthropology pro- gram in the Department of Philosophy of Values and Social Anthropology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). She is a graduate of UPV-EHU in social and cultural anthropology and pedagogy and holds a master’s in feminist and gender studies. Her research interests are anthropol- ogy of medicine and health, social theory of the body, feminist epistemolo- gies, agency, and social change. Her forthcoming doctoral thesis examines the politics of menstruation, gender relations, identities, and corporalities. She is part of AFIT Feminist Anthropology Research Group at UPV-EHU. Katie Ann Hasson writes, speaks, researches, and teaches about the social and political aspects of human genetic and reproductive technologies. She is currently program director on genetic justice at the Center for Genetics and Society. Katie earned her Ph.D. in sociology with a designated emphasis in women, gender, and sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley, and was previously an assistant professor of sociology and gender studies at the University of Southern California. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxv Alexandra J. Hawkey is a postdoctoral researcher at the Translational Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, Australia. Her research interest is women’s sexual and reproductive health, including wom- en’s fertility and contraception choices, cancer screening and survivorship, sexuality, sexual health, and menstruation and menopause. Alex also has a special interest in working alongside marginalized communities, such as migrant and refugee women. Lubabah Helwani currently works in bioethics at the University of Southern California. Her educational background includes an M.S. in medi- cal and cultural anthropology from Harvard University, with a focus on wom- en’s menstrual health from the Ash-Sham region of Syria. Julie Hennegan is a research associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on menstrual health and hygiene, and the design and evaluation of complex social and behavio- ral interventions for women’s health. Julie holds a D.Phil. from the Centre for Evidence Based Intervention at the University of Oxford, an M.Sc. in evidence-based social intervention from the University of Oxford (UK), as well as a B.Psy.Sc. (Hons I) from the University of Queensland (Australia). Lauren C. Houghton first became interested in women’s health as an anthropologist when she learned women in the Global South menstru- ate three times less across their lifetimes than women in the Global North. In the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s School of Public Health, she now uses mixed-methods to understand how culture gets beneath the skin through hormones, specifically regarding puberty, the men- strual cycle, breast cancer risk, and women’s broader reproductive lives. She is currently exploring the use of digital menstrual health in studying the causes of breast cancer, and in the dissemination and implementation of the latest breast cancer science. Andisheh Jahangir currently works with the World Health Organization country office in Iran and volunteers with WoMena. She holds a Master of International Public Health from the University of Sydney. Ingrid Johnston is an experimental psychologist with expertise in social and health psychology. She taught full-time at SUNY, Fredonia for 12 years in the Psychology Department, focusing on women’s health, psychology of women and health psychology. She is currently a professor of psychology and associ- ate dean for Lesley University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She has published extensively in the area of women’s reproductive health, with par- ticular emphasis on psychosocial aspects of embodiment. She has served on the board for the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research for almost 20 years. Johnston has served this organization as program chair, president, and past president. xxvi NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS Ina Jurga is an engineer, educator, networker, and advocate with more than 15 years’ experience in the WASH sector. Working for the Berlin-based NGO, WASH United, she co-initiated and coordinates the international Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May). Each year this day is dedicated globally to breaking the silence around menstruation and menstrual hygiene management. Kalvikarasi Karunanithy has a B.A. in commerce from Pondicherry University and an M.A. in business administration from Sathyabama University. She works at Eco Femme in sales and marketing and is a men- strual educator in the organization’s Pad for Pad Program. She feels a strong connection to nature and the environment and currently resides in Tamil Nadu, India. Danielle Keiser has been a vivid and integral player in the menstrual health community since 2013, when she helped launch and grow 28 May, Menstrual Hygiene Day. Danielle is the CEO and executive director of the Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub), a female health impact organization focused on eco- system building, knowledge sharing, and high-level advocacy around men- strual health worldwide. Using women-centered design and a human rights approach, the MH Hub consults various entities on female health innovation, investment, communications, and business strategy. Sally King is the founder of Menstrual Matters (www.menstrual-matters. com), a freely accessible and evidence-based website about how to identify and manage menstrual cycle-related symptoms. She also writes a popular blog about the way in which menstrual health relates to gender inequalities. Sally has over a decade’s experience in research quality assurance roles within human rights organizations and programs. She has an M.A. in research meth- ods (qualitative & quantitative) and is currently doing a Ph.D. on the topic of premenstrual syndrome at King’s College London. Elizabeth Arveda Kissling is professor of women’s and gender studies at Eastern Washington University. Her research focuses on women’s health, bod- ies, and feminism, and especially how these issues are represented in media. Her newest book about abortion activism and social media, From a Whisper to a Shout, was published in 2018 by Repeater Books. As the author of Capitalizing on the Curse and related articles, she is best known for her research on media representations of menstruation. Her pronouns are she and her. Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt is a professor at Australian National University, and teaches gender and development in the university’s Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development Program. She has written extensively on women and gender in relation to the environment, focusing on water, agriculture, and extractive resources. More information can be gleaned from her staff page: kuntala-lahiri-dutt. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxvii Gerda Larsson is co-founder and managing director of The Case for Her, an innovative funding collaborative that invests in early-stage markets within women’s and girls’ health. Driven by a passion for women’s rights and gen- dered development, Gerda has built a career scaling CSR efforts, organiza- tions, and philanthropic foundations. She is also the chair of the Mitt Alby Foundation, chair of the 1325 Policy Group, a board member of the East African e-commerce company, Kasha, and a jurist for the feminist film price, The Anna Award. Gerda has a B.A. in urban planning and a master’s in devel- opment practice from Stockholm University. Rachel B. Levitt is a master’s student in clinical mental health counseling student at Monmouth University. Her research interests include sexuality and gender identity, attitudes towards menstruation, the mental health effects of internalizing the male gaze, and feminist counseling. Jen Lewis is the conceptual artist and menstrual designer behind Beauty in Blood, a transformative macrophotography and video art project that con- fronts the social taboos pertaining to menstruation and the female body. She received her B.A. in the history of art from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 2001. Her work has been displayed in group exhibitions interna- tionally, such as Period Pieces at the Urban Artroom (Sweden) and the 9th Annual Juried Art Show at The Kinsey Institute (USA). Jen also curated a special theme exhibit, “Widening the Cycle: A Menstrual Cycle and Reproductive Justice Art Show” for the joint 2015 conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights. Libbet Loughnan is a data and monitoring specialist. She has worked in international development, including the World Bank, UNICEF, and WHO since 2003. She works across the full data cycle, particularly in the monitoring and analysis of progress on WASH and gender-related SDG indicators, pro- gram monitoring, the methodological development of equality measures and indicators, surveys, and in supporting data partnerships. Libbet has a Master of Public Health with the LSHTM, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Melbourne. Trisha Maharaj is an independent researcher focusing on cultural and reli- gious practices related to menstruation and women’s experiences and atti- tudes in the Hindu diaspora of Trinidad. She recently graduated from Columbia University with an M.A. in human rights studies. She also holds a B.A. in international studies with a regional focus in Africa from American University. Thérèse Mahon is WaterAid’s global lead on menstrual hygiene manage- ment and has been working on the issue since 2006. Thérèse works with WaterAid’s country programs to develop and implement MHM program- ming; and to generate evidence on MHM to influence policy and practice xxviii NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS globally. She is the co-author of the book, Menstrual Hygiene Matters and led a regional situation analysis of MHM in schools in South Asia. She also contributed to the development of the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) global guidance for monitoring MHM-related indicators for SDG4 and 6 in schools. Phoebe Man is a multimedia artist, independent curator and associate pro- fessor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Her socially engaged animations, videos, and installations call for active engage- ment from her audiences, and have been featured in over 180 exhibitions and festivals worldwide. In 2017, Man was selected as one of four interna- tional artists to join the Wapping Project Berlin Residency program. Her most recent work, Free Coloring: If I Were centers on sexual assault, invit- ing audiences to engage in discussions and create artwork from one of three perspectives: “if I were a victim,” “if I were a perpetrator,” and “if I were a bystander.” Swatija Manorama has been active in the campaign group, the Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai, since the mid-1980s. She holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, a master’s in anthropology, and a post- graduate diploma in gerontology. She has authored and co-authored vari- ous books and papers addressing issues such as women and religion, science, health and reproductive health, including Coping with Plural Identities (Red Globe Press, 2002) and Introduction to Fertile Futures: Grounding Feminist Science Studies Across Communities (Routledge, 2001) with co-author J. Elaine Walters. Lina Acca Mathew has twelve years’ experience teaching undergraduate and postgraduate law courses in India. She is an assistant professor at the Government Law College Kozhikode and has taught in various law colleges in Kerala. She was awarded her Ph.D. from the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology, Australia in 2017 on legislative models for prose- cuting child sexual abuse in India. She completed her LLM at the National Law School of India University and her LLB at the Government Law College Thiruvananthapuram. She has publications and conference presentations con- cerning laws on women and children, cyber law, and legal education. Mbarou Gassama Mbaye holds an Education Doctorate in international education from UMass, Amherst. She has been working for the last twenty years on gender issues in West and Central Africa. She has also coordinated programs at UN Women on gender, public policies, and budget, mainly in the sectors of health, education, environment, and water and sanitation. Annie McCarthy is an anthropologist interested in the ways marginal- ized children negotiate and challenge institutions that seek to preserve, fos- ter or establish “childhood.” McCarthy’s doctoral research explored the ways a group of slum children in Delhi, India, navigate the complexities and NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxix contradictions of development through their participation in NGO programs. McCarthy has also explored missionary efforts to “rescue” girls in early twen- tieth century south India and is currently developing a project to ethnograph- ically engage with ideas of children’s growth beyond the biomedical paradigm of stunting. She currently works at the University of Canberra as an assistant professor of global studies. Maureen C. McHugh is a Distinguished University Professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), where she teaches graduate and under- graduate courses in gender, sexuality, and diversity. She has published jour- nal articles and chapters in many Psychology of Women Quarterly anthologies and in handbooks addressing gender (differences), feminist methods, sexual- ity, violence against women, size bias, and women and aging. She co-edited The Wrong Prescription for Women: How Medicine and Media Create a “Need” for Treatments, Drugs, and Surgery. Her current research interests include women and shame, slut shaming, genital shaming, menstrual shame, fat shaming, femininity, and sexual violence. Ginny Mendis works for MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., a multinational man- ufacturer of intimate apparel, sports swim and performance wear head- quartered in Sri Lanka. She is currently leading the menstruation and incontinence space for the FemTeach team at MAS. Their vision is to be the go-to innovator and manufacturer in the FemTech apparel space, addressing women’s health needs. MAS FemTech is focused on innovating “functional, lifestyle and wellness-oriented solutions for the female reproductive cycle from menarche to menopause.” Sheryl E. Mendlinger received her B.A. in English literature and linguis- tics, as well as her M.A. and Ph.D. in education, from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University. Sheryl’s academic expertise and publications focus on intergener- ational transmission of knowledge and health behaviors in mother–daughter dyads from multicultural populations in Israel, with a focus on menstrua- tion. Her other research interests include knowledge acquisition in agricul- ture in Tanzania, the economic development of the Massai tribe in a remote area of Tanzania, and educational success in the women’s prison educational program. She recently co-authored Schlopping: Developing Relationships, Self-Image & Memories with her daughter Yael Magen, Esq. Victoria Miller is a recent graduate of Columbia University, where she received her master’s in human rights studies. She focused on the sanitization and narrative of menstruation. Previously, she worked for Penguin Random House and holds a B.A. from New York University in English and American literature and journalism. Tova Mirvis is the author of the memoir The Book of Separation, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and was excerpted in the New York Times “Modern Love” column. She has also written three xxx NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS novels: Visible City, The Outside World, and The Ladies Auxiliary, which was a national bestseller. Her essays have appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine, The Washington Post, Real Simple, and Psychology Today, and her fiction has been broadcast on National Public Radio. Vinod Mishra carries more than 18 years’ experience in the water and san- itation sector, with a focus on providing WASH programs across district, state, and national levels in India with support for project planning, man- agement, capacity building, and implementation. As India Coordinator for the WSSCC, he has developed a strategy to support the Swachh Bharat Mission in conducting policy advocacy for collective behavior change regard- ing equity, inclusion, capacity building, MHM, and rapid learning in order to make India open defecation free. He holds a master’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of Allahabad, and an M.B.A. from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Open University. Alfred Muli is a public health, monitoring, evaluation, and learning special- ist with close to a decade of hands-on experience in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and reproductive health spaces. He is the regional program manager for East Africa at Ruby Cup, an award-winning social business and pioneer in providing menstrual cups, as well as education on reproductive health and menstrual care, to girls and women in 11 countries of the Global South. Alfred has previously worked with, among others, WASH United as National Coordinator for Menstrual Hygiene Day (Kenya) and ZanaAfrica, where he managed an RCT. Shardi Nahavandi has expertise in many different sectors from business development and urban design, to programming and neuroplasticity. She holds five degrees, four of which are from University College London. She founded the UK-based medical technology startup, Pexxi, which uses genetic testing and AI to help people find hormonal contraceptives that comple- ment their unique biological profiles. Shardi also advises various startups at Cambridge University and the Royal Society of Engineering across health and tech verticals. Shamirah Nakalema is the training coordinator and project manager at WoMena Uganda. She holds a bachelor’s degree in adult and community education. Diana Nalunga is a trainer with WoMena Uganda and acts as the organiza- tion’s administrative assistant. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology and has trained in menstrual health management and sexual and reproductive health rights. Dalitso Ndaferankhande is a Malawian girls’ and women’s rights advocate with a background in education, SRHR and Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). In 2016, she established the Mizuyathu Foundation to reduce NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxxi grade repetition and high drop-out rates among primary school girls. Before that, she coordinated projects to combat VAWG. Currently, Dalitso leads efforts to establish a pan-African alliance for maternal mental health. She has advocated for changing harmful cultural practices, promoted safe mother- hood and completed community-level research on reusable sanitary pads for tackling menstruation-related absenteeism. Dalitso is a published author of short stories and a proud mother and wife. Jocelyne Alice Ngo Njiki is a Cameroonian rural engineer. She has been working in the water sector for nearly ten years and is very devoted to her profession. Since 2015 she has been trained on the issues of gender, water, and sanitation, and has spoken publicly about such issues, raising aware- ness and advocating for changes in policies and practices. Improving the liv- ing conditions of populations is her main goal. Ngo also enjoys reading and traveling. Stella Nyanzi is a Ugandan scholar, writer, and activist. Her work focuses on social anthropology, sexuality, gender, marginalized groups, and freedom of expression, including through the #Pads4GirlsUg campaign. She is known for her provocative poetry using expletives and vulgarity to upset notions of what is deemed acceptable—employing ‘radical rudeness.’ Nyanzi worked as a researcher at the Makerere Institute of Social Research until 2016, from which she was dismissed after staging a naked protest. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Neville Okwaro is a water, sanitation and hygiene specialist and men- strual hygiene management trainer for East and Southern Africa with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. He coordinates national WASH actors in Kenya, the National Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene Inter-agency Coordinating Committee and the seven technical working groups at the Kenyan Ministry of Health’s Division of Environmental Health. Neville has helped steer the development of Kenya’s Menstrual Hygiene Management Policy and Strategy, MHM in Schools Teachers’ Handbook, and MHM Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators. He sees MHM as a cross-cutting rights issue concerning equality, nondiscrimination, and inclu- sion in the various sectors related to daily life. Julitta Onabanjo is the regional director for UNFPA East and Southern Africa. Dr. Onabanjo joined UNFPA in 1995 as a national program officer and thereafter as a program specialist in Swaziland and Kenya. She subse- quently served at UNFPA headquarters as technical advisor, HIV/AIDS, and later as special assistant to the Executive Director. More recently, she has held UNFPA representative posts in Tanzania and South Africa. Sheila Vipul Patel is a public health analyst in the Health Coverage for Low-Income and Uninsured Populations Program at RTI International. She applies managerial and technical research skills to supporting projects that xxxii NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS inform evidence-based health care decision-making and projects that evaluate health care transformation. Ms. Patel is also a Ph.D. Candidate in health pol- icy and management at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she focuses on the implementation of effective behavioral, sexual, and repro- ductive health services. Prior to joining RTI in 2014, Ms. Patel worked with the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization on issues related to youth. Archana Patkar is an independent advisor on gender equality, health, partic- ipation and inclusion; committed to research, policy, and practices to advance dignity and rights across the human life course. As head of Policy Advocacy and Operations at the UN Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, she introduced menstrual hygiene management to the WSSCC and to the sector in several countries globally, particularly within Africa and Asia. Her current focus is on eliminating cervical cancer, HIV, the integration of sexual and reproductive health rights into universal health care, and the essen- tial links between people and the planet. Radha Paudel is a nurse, humanist activist, author, and entrepreneur. As a researcher, trainer, author, advocate, and producer of biodegradable pads, she has pioneered the dialogue on “dignified menstruation,” linking wom- en’s participation in peace and politics, human rights, empowerment, and the sustainable development goals, including health, education, WASH, and environment. She has been a speaker at universities, forums, and conferences all around the world since 2008. She has published four books: Khalangama Hamala (best literary award winner, 2013), Shantika Pailaharu (2018), Dignified Menstruation is an Everyone’s Business (2018), and Apabitra Ragat (An Impure Blood, 2019). Elizabeth (Liz) Pellicano is a developmental cognitive scientist commit- ted to understanding the distinctive opportunities and challenges often faced by autistic people and tracing their impact on everyday life. She trained as an educational psychologist and completed a Ph.D. on the cognitive pro- file of children with autism in Perth, Australia before becoming a Research Fellow in Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. She was the director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at London’s Institute of Education from 2013 to 2017. She is now a professor at Macquarie University’s Department of Educational Studies. Milena Bacalja Perianes is a gender researcher and feminist entrepreneur specializing in female health. With an M.Phil. in multidisciplinary gender stud- ies from the University of Cambridge and a master’s in international develop- ment from RMIT, she works with public and private sector actors to advance gender equality. Milena’s career started in international development, working across Asia and Africa for the UN. Now, as the co-founder of the Menstrual Health Hub and a gender specialist for the Criterion Institute, she promotes women-centered design in products, services, research, and programming. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxxiii Josefin Persdotter is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology and science and tech- nology studies at the Department of Sociology and Work Science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her dissertation deals with everyday aspects of menstrual life, and she specifically studies menstrual practices in the bathroom in an effort to illuminate obscurities surrounding menstrual- ity, namely practices that are typically non-spoken, non-worded, and even non-thought. Persdotter is also a leading menstrual activist in Sweden, and is a known menstrual artist and co-founder of the organization MENSEN— forum for menstruation. Janette Perz is a professor of health psychology and director of the Translational Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, Australia. She is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health with Jane Ussher and Joan Chrisler. She has undertaken a significant research program in sexual and reproductive health, including the experience of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in heterosexual and lesbian relationships; the development and evaluation of a couple-based psychologi- cal intervention for PMS; sexual well-being and reproductive needs in CALD populations; and LGBTI cancer care. Penelope A. Phillips-Howard, a reader at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, has been a public health epidemiologist for the past 30 years. Her interests have broadened to determining the harms associated with poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and what interventions can miti- gate risk. She has been a principal investigator on studies in Kenya and India, including a current cluster randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of menstrual cups or cash transfer to reduce sexual and reproductive harms, and school-related indices in schoolgirls. She provides technical support on MHM-related committees and working groups, and has authored some 20 papers on this topic. Niva Piran is a clinical psychologist, academic researcher, writer on embod- iment amongst girls and women, and is Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Eating Disorders, Dr. Piran has received a 2018 Association for Women in Psychology Distinguished Publication Award for her book, Journeys of Embodiment at the Intersection of Body and Culture: The Developmental Theory of Embodiment. She is the co-editor of four books on body image and eating disorders and a former body image consultant to the National Ballet School of Canada. Priti Shrestha Piya studies gender and development, reproductive health and women’s economic status in the Global South. She has conducted field- work through her home country, Nepal. Her work has been featured in research publications, grassroots organization reports and policy briefs. She holds a master’s degree in sociology and an M.A. in social change and devel- opment studies. xxxiv NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS Jennifer Poole is the founder of Medical Services Pacific, and served as the organization’s executive director from 2010 to 2019. She is currently serving as Permanent Secretary in Fiji’s Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation. For years, she has worked in multiple capacities for various humanitarian agencies such as World Vision International, CAFOD UK and Caritas Pakistan. Her consulting expertise includes project design and evalu- ation, risk assessment and conflict management, gender assessment, training, and capacity building. Kamini Prakash was a member of WSSCC’s India Support Unit in New Delhi from 2015 to 2019, and was in charge of the menstrual hygiene man- agement interventions in India. She also led the development of MHM training materials for persons with visual and hearing impairments and trained special educators in the use of these materials. She is a member of the Menstrual Health Alliance India. Ela Przybylo is an assistant professor at Illinois State University’s Department of English. Her forthcoming book Asexual Erotics: Intimate Readings of Compulsory Sexuality seeks to rethink the role of compulsory sex- uality in feminist and queer thought and practice. Ela’s work on asexuality has appeared in GLQ, Sexualities, Feminism and Psychology and Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives, and Introducing the New Sexuality Studies (3rd ed.); and her work on crippling menstrual pain has appeared in Feminist Formations. She is co-editor of On the Politics of Ugliness and of special issues of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology and English Studies in Canada. She is also a founding editor of Feral Feminisms. You can find her online at Maria Carmen Punzi started her research on social enterprises in the men- strual health space in 2016 for her M.Sc. thesis in global business and sus- tainability at the Rotterdam School of Management. After graduating, she joined the Business Society Management Department as a research assis- tant and became the innovation advisor for the Menstrual Health Hub. In 2018, Maria Carmen joined PSI-Europe, working as the menstrual health focal point for the network members of Population Services International. In 2019, she started her Ph.D. studies on menstrual health and societal change under the Rotterdam School of Management’s Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity initiative. Isabella Mema Rasch is a co-founder of MANA Care Products, a social enterprise which produces environmentally friendly and reusable sanitary products and which provides extension services for menstrual health man- agement to local rural communities. With a working background in environ- mental management, she and Angelica Salele-Sefo founded MANA Care to eliminate the environmental impact caused by traditional disposable products, promote proper menstrual health practices, and to break period poverty and the challenges surrounding menstruation that exist in the Pacific. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxxv Nancy King Reame is the Mary Dickey Lindsay Professor Emerita of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction in Columbia University’s School of Nursing. At the University of Michigan, she is the Rhetaugh G. Dumas Professor Emerita of Nursing and Research Scientist Emerita, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine. Anna Remington conducts research on the superior abilities that we so often see in autistic people, specifically with respect to attention and percep- tion. She is interested in how and why these superiorities develop, and ways in which we might capitalize on these strengths. Among others, her current research projects include working with autistic people in the family justice sys- tem, investigating autistic people’s greater capacity to detect sound and ways to promote autistic employment. Anna is also co-founder and director of, and she became the director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education in 2017. Virginia Roaf is an independent development consultant working in the area of human rights and water and sanitation. From 2010 to 2015 she was sen- ior advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation. She is currently involved with various programs that promote the human rights to water and sanitation globally and locally. Tomi-Ann Roberts is professor of psychology at Colorado College. Her work focuses on the psychological consequences of the sexualization and objectification of girls and women. The first paper she co-authored on this topic, Objectification Theory, is the most cited article in the history of the journal, Psychology of Women Quarterly. In addition to her scholarly publica- tions, she served on the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, the Task Force on Educating Through Feminist Research and as President of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research from 2017 to 2019. She leverages her feminist psychological science as an expert witness and consultant in cases involving objectification as a form of sexism and gender discrimination. Jennifer Rothchild is associate professor of sociology and coordina- tor of the gender, women, and sexuality studies program at the University of Minnesota, Morris. For more than twenty years, she has conducted community-based research in South Asia and the United States and is consid- ered one of the leading scholars on gender and development in Nepal. She is the author of the book Gender Trouble Makers: Education and Empowerment in Nepal (Routledge, 2006), as well as book chapters, essays, and policy reports. Eilish Mairi Roy is an applied psychology undergraduate student at the University of Kent. As part of her degree course, she undertook a one-year placement at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at UCL Institute for Education. xxxvi NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS Klara Rydström holds an M.A. degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Hull, England and Universidad de Oviedo, Spain. Her research interests are related to sex and gender, bodies, feminist theory, and menstruation. She also is an activist within the Swedish menstrual movement. Since 2018, Rydström has served as project manager for the organization MENSEN—forum för menstruation, where she is developing a menstrual certification for workplaces. Angelica Salele is a co-founder of the startup MANA Care Products, a Samoan-based social enterprise that provides women and girls with afforda- ble, safe, and environmentally friendly menstrual products including reusable menstrual cups. She aims to not only address period poverty and the stigma around menstruation but to fight plastic pollution from single-use plastic pads. In 2018, Salele was one of 12 contestants to win the UN Environment Asia-Pacific Low-Carbon Lifestyles Challenge. Ursula Maschette Santos is the Brazilian America Coordinator of the Menstrual Health Hub. She holds a degree in psychology from the Mackenzie Presbyterian University, a master’s in education, health promotion, and inter- national development from University College London and has over five years’ experience in planning, implementation, and evaluation of educational and community-based projects in countries like Brazil, England, and Italy. As a menstrual health activist, she has dedicated the past few years to studies regarding gender equality, sexuality, sexual and reproductive rights, as well as sexual and reproductive education, especially regarding menstrual health. Musu Bakoto Sawo is the national coordinator for Think Young Women and the deputy executive secretary of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission of The Gambia. She has gained in-depth knowledge of human rights through more than 17 years of activism in children and women’s rights, and her membership in different community-based organizations. She has translated this knowledge into capacity building, research, networking, pro- gram development, and practical engagement with human rights mechanisms, as well as with grassroots, national, and international organizations and plat- forms. She holds an LLM in human rights and democratization in Africa. Vanita Singh is pursuing a Ph.D. in public systems at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. She has completed a master’s in health adminis- tration from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her interest areas include health policy, women and child health, universal health coverage, and equity in health care. M. Sivakami is a professor at the School of Health Systems Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, India. She is passionate about issues of women and children. She broadly works in the area of demography, gender, and health. She has widely published in national and international journals on health and public health. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxxvii Marni Sommer has worked in global health and development on issues ranging from improving access to essential medicines to humanitarian relief in conflict settings. Dr. Sommer’s particular areas of expertise include con- ducting participatory research with adolescents, understanding and pro- moting healthy transitions to adulthood, the intersection of public health and education, gender and sexual health, and the implementation and eval- uation of adolescent-focused interventions. Dr. Sommer presently leads the Gender, Adolescent Transitions and Environment (GATE) Program, based in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Nichole Speciale is an artist whose work is primarily two-dimensional, often problematizing the illusory canvas surface of a painting, often pushing it into the object realm. She sources imagery from popularized science and Americana, and uses traditionally feminine material to create works that point to a larger scale understanding of our universal context. Nichole received her MFA from the University of California, San Diego, and now practices in the Boston area. Swetha Sridhar is an independent researcher, with experience working across sectors such as sexual and reproductive health, menstrual hygiene management, and WASH. Her work has involved tracking and analyzing the changing policy fields in these sectors and designing strategies to gener- ate evidence-based impact. She attended the University of Cambridge on a Lady Meherbai D Tata Scholarship, where she read for an M.Phil. in gen- der studies. She also holds an M.A. in development studies from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. She has previously been awarded the Mitacs Globalink Fellowship and the DAAD Scholarship. Linda Steele is a socio-legal researcher exploring intersections of disability, gender, law, and justice. She has completed a monograph for Routledge’s Social Justice series, Disability, Criminal Justice and Law: Reconsidering Court Diversion, and is co-editing The Legacies of Institutionalisation: Disability, Law and Policy in the ‘Deinstitutionalised’ Community. Linda is a senior lecturer in the UTS Faculty of Law, a member of the UTS Law Health Justice Research Centre and a co-convener of the UTS Feminist Legal Research Group. She is also a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong, Australia. She was formerly a disability rights lawyer at the Intellectual Disability Rights Service. Gloria Steinem is a writer, political activist, and feminist organizer. She established New York and Ms. magazines and co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Free to Be Foundation and the Women’s Media Center in the United States. She has received multiple awards for her journalism, the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom xxxviii NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS from President Barack Obama in 2013. In 2016, she and Amy Richards co-produced a series of eight documentaries on violence against women around the world for VICELAND. Evelina W. Sterling is the director of research and strategic initiatives and assistant professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University. Evelina worked as a public health researcher and medical sociologist focusing on wom- en’s health issues for over 25 years. She is the author of six consumer health books, including books addressing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), and a board member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR). Robyn Steward is autistic and has spent over 15 years raising awareness internationally about the experiences of those with autism. This topic is the main focus of her research with University College London and the Wellcome Trust, and two books: The Independent Woman’s Handbook for Super Safe Living on the Autistic Spectrum and The Autism Friendly Guide to Periods. Steward also (co)hosts a BBC Podcast called 1800 Seconds on Autism, and The Autism Journal podcast. Steward was a joint awardee of the 2015 National Autistic Society (NAS) Professional Award, was on power100’s 2018 list of Most Influential Disabled People in the UK, and is an NAS ambassador. Margaret L. (Peggy) Stubbs is Professor Emerita of Psychology at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she previously directed the undergraduate Psychology and Women’s Studies programs. As a social and developmental psychologist interested in well-being across the lifespan, her research includes a special focus on girls’ and women’s development, psycho- social aspects of the menstrual experience, and menstrual education. A long- time member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, she has served in a variety of roles involving organizational leadership and the publication of menstrual cycle research in mainstream journals. Deepthi Sukumar is a Dalit woman and an activist. She has been working for the liberation and rehabilitation of women engaged in manual scavenging for more than two decades. Her parents migrated to the city of Chennai from a remote area in Andhra Pradesh for education and employment. She travels widely to villages and small towns to meet Dalit women living in difficult cir- cumstances and who have become victims of human rights violations. Vicci Tallis is a feminist who has been working on gender, HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive rights, and LGBTI issues in South and southern Africa for over 30 years. She is currently working as an independent consultant. Previously, she was the director of programs at the SRHR Africa Trust; and prior to that she was the program manager for the HIV and AIDS Unit at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa. Vicca has a Ph.D. in development studies from the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. She is the author of Feminisms, HIV and AIDS. Subverting Power, Reducing Vulnerability. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xxxix Eugenia Tarzibachi is a bilingual psychologist and Ph.D. in social sciences specialized in fostering diversity and inclusion strategies for internation- ally underrepresented groups, particularly women and girls. She authored Women’s Thing. Menstruation, Gender and Power (Penguin Random House Argentina) and Gender Mainstreaming in Health: Progress and Challenges for a New Road Map Toward the 2030 Agenda for the Americas (Panamerican Health Organization/World Health Organization). In 2016, Tarzibachi was distinguished by the US Library of Congress for her doctoral research and has received several awards and academic merit scholarships from institutions in Spain and Argentina. She is also a member of the Health Equity Network of the Americas and the Board of Directors of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. Marianne Tellier is a public health professional with over 10 years’ expe- rience and the co-founder and Board Chair of WoMena. She holds an B.Sc./M.Sc. in public health from the University of Copenhagen and an M.Sc. in health policy, planning and financing from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics. Siri Tellier is senior reproductive health advisor for WoMena. She is the course leader for Health in Emergencies and Refugee Health at the University of Copenhagen. She holds an M.Sc./HYG from Harvard School of Public Health. Jane M. Ussher is professor of Women’s Health Psychology in the Translational Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, Australia. Her research focuses on examining subjectivity in relation to the reproductive body and sexuality, and the gendered experience of cancer and cancer care. She is the author of over 250 papers and chapters, and 11 books, including The Madness of Women: Myth and Experience and Managing the Monstrous Feminine: Regulating the Reproductive Body. Jane is also edi- tor of the Routledge Women and Psychology book series. Her current research focuses on older women’s sexual embodiment and LGBTI experiences of cancer. Shailini Vora has a breadth of experience working within the charity sector for causes such as criminal justice, women’s empowerment, and sustainable economies. Her main project has been researching the effects of menstruation on homeless women with the social enterprise, No More Taboo. She devel- oped long-lasting solutions to the issue of period poverty, including work- ing directly with vulnerable women, delivering training to organizations, and lobbying for improved menstrual education. She is one of the authors of the groundbreaking Break the Barriers report on menstrual education, published by Plan International UK in 2018. She now works with St Mungo’s, tackling the root causes of homelessness. xl NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS Sharra L. Vostral is an associate professor of history at Purdue University. She is the author of Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology (2008) and Toxic Shock: A Social History (2018) for which she earned a National Science Foundation grant to complete its research. She has been interviewed and quoted in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Wired, NPR, CNN, and Newsweek. Steve Nganga Wambui is a graduate of the University of Nairobi and holds a Bachelor’s degree in social work and sociology. As a social worker, he cur- rently consults on topics related to reproductive and menstrual health with The Cup organization in Kenya. He is also a project officer in the Kipepo Mentorship Program based in the urban slums of Nairobi. Jennifer Weiss-Wolf is vice president and Women and Democracy Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. A leading advocate for issues of gender, politics, and menstruation, she was dubbed the “archi- tect of the U.S. campaign to squash the tampon tax” by Newsweek. Her 2017 book Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity was lauded by Gloria Steinem as “the beginning of liberation for us all.” Weiss-Wolf’s writing and policy work have been featured by Ms. Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Vox, Vice, and NPR, among others. She is also a con- tributor to the 2018 Young Adult anthology, Period.: Twelve Voices Tell the Bloody Truth. Weiss-Wolf received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Mirjam Werner is an assistant professor in the Business-Society Management Department at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). She holds an M.Sc. in cultural anthropology from the University of Amsterdam (2005) and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Leeds (2011). Her research interests include social movements and political activism, framing and sensemaking, organizational change, organizational identity and culture, and emotions. Her current research projects concern social movements as motors of bottom-up change within organizational con- texts and exploring the performative nature of emotions in social interaction (i.e., what do emotions do?). Inga T. Winkler is a lecturer at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Director of the Working Group on Menstrual Health & Gender Justice at Columbia University. She is particularly interested in the intersec- tions of menstruation, human rights, and culture and focuses on questions of inequalities, marginalization, and representation. Another strand of her research builds on her policy and consulting experience and engages directly with policy-makers on menstrual health. Her books include the first compre- hensive monograph on the human right to water and an edited volume on NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xli the Sustainable Development Goals. She is affiliated faculty at the Columbia Water Center in the Earth Institute, the Economic and Social Rights Working Group at the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, and the Center on Law and Social Transformation at the University of Bergen, Norway. She is the former legal adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation. Camilla Wirseen grew up in Sweden and studied architecture in Italy. She has been working as a photographer, a curator at major cultural institutions and a university lecturer. In 2005, her career changed direction when she became the co-founder of Peepoople, and again in 2012 when she started The Cup Foundation to help underprivileged girls access sustainable men- strual cups and comprehensive education on sexuality and reproductive rights. Since its launch, her program has reached more than 20,000 girls and 10,000 boys in Kenya. Today she also provides trainer-to-trainer workshops and is creating awareness of girls’ challenges by blogging, running a pod- cast and managing a unique gift shop in Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi. Jill M. Wood is a teaching professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State University. As a feminist teacher and researcher, she specializes in women’s health (specifically menstruation and childbirth) and women’s sexualities (particularly sexual response during the menopausal transition). Professor Wood also writes and works on topics in feminist pedagogies, as she believes that education is a potentially trans- formative and empowering experience, particularly for marginalized students. Jill is a self-proclaimed foodie and gardener, a budding yoga teacher, and the proud mama of 3 fantastic kiddos, “Mister” their dog, and 6 backyard chickens. Garazi Zulaika is a public health epidemiologist who has worked in global health research on the issues of adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and menstruation. Ms. Zulaika currently works with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences as a technical officer and studies the public health epidemiology of menstrual cup and cash transfer interventions on girls schooling in western Kenya. There, she is also pursuing her doctoral research assessing these interventions’ effects on girls’ SRH outcomes and risk behaviors. xlii NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS xliii list of figures Fig. 7.1 On Identity (Credit: Jac Dellaria. 2019) 70 Fig. 7.2 The Bathroom (Credit: Jac Dellaria. 2019) 71 Fig. 7.3 The Bathroom (Credit: Jac Dellaria. 2019) 72 Fig. 7.4 Product Problems (Credit: Jac Dellaria. 2019) 73 Fig. 7.5 At the Doctor’s (Credit: Jac Dellaria. 2019) 74 Fig. 30.1 a and b. “First Moon Party” (2014) by HelloFlo Period Starter Kit (partnered with Kotex). The film stills feature the young white girl painting rubylicious nail polish on a pad in hopes of fooling her mom and friends that she has gotten her period 381 Fig. 30.2 a and b. “First Moon Party” (2014) by HelloFlo Period Starter Kit (partnered with Kotex). The film stills feature the blood-themed menstrual party the mother throws when her daughter tries to fool her that she’s experiencing menarche. Notice the playful approach of the “First Moon Party” exhibited by the bleeding red fondue fountain and the menstruation-man exploding from the cake 382 Fig. 30.3 a and b. “#LikeAGirl” first launched by Always in 2014. The film stills feature a white young boy performing running “like a girl” 383 Fig. 30.4 a and b. “Blood” by Bodyform UK//Libresse (2016). The film stills feature a masculine-presenting boxer bleeding from the nose after a boxing match as an example of how “no blood should hold us back” whether it be menstrual or nonmenstrual blood 384 Fig. 40.1 MHM lab (Credit: © WSSCC/Javier Acebal 2016) 530 Fig. 40.2 Graph of training, research and policy circle (Credit: © WSSCC 2016) 531 Fig. 40.3 Menstrual wheel (Credit: © WSSCC 2016) 532 Fig. 44.1 List of Sustainable Development Goals (Source United Nations Department of Public Information 2019) 578 Fig. 44.2 SDG 1 indicators with the highest relevance to menstruation (Source UN Statistics Division [2018]. Design Credit: Sydney Amoakoh 2019) 580 Fig. 44.3 SDG 3 indicators with the highest relevance to menstruation (Source UN Statistics Division [2018]. Design Credit: Sydney Amoakoh 2019) 581 Fig. 44.4 Measurements already operationalized for SDG monitoring in healthcare facilities (Source WHO/UNICEF JMP [2016], 5. Design Credit: Sydney Amoakoh 2019) 582 Fig. 44.5 SDG 4 indicators with the highest relevance to menstruation (Source UN Statistics Division [2018]. Design Credit: Sydney Amoakoh 2019) 583 Fig. 44.6 SDG 5 indicators with the highest relevance to menstruation (Source UN Statistics Division [2018]. Design Credit: Sydney Amoakoh 2019) 584 Fig. 44.7 SDG 6 indicators with the highest relevance to menstruation (Source UN Statistics Division [2018]. Design Credit: Sydney Amoakoh 2019) 585 Fig. 50.1 The recursive loop of testing (Credit: Sharra L. Vostral) 674 Fig. 51.1 Nancy Reame with the Syngina she used in her study of tampon absorbency (circa 1982) (Credit: Advance Magazine/Peter Yates c.1982. Used with the permission of Michigan Medicine) 688 Fig. 51.2 The Syngina test instrument: The industry standard for measuring tampon absorbency (Source Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Volume 8 (2018), figure 2, accessed March 1, 2018, cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm?fr-801.430. Credit: The US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] 2018) 690 Fig. 51.3 Profile of the decline in both TSS cases and tampon absorbency, 1980–1996 from the CDC website. Accessed July 26, 2019 at 5/6/99-0611-f1 (Original source Hajjeh RA et al. Toxic Shock Syndrome in the United States: Surveillance Update, 1979–1996. Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 5, No. 6, November–December 1999, page 807. Credit: The US Center for Disease Control 1999) 694 Fig. 51.4 Factors influencing the vaginal microbiome and menstrual health (Source Content summarized from Schlievert et al. (2010), Spaulding et al. (2013), Davis et al. (2014), Jacquemond et al. (2018), Nonfoux et al. (2018). Credit: Nancy Reame) 697 Fig. 54.1 Phone apps predict when someone is next expected to have their period or ovulate. The Life app (left) presents this production through single-day estimates, while the Clue app (right) provides a range of potential dates for the event (Credit: © Life Fertility Tracker IVS 2017 and © BioWink GmbH 2017. Photo Credit: Screenshots taken by Daniel Epstein in 2017) 738 xliv LIST OF FIGURES Fig. 54.2 Apps such as My Cycles (left) and Period Tracker (right) typically ask for average cycle length and flow duration to aid prediction. Although this prediction may later be improved by journaled data, it is not resilient to variations due to factors such as irregular cycles, stress, birth control, or forgetting to journal (Credit: © StayWell Company LLC 2017 and © ABISHKKING LIMITED 2017) 738 Fig. 54.3 Most period tracking apps we observed employ flowery and pink visual features, such as the main screens of Period Diary (left) and P. Tracker Lite (right) (Credit: © Bellabeat, Inc. 2017 and © GP Apps 2017) 739 Fig. 54.4 The design and language in many menstrual tracking apps encode heteronormative assumptions. In Glow (left), people who identify as male are directed to an alternative view of the app. Clue’s iconography (right) suggests a male sexual partner. We note that since conducting this research, Clue has updated their icons for logging sexual activity to be abstract rather than anthropomorphized (Credit: © Glow, Inc. 2017 and © BioWink GmbH 2017) 740 Fig. 54.5 Circulated online and through the mail, the Period Packet invited participants to reimagine the period tracking app by illustrating their own menstrual sensemaking practices, through both textual description and craft techniques 743 Fig. 54.6 Respondent Jenna charts and journals about her menstrual experience every day. Within the pages of the Period Packet, she describes her motivations for pursuing this practice and offers an example of one such entry 744 Fig. 54.7 Through illustration, Robert recalls how tracking was a matter of materially and emotionally preparing for what was to come with menstruation—exacerbated feelings of dysmorphia 745 Fig. 55.1 Respondents’ experiences of menstrual-related issues: themes and subthemes (Credit: Robyn Steward, Laura Crane, Eilish Mairi Roy, Anna Remington, and Elizabeth Pellicano) 755 Fig. 56.1 “How Lybrel Works” from (Source Credit: Wyeth Pharmaceuticals) 777 Fig. 57.1 Sarah Maple, Menstruate with Pride, oil on canvas, 275 × 275 cm 2011 (Credit: Sarah Maple) 796 Fig. 58.1 The Burden of Bearing. Medium: watercolor, acrylic, collage, and ink (Credit: Danielle Boodoo-Fortunè 2013) 805 Fig. 58.2 From left to right, the text on the banners reads: fatigue, imbalance, pain, inaccessible, self loathing, shame, extra toil (Credit: Gabriella Boros 2012) 805 Fig. 58.3 The Lost Ones. Nichole Speciale (Credit: Nichole Speciale 2014) 806 Fig. 58.4 Threaded Together. Johanna Falzone. Thread, toilet. Completed in 2013. Originally installed at the Howard Johnson Motel in St. Augustine, FL (Credit: Johanna Falzone 2013) 807 LIST OF FIGURES xlv Fig. 58.5 Threaded Together. Johanna Falzone. Thread, tampons, maxi-pads. Completed in 2013. Originally installed at the Howard Johnson Motel in St. Augustine, FL (Credit: Johanna Falzone 2013) 808 Fig. 58.6 My Mirror by Phoebe Chin Ying Man. Sanitary napkins, egg shells, and a mirror, 55 cm × 55 cm × 4 cm (Credit: Phoebe Chin Ying Man 2014) 809 Fig. 58.7 My Mirror (detail) by Phoebe Chin Ying Man. Sanitary napkins, egg shells, and a mirror, 55 cm × 55 cm × 4 cm (Credit: Phoebe Chin Ying Man 2014) 809 Fig. 58.8 Stop the Flow of Violence. Period. From Feminine Protection? series. Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch. Materials: Plastic tampon applicators, woven together in the shape of an AK-47 (Credit: Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch 2015. Photography: Deb Dutcher. Graphic Design: Cheryl Robock) 810 Fig. 59.1 Ladies Home Journal, 1921 (Credit: Copyright Kimberly- Clark Worldwide, Inc. Reprinted with permission) 822 Fig. 66.1 Menarche by age group (Credit: Jennifer Rothchild and Priti Shrestha Piya) 918 Fig. 66.2 Common taboos reported in Nepal (Credit: Jennifer Rothchild and Priti Shretstha Piya) 921 Fig. 67.1 Molly Grows Up Jensen image: “Miss Jensen teaches the students on the reproductive cycle” (Credit: Medical Arts Productions for Personal Products Corp. [Modess] 1953) 935 Fig. 67.2 Molly Grows Up Molly image: “Molly plays with her older sister’s sanitary pad” (Credit: Medical Arts Productions for Personal Products Corp. [Modess] 1953) 936 Fig. 71.1 Day 5 of “Sloughing,” a 28-day performance by Raegan Truax. Pictured: Thao P. Nguyen (performing) and Raegan Truax (artist) at Royal NoneSuch Gallery in Oakland, CA. (Credit: Jeremiah Barber 2017) 1012 xlvi LIST OF FIGURES xlvii list of tAbles Table 23.1 The most widely used PMS symptom tracking tools the ‘DRSP’ and ‘PSST’ 296 Table 46.1 Study characteristics 611 Table 46.2 Awareness of menstruation prior to menarche 612 Table 46.3 Most commonly reported sources of menstrual information 614 Table 46.4 Negative reaction upon reaching menarche 618 Table 46.5 Physical impacts of menstruation 619 Table 46.6 Social impacts of menstruation 622 Table 46.7 Menstrual hygiene management practices (%) 625 Table 51.1 FDA-required absorbency ranges for labeling of tampon products sold in the US 692 Table 52.1 Overview of absenteeism studies 707 Table 55.1 Background information for respondents to the online survey for each (autistic, non-autistic) group 753 Table 55.2 Participants’ responses to the question, “How did you first learn about periods?” 754 Table 59.1 The Femcare market in Las Americas 825 Table 69.1 Participant demographic information 966 Table 69.2 Summary table: Participant demographic information 967 xlix reprint credits Several chapters in this Handbook were previously published. They include: “Prisons that Withhold Menstrual Pads Humiliate Women and Violate Basic Rights” by Chandra Bozelko was first published on June 12, 2015 in The Guardian. Reprinted with permission. No further reproduction or distribu- tion of the material is allowed without permission from the publisher. “Navigating the Binary: A Visual Narrative of Trans and Genderqueer Menstruation” S.E. Frank and Jac Dellaria was published in an extended form as Frank S. E. (2020) “Queering Menstruation: Trans and Non-Binary Identity and Body Politics.” Sociological Inquiry. 90 (2). Reprinted with per- mission. [OA CC-BY 4.0]. “Out of the Mikvah, into the World” by Tova Mirvas was first published on September 19, 2017 in The Lenny Letter. It is excerpted from the 2018 mem- oir The Book of Separation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reprinted with permission. No further reproduction or distribution of the material is allowed without permission from the publisher. “The Menstrual Mark: Menstruation as Social Stigma” by Ingrid Johnston- Robledo and Joan C. Chrisler was first published in 2013 in Sex Roles. 68 (1–2): 9–18. Reprinted with permission. No further reproduction or distribu- tion of the material is allowed without permission from the publisher. “If Men Could Menstruate” by Gloria Steinem was first published in October 1978 in Ms. Magazine. Reprinted with permission. No further reproduction or distribution of the material is allowed without permission from the publisher. “Mapping the Knowledge and Understanding of Menarche, Menstrual Hygiene and Menstrual Health among Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle- Income Countries” by Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli and Sheila Vipul Patel was first published in Reproductive Health. 14 (30): 1–16. Reprinted with permission [OA CC-BY 4.0]. “Life is Much More Difficult to Manage During Periods”: Autistic Experiences of Menstruation by Robyn Steward, Laura Crane, Eilish Mairi Roy, Anna Remington, Elizabeth was first published in 2018 in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 48(12): 4287–4292. Reprinted with permission. [OA CC-BY 4.0]. “Not a Real Period”: Social and Material Constructions of Menstruation by Katie Ann Hasson was first published in 2016 in Gender & Society. 30 (6): 958–983. Reprinted with permission. No further reproduction or distribu- tion of the material is allowed without permission from the publisher. “Sex during Menstruation: Race, Sexual Identity, and Women’s Qualitative Accounts of Pleasure and Disgust” by Breanne Fahs was first published in 2011 in Feminism & Psychology. 21 (2): 155–78. Reprinted with permission. No further reproduction or distribution of the material is allowed without permission from the publisher. “The Messy Politics of Menstrual Activism” by Chris Bobel and Breanne Fahs was first published in 2018 in Reger, J. (Ed). Nevertheless, They Persisted: Feminisms and Continued Resistance in the U.S. Women’s Movement. New York, NY: Routledge, 151–169. No further reproduction or distribution of the material is allowed without permission from the publisher. l REPRINT CREDITS 1 CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Menstruation as Lens—Menstruation as Opportunity Chris Bobel The field of critical menstruation studies is burgeoning. And so this Handbook arrives just in time to capture a robust and carefully curated view of where we are now and where we might go next. But it is 2020, and menstruation is as old as humanity itself. Why is this the first handbook to bring together this body of knowledge? To state the obvious, menstruation and more broadly, the menstrual cycle are often dismissed and derided. The same goes for menopause, at the further end of the reproductive life span. It is transgressive to resist the norm of menstrual (and menopausal) concealment. With notable exceptions, across cultures and historical eras, we socialize this biological process—including serious inquiry into its form, function, and meaning—into hiding. This is shortsighted and at the same time deeply revealing, as it shines a bright spot- light on the need for change. After all, a dearth of attention to a fundamental reality and indeed a vital sign is not only a profound knowledge gap, it is an exposure of the power of misogyny and stigma to suppress knowledge pro- duction. And when we lack knowledge, we cannot effectively act to effect change. Menstruation as lens Of course, there has been relevant scholarship, but until recently men- struation as a subject of research and advocacy has been relegated to the fringes. There have been moments when menstruation broke through, such as when feminist artist Judy Chicago created her iconic lithograph “Red Flag” in 1971, a depiction of a hand removing a tampon, shocking viewers into engaging the everyday reality of menstruation. In 1977 The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR) was founded by a multidisciplinary group of scholars who were feminist pathbreakers in understanding the centrality of © The Author(s) 2020 C. Bobel et al. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, 2 C. BOBEL menstrual cycle research to women’s health. In 1978 Gloria Steinem penned her classic satirical essay “If Men Could Menstruate”—a piece, included in this Handbook because it continues to slyly expose the sexism that shapes our menstrual culture. And in the early 1980s, an outbreak of Toxic Shock Syndrome, a rare but severe illness, was linked to the use of super-absorbent tampons. These breakthroughs—artistic, scholarly, popular, and tragic—laid important ground now being built upon in the early twenty-first century, a time in which the menstrual cycle moves from margin to center as a subject of urgent concern and enthusiastic exploration. Menstruation as opportunity It has been said so often it is now cliché—“menstruation is having its moment!” November’s issue of Cosmopolitan dubbed 2015 “the year the period went public,” and indeed, the half decade since has brought us a tremendous diversity of menstrual -positive expressions—from the artistic to the prac- tical, the serious and the playful, the local and the global. Instagram made the news when Rupi Kaur’s photo of her period-stained pajama pants was (twice) removed and outcry across social media was loud and persistent. The unique menstrual challenges of women and girls living on the streets and schoolgirls in low- and middle-income countries inspired a raft of grassroots campaigns. Efforts to de-tax menstrual products succeeded in multiple coun- tries—first in Kenya in 2004. Canada dropped the tax in 2015, and Malaysia, India, and Australia followed in 2018. In 2019, a short documentary about the birth of a menstrual-pad-making microbusiness won the Academy Award for best short documentary just a year after a biopic about the inventor of the machine making those pads, Arunachalam Muruganantham, enjoyed Bollywood success—and beyond. We finally have a period emoji—no small thing, given the centrality of phones and social media in everyday life—and menstrual apps abound. National, state, and municipal programs in countries from Kenya to Scotland provide free menstrual supplies to menstruators in schools, prisons, shelters, and other public facilities. Considered together, these events constitute a shift. Since these watershed moments, attention to menstruation has intensified and diversified. To those of us working in this area, we find ourselves breathless, trying to keep up. But we are not complaining! Menstruation is having its moment—no doubt. And we aim to seize it in the shape of the Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies. We built this book—numbering 72 chapters, written by a total 134 contributors from 23 countries—to provide an unmatched resource for scholars, activists, policy makers, and practitioners, both those new to and already familiar with the field. At its core, the Handbook is animated by two intertwined central ques- tions: What new lines of inquiry, including research questions and social jus- tice engagements, are possible when we center our attention on menstrual health and politics across the lifespan? And what knowledge is gained when 1 INTRODUCTION: MENSTRUATION AS LENS—MENSTRUATION AS OPPORTUNITY 3 menstruation emerges as a dynamic category of analysis? The answers to these questions take shape in this collection of empirical research and theoretical essays that are supplemented with first-person narratives; practice notes from those working in the field; poetry, and visual art. We conclude each of our six sections with what we call “transnational engagements”—rich conversa- tions across diverse spaces, experiences, and identities which appear as actual dialogues in some sections and as distinct voices responding to a shared set of questions in others. What unites these different forms of knowledge is a shared commitment to advancing menstruation as a way to make sense of political, social, medical, and/or biological processes, and the recursive work embedded in the menstrual cycle’s myriad social constructions. Our choices here deviate from those made in most conventional academic handbooks. In this rapidly growing field of inquiry and advocacy, a diversity of voices and approaches shape what we know—and this Handbook aims to capture those many articulations. We take very seriously feminist critiques of epistemological rigidity that reflect a very narrow (and privileged) idea of what counts as knowledge. Indeed, expertise comes in many forms. The broad range of the content is its strength, but it also stretches the limits of what some readers might consider a more uniform set of readings. Through our editorial processes, we chose to preserve the unique writing styles of our contributors, pushing against the usual impulses in edited collections to standardize content so that each chapter aligns nicely with the next. In our section titled “Menstruation as Structural,” for example, several practice notes written by policy makers are peppered among more scholarly chap- ters penned by academics who review the extant literature and/or offer new insights based on their original research. The Handbook also includes per- sonal narratives that explore cultural and religious practices related to men- struation, menstruating while in detention, and the relationship between child marriage and menstruation. These chapters bring together different ways of peering inside what’s at stake when menstruation is regarded as a structural issue, one ripe for policy interventions, with real-life implications for human beings. Throughout the book, our editorial choices should make clear that we value the implied dialogue and symbiosis between those living the issues, those conducting research, and those putting it to work. With this in mind, the chapters in this collection reflect different forms of knowledge that are shaping critical menstruation studies—a field that, from its beginning, has been a site where activists, artists, journalists, clinicians, and researchers have each contributed to its articulation and application. A field that, until recently, went largely unnamed. Similar to critical race stud- ies or critical gender studies, critical menstruation studies is premised upon menstruation as a category of analysis: asking how systems of power and knowledge are built upon its understanding and, furthermore, who benefits from these social constructions. Critical menstruation studies—which some argue might be more aptly named critical menstrual studies, to capture the 4 C. BOBEL menstrual cycle across the life course, including, but not limited to, men- struation itself—is a coherent and multidimensional transdisciplinary subject of inquiry and advocacy, one that enables an exciting epistemological clarity that holds significant potential for knowledge production and social transfor- mation. This Handbook is the first to coin the term—with thanks to Sharra Vostral who suggested it and conceptualized the Handbook structure with me at the advent of this project. The Handbook’s purpose, then, is to repre- sent a particular landscape of knowledge that highlights its current diversity and promise as the field rapidly develops and expands. We seek to explore this landscape in all its diversity with lively intent. But this is not an intellectual playground where ideas are vetted out of reach of the lived experiences of real people in real time. The stakes in this emerging field are high. Between 1970 and 1980, 941 American women were diagnosed with Toxic Shock Syndrome, 73 of which died (Vostral 2018). The story of tampon-related TSS is an object lesson at the intersec- tion of capitalism, gendered consumption, and faulty techno-science, a tragic illustration of both the literal and figurative costs of stigma. Stigma’s impact can be quite insidious and expansive in ways that capture far less media atten- tion than the TSS crisis. To wit, we include a chapter about endometriosis by patient advocate and health educator Heather Guidone who describes the damage done—physically, psychologically, emotionally, and socially—through a combination of lengthy diagnostic delays and disease illiteracy, causing both patients and practitioners to dismiss the disease’s wide-ranging symptoms as routine. In short, and quite literally, menstrual stigma harms. And that is why we are unequivocal. Attention to menstrual issues across the life span surfaces broader societal issues and tensions, including gender inequal- ity, practices and discourses of embodiment, processes of racialization and com- modification, and emergent technologies as read through various disciplines and interdisciplines (for example, history, psychology, communication studies, sociology, anthropology, art, nursing, gender studies, public health, law pol- icy analysis—the list goes on). Put differently, menstruation-as-unit-of-analysis serves as a gateway—both conceptually and symbolically—to reveal, unpack, and complicate inequalities across biological, social, cultural, religious, political, and historical dimensions. Yes. Menstruation matters. Menstruation as lens: menstruation as opportunity The members of the editorial team share a commitment to produce a collection that is purposely interdisciplinary and transnational. It draws on fields in the humanities and social sciences, intentionally stopping at the boundary of basic biomedical research about menstruation. Here, we used “menstruation as lens, menstruation as opportunity” to think beyond anat- omy and biology. We chose to dig into the meanings of menstruation. As such, we opted to organize the Handbook outside the more normative life course approach from menarche to menopause. While we acknowledge this 1 INTRODUCTION: MENSTRUATION AS LENS—MENSTRUATION AS OPPORTUNITY 5 linear process, we also recognize its limitations. Here, we are doing some- thing different. We have organized the book thematically into six overlapping sections, each edited by an associate editor: Menstruation as Fundamental, Menstruation as Embodied, Menstruation as Rationale, Menstruation as Structural, Menstruation as Material and Menstruation as Narrative. Each of these sections is introduced by a short framing essay, authored by its editor. We acknowledge that the Handbook is hardly comprehensive. For one, we failed—in spite of our best efforts—to produce a collection that adequately decentered Western voices by engaging more scholars from the Global South. We hope that subsequent editions of the Handbook will more successfully meet this crucial goal. And of course, there are many topics left unaddressed. We need more work that explores the measured impacts of menstrual stigma, for example, especially for marginalized menstruators. There is a need for research that bridges menstrual and menopausal realities in the Global South and Global North, to substantively and responsibly explore not only the dif- ferences, but also the similarities in these spaces. No doubt, readers will see, and we fervently hope, respond to innumerable opportunities for further study. Because, done right, critical menstruation studies not only sheds light on diverse experiences across the menstrual life course, it also brings fresh fodder to persistent questions: What is the relationship between embodiment and identity? What constitutes a health crisis? How do we navigate the ten- sions between tradition and modernity? How do we create a world where all bodies thrive? Through these sections and the Handbook as a whole, we aim to demonstrate the richness that is the field of critical menstruation studies, a polyvocal constellation of scholarship and advocacy that is finally coming into its own. reference Vostral, Sharra. 2018. Toxic Shock: A Social History. New York, NY: New York University Press. 6 C. BOBEL Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. PART I Menstruation as Fundamental 9 CHAPTER 2 Introduction: Menstruation as Fundamental Inga T. Winkler Most articles on menstruation start by pointing out that menstruation is a normal biological process. This, of course, is true. But at the same time, menstruation is so much more for many people; in fact, it is fundamental. Menstruation unites the personal and the political, the intimate and the public, and the physiological and the socio-cultural. Menstruation is fundamental because it either facilitates or impedes the realization of a whole range of human rights. In 2019, a group of United Nations human rights experts acknowledged that The stigma and shame generated by stereotypes around menstruation have severe impacts on all aspects of women’s and girls’ human rights, including their human rights to equality, health, housing, water, sanitation, education, freedom of religion or belief, safe and healthy working conditions, and to take part in cultural life and public life without discrimination. (United Nations 2019) Because these dimensions of menstruation in different spheres of life shape lived experiences, we begin this Handbook with a series of chapters that focus on the voices and lived experiences of menstruators in different contexts. They all menstruate, but their unique socio-cultural, religious, and political contexts differentially shape and provide meaning to their experiences. The coherence of this set of chapters lies in its deliberate diversity—in content, experiences, formats, and authors. Regarding the latter, while I aimed to include an even more diverse representation, I am keen to acknowl- edge the range of backgrounds of those who wrote for this section across geography, culture, religion, race, ethnicity, caste, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Sometimes more explicitly, sometimes more implicitly, they all bring their own lived experiences into their research and writing. © The Author(s) 2020 C. Bobel et al. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, 10 I. T. WINKLER Not only do the chapters highlight the uniqueness of different expe- riences, but they also present them in diverse ways. Some chapters are tra- ditional research chapters, others are personal narratives, and yet another takes the form of a conversation between different contributors, which we call “Transnational Engagements” that punctuate each section. As editor, I value these different forms of knowledge and how they contribute to a bet- ter understanding of menstruation. I consider this all the more important in such a rapidly emerging field as Critical Menstruation Studies, in which many questions are still underexplored. To begin to address these questions, contributors in this section address menstruation in different conditions, including informal settlements, home- lessness, detention, disability, child marriage, and migration. The latter chapters in this section complement these perspectives by adding the layers of religion, culture, and caste. Annie McCarthy and Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt focus on the experiences of women in Delhi’s informal settlements to describe the ways women manage the structural deficits they face, reconfigure notions of privacy, and navigate changing gender relations. The theme of navigating the need for privacy in public space is also central to Shailini Vora’s exploration of homelessness for women in Bristol, UK who are conscious of their doubly stigmatized status as ‘homeless’ menstruators—a precarious reality that forces strategic management and concealment of their menstrual status. The unwanted publicness of menstrual experiences is further put into stark relief by Chandra Bozelko speaking about her experience living in detention, most poignantly, the shame and humiliation of staining her clothes and hav- ing to ask male guards for tampons and pads. Tomi-Ann Roberts comple- ments this perspective by detailing the experiences of women deprived of liberty who undergo a degrading strip search en masse. She argues that this is a uniquely misogynist form of punishment which women experience against the background of the objectification and self-objectification of their bodies. Trans and genderqueer menstruators also deal with unwanted publicness as well as social expectations, standards of femininity, and a range of constraints in social and physical spheres. S. E. Frank and Jac Dellaria present these in a visual narrative that focuses on everyday experiences. The power over women’s bodies is a central theme in Linda Steele’s and Beth Goldblatt’s chapter. The authors powerfully demonstrate that women and girls with disabilities are perceived as mentally and physically incapable of meeting gendered norms of menstrual concealment which leads to coercive interventions by parents, carers, medical professionals, and judges, particularly through sterilization. In a different context, Musu Bakoto Sawo presents a narrative of coercion and her journey into forced womanhood. Her story powerfully describes how she turned from a survivor of child marriage into a children’s and women’s rights activist. All these chapters show how experiences of menstruation are shaped by gendered expectations about women’s bodies in social context. Alex Hawkey’s, Jane Ussher’s, and Janette Perz’s contribution is a potent demonstration 2 INTRODUCTION: MENSTRUATION AS FUNDAMENTAL 11 of these forces as it emphasizes the shifting constructions and experiences of menarche and menstruation from the perspective of migrant and refugee women resettled in Australia and Canada. As the section proceeds, the frame broadens to offer religious and cultural perspectives on menstruation. Most often, when discussing religion and men- struation, the language is one of restriction and oppression. Ilana Cohen’s exploration of the menstrual traditions in both Judaism and Hinduism suc- ceeds in adding complexity to that frame. She examines how menstrual practices contribute to a better understanding of the ways a religious com- munity defines and (re)produces itself. This overview is complemented by two personal narratives that provide additional perspectives on menstruation and religion. Tova Mirvis offers a personal reflection on the Jewish prac- tice of mikvah, or ritual bath after the completion of her menstrual period. She shares her growing doubts about her religious beliefs and laws which required the mikvah, eventually leading her to leave the religious world of which she was a part. Deepthi Sukumar’s narrative addresses the intersection of Hinduism, menstruation, and caste. She compellingly details that men- strual restrictions often associated with Hinduism have never affected her, a Dalit. She argues that “caste is her period:” whether menstruating or not, Dalit women are considered ‘impure’ and ‘polluting.’ Alma Gottlieb contributes a chapter that reflects on menstrual taboos. We often hear that menstruation is shrouded in taboos, myths, and silence. But what do we really mean by this claim? In response, Gottlieb disentangles the idea of taboos, taking the reader to the origin of the Polynesian word tapu, which is neither negative nor positive but invokes the notion of a state of being that is too powerful to act on. From there, she discusses a diverse range of encounters with menstruation in various cultures and inserts greater nuance into the discussion on taboos. To conclude, the individuals participat- ing in this section’s “Transnational Engagements” on cultural and religious menstrual practices edited by Trisha Maharaj and Inga T. Winkler further the diversity of perspectives. The contributors demonstrate varying perceptions of menstrual practices including how they exercise their agency when deciding if or how to engage in these practices and/or their transformation. This con- versation thus productively complicates the too-common depiction of all menstrual practices as restrictions necessarily forced upon women. The chapters in this section demonstrate the importance—and indeed urgency—of considering the lived experiences of all menstruators. These vary widely and are shaped by a range of different factors including religion, culture, political systems, socialization, caste, disability, place of residence, among many others. In many cases, an intersection of factors such as gender and disability; or gender, religion, and caste determine menstrual experiences. This material offers insights into some individuals’ menstrual experiences many of whom are marginalized on different grounds. The chapters in this section are comple- mented by additional perspectives in other sections of the Handbook, such as the experiences of women and girls in refugee camps described by Siri Tellier 12 I. T. WINKLER et al., autistic experiences of menstruation described by Robyn Steward et al., and trans menstruation addressed by Klara Rydström. What stands out throughout the section are the tensions between ‘the public’ and ‘the private.’ Many individuals shared feelings of embarrassment when publicly disclosing their menstrual status or shame when having to request menstrual products. To avoid such discomfort, individuals often seek out privacy when menstruating. This forces us to ask: Why do we think that menstruation should be kept invisible and private? Why is this natural bio- logical process considered embarrassing? And how do gendered social norms and perceptions of modesty inform our understanding of what menstruation ‘should be?’ In answering these questions, we must be very careful not to impose the burden of transforming societal norms on individuals alone who are often in the most marginalized or vulnerable situations. Such transforma- tion requires us all to contribute to broader societal change. Menstruation is fundamental because it is ultimately about power rela- tions—the power of the guard in the prison or staff in a homeless shelter to dispense or withhold menstrual products, the power of judges to authorize sterilizations, the power of parents and relatives to force young girls to marry, and the power of religious authorities to expect unflinching conformity with religious norms. Adopting a human rights perspective to addressing men- struation forces us to rethink and shift these power relations. At the core of human rights is the dignity and agency of every individual, and the voices included in this section powerfully demonstrate that such agency can take many different forms: turning from a survivor of child marriage or someone formerly living in detention into advocates whose voices are heard widely; transforming socio-cultural norms; and finding meaning in religious men- strual norms. Considering menstruation as fundamental means to enable women and girls and anyone who menstruates to exercise their agency. reference United Nations. 2019. “International Women’s Day—8 March 2019 Women’s Menstrual Health Should No Longer Be a Taboo.” Accessed July 26, 2019. 24258&LangID=E. 2 INTRODUCTION: MENSTRUATION AS FUNDAMENTAL 13 Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. 15 CHAPTER 3 Bleeding in Public? Rethinking Narratives of Menstrual Management from Delhi’s Slums Annie McCarthy and Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt Flowing from inside the body to out, menstrual blood is experienced in both public and private realms—where hierarchies of gender, knowledge, and power position menstruators1 as responsible for, but not always in control of, the meanings attached to their own bodies. Menstruating bodies are, thus, both objects and agents, where agency is at once the agency of the body as an independent actor that is not always or easily controlled and agency over the body (Fingerson 2006, 23). As “both the objects and subjects of their bodies, of menarche and menstruation” (Puri 1999, 43), menstruators are positioned betwixt and between the public and the private (see Vora [Chapter 4] in this volume). Experiences of menstruation, while deeply personal and embodied, also have an external biomedical framing; menstrual blood is a private secret that is expected to be concealed (see Wood [Chapter 25] in this volume), yet menarche can have radical implications for a girl’s lifestyle and mobility (Jewitt and Ryley 2014; Puri 1999). Hygiene is considered an individual pursuit—yet, in the absence of sanitation infrastructure, it becomes a pub- lic issue. The shifting meanings and values assigned to ‘public’ and ‘private’ across regimes of knowledge, culture, and environment are, thus, the key to understanding experiences of menstruation in any context. To illustrate the salience of these ideas for Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in the Indian context, this chapter analyzes the gendered challenges of everyday life in informal settlements in Delhi. We explore the experiences of women and girls who manage menstruation in conditions of extreme congestion to argue that the way privacy is conceived of in MHM initiatives—as self-evidently material—erases the complex ways privacy is socially constructed, gendered, and layered with power dynamics. To draw out these points, this paper will © The Author(s) 2020 C. Bobel et al. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, 16 A. McCARTHY AND K. LAHIRI-DUTT first introduce the deficit framing of MHM in India and then move through a discussion of key themes: privacy, space, and knowledge before introduc- ing the water and sanitation issues faced in Delhi. Subsequently, it will more explicitly introduce the context of informal settlements in Delhi, before lastly focusing on a particular settlement and the story of one woman: Champa. This chapter brings together the findings and insights of a number of research projects. The first author draws on her experience of fieldwork with children from four slum communities in Delhi, in which she documented the ways these children and their communities were framed by sanitation and hygiene promotion campaigns (see McCarthy 2015). The second author contributes specific data on women’s experiences of menstruation, collected through long interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observation carried out in one particular slum cluster in the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA). The women in this latter study group were selected on the basis of familiarity developed from earlier research. indicAting deficits When engaging with the MHM literature on India, one is invariably and immediately bombarded with a range of ‘alarming’ statistics that starkly high- light the ‘deficiencies’ in Indian women’s and girls’ menstrual knowledge and practices. These studies report statistics such as 88% of menstruating women in India use fabric, rags, ash, straw or wood shavings to absorb their men- strual flow; “70% of mothers consider menstruation ‘dirty,’ perpetuating a culture of shame and ignorance. . . . Girls are typically absent for 20% of the school year due to menstruation”; and poor menstruation hygiene practices cause a “70% increase in incidence of reproductive tract infections” (USAID, Kiawah Trust, and Dasra 2014, 2). In these studies, individual experiences of menstruation, studied in a specific context, are transformed into numeri- cal data sets that circulate globally to justify interventions largely focused on poor and marginalized women in the Global South. Key indicators2 inform- ing these data sets are knowledge of menstruation at menarche; use of men- strual products; days absent from school or work as a result of menstruation; rates of reproductive tract infections (RTIs); access to clean water and toilet facilities; experience of menstrual taboos; and methods of disposing absor- bents (see Rajagopal and Mathur 2017; Mahon and Fernandes 2010; Kumar and Srivastava 2011 for Indian examples). These indicators, taken together, transform menstruation into a series of milestones and practices that can be assessed against global rubrics of health, dignity, education, and productiv- ity (for one example see Sommer 2010). Yet, the benevolence and utilitari- anism of this language obscures the fact that these indicators are embedded in specific contexts, and that a variety of structural, religious, cultural, and gendered practices—that both construct and obstruct the ‘management’ of menstruation—are involved in determining an individual’s menstrual management practices. 3 BLEEDING IN PUBLIC? RETHINKING NARRATIVES … 17 Rather than any specific engagement with these local meanings of men- struation, contemporary MHM initiatives emerging out of transnational human rights and development discourses, assume a universal human sub- ject with rights to ‘dignity,’ ‘privacy,’ ‘hygiene,’ ‘health,’ and ‘productivity.’ While claiming universality, each of these terms has a unique history that cannot be separated from the violent construction of colonized, feminized, ‘dirty,’ ‘lazy’ bodies as the ‘other’ against which first colonial, and later devel- opmentalist projects were created and sustained. Today, alongside ‘health’ it is the paradigm of dignity that is the key discursive tool mobilized by con- temporary MHM initiatives (for examples see Mahon and Fernandes 2010; Phillips-Howard et al. 2016 and for a critique see Bobel 2019). Yet the dis- cursive production of ‘indignity’ in studies on MHM in India necessitates critiques similar to those mounted by Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay (2006) in his attack on Arjun Appadurai’s (2004) ‘apologia’ of World Bank programs targeting open defecation. Mukhopadhyay (2006, 227) accuses Appadurai of “maintaining the moral purity of categories—dignity, humiliation, purity, pollution, right, wrong” at the expense of excluding “a more porous field of responses.” Mukhopadhyay (2006) suggests that in abandoning these pure categories, we should not ignore the ‘problem’ but, instead, engage “with popular or subaltern practices as ethico-political responses and [reflect] on their sources of authority rather than simply denigrating them from the vantage point of some absolute wisdom (227).” This kind of commitment informs our approach, particularly our representation of women’s and girls’ practices of managing menstruation in the latter half of this paper. mAnAging privAcy And knowledge The translation of ‘individual’ practices into indicators used to promote standardized education and MHM campaigns forces us to re-examine the language of ‘management’ and ask “who is doing the managing?” and “what exactly is it that they are managing?” Lahiri-Dutt’s (2015) critique of MHM projects suggests that these programs aim to ‘empower’ menstruators to manage their periods as individual, private concerns free from social taboos or stigma. Yet underlying these efforts are a set of assumptions about the pos- itive relationship between privacy, bodily autonomy and empowerment, and negative connotations of ‘public’ as the space where stigma and restriction are imposed. This binary—and the responsibility it places on women to ‘man- age’ their own bodies rather than on society to ‘manage’ its expectations— have long been challenged by feminist and radical menstruation activists both in the West (see Bobel 2010) and more recently in India where there has been a recent spate of menstruation-related activism (Prasanna 2016; Fadnis 2017). These recent campaigns in India have confronted restrictions on entering places of worship while menstruating and government taxes on menstrual products. The latter have involved challenging public stigma around menstruation by brandishing bloody pads and mobilizing hashtags 18 A. McCARTHY AND K. LAHIRI-DUTT like #DontTaxMyPeriod (Fadnis 2017) to oppose the very real nexus of gendered violence, capitalism, and medicalization that makes bleeding bodies a ‘problem.’ Yet outside of these moments that intentionally orchestrate the private ‘bleeding over’ into the public, everyday experiences of menstruation in India are similarly saturated with complex violences that are neither entirely public nor completely private, entirely biological or cultural, familial, or indi- vidual. Jyoti Puri’s (1999) work among middle-class Indian women speaks to this tension. Bitter tales of the rules and restrictions imposed post menarche intertwine with individual impulses to conceal and individually manage men- struation. These stories point to the impossibility of containing menstruation within the bounds of an individual body, and force us when considering expe- riences of menstruation in informal settlements to interrogate global develop- ment funders’ MHM interventions that largely seek to render menstruation a ‘technical’ problem with technical solutions (Li 2007).3 Congestion is a defining feature of life in informal settlements and plays a powerful role in shaping the lives of women and girls affecting their personal care, physical and mental well-being (see Reddy and Snehalatha 2011; Joshi, Fawcett, and Mannan 2011). These cramped conditions also contribute to the reconfiguring of the very notion of privacy itself. Thus, in informal settlements, privacy is not necessarily a material space but a tech- nique of modulating, or even countering forces of social control. Indeed, Gan (2009, 3) observes that “in a rigid social environment, privacy preserves a small breathing space, providing privacy from others while also enabling self-expression, the privacy to do something else or to be someone else.” Following Moore’s (1984, 6) definition of privacy as “a desire for socially approved protection against painful social obligations,” we are reminded of the ways that privacy for women in informal settlements produces spaces for an alternative identity that is different from their traditional domestic role or their role as wage earners. Women in informal settlements in Delhi are typically migrants from rural areas, who, on entering the sprawling urban metropolis, find themselves surrounded by rapid-paced social change. Thus, following Gan’s (2009, 3) argument—that privacy is a way to shield oneself from the grasping hand of social convention—we argue that rural women moving into the congested metropolis utilize techniques for the production of privacy to protect themselves from the impact of change and to pause and reconsider their place in the social mosaic. Here privacy is not the abil- ity to be alone with or have full control over one’s body, but is enabled by a series of techniques and practices that assert a claim to autonomy and iden- tity that is neither entirely spatial nor social. Ayona Datta’s (2008) reflections on her fieldwork in informal settlements in Delhi reminds us that gender is key to these practices, forcing us to recognize how “intimately the material- ities of bodies and bodily performances are connected to masculine or femi- nine marking of places, and how these are regulated and given form through narratives and discourses (202).” 3 BLEEDING IN PUBLIC? RETHINKING NARRATIVES … 19 Yet these local narratives and discourses are framed as at best irrelevant and at worst outright dangerous by MHM initiatives in India that highlight deficiencies in girls’ knowledge of menstruation prior to menarche. Studies of Indian girls have found that anywhere between 35 and 81% of girls sur- veyed are unaware of menstruation prior to menarche (see Van Eijk et al. 2016; USAID, Kiawah Trust, and Dasra 2014; Rajagopal and Mathur 2017; Zaidi, Sivakami, and Ramasamy 2015; Bhattacherjee et al. 2013). Noting this lack of knowledge, many of these studies go on to comment on the source and ‘quality’ of the knowledge these women and girls do pos- sess (see Van Eijk et al. 2016; Dasgupta and Sarkar 2008). These studies emphasize how the lack or ‘poor quality’ of girls’ knowledge leads to dis- tress, typically by describing how menarche triggers anxiety, panic, fear, and worries about imminent death. One study in Ranchi notes that among the slum girls surveyed, 54.5% were frightened and cried (Kumar and Srivastava 2011, 596). Yet in these studies this distress is not linked to bodily changes but an ‘ignorance’ of biological process that produce them. This discourse of ignorance-as-inevitably-causing-distress leads to the double victimization of women and girls as subject not only to their own bodies, but also to the ignorance of their own families and communities. Local ways of knowing about menstruation are further stigmatized by being labeled cultural and reli- gious, and are framed almost entirely through the twin lenses of taboo and restriction. Following Mohanty’s (1984) classic text on the production of ‘third world difference,’ we argue that such studies reinscribe the object sta- tus of these girls and women and in the process affirm teachers, public health officials, and development workers as the only true ‘subjects’ of MHM inter- ventions (for examples of this see Rajagopal and Mathur 2017; Kumar and Srivastava 2011). While we acknowledge that efforts to improve menstrual literacy are important, we suggest they must be framed in ways that acknowl- edge local knowledges and stop short of privileging outsider expertise as inherently superior. wAshing in delhi4 Although constantly welcoming new inhabitants, many of Delhi’s slums are decades old. From the beginning, “the building of planned Delhi was mirrored in the simultaneously mushrooming of the unplanned Delhi” (Baviskar 2003, 91). Today in Delhi, estimates of the population of slum set- tlements, officially called jhuggī jhoprī (JJ) clusters,5 range from 15% to over 50% of the urban population (Ghertner 2015, 6). This numerical uncertainty is both produced by and, in turn, produces spaces of infrastructural neglect, where informality is equated with illegality and slum dwellers are stigma- tized as ‘migrants’ deemed ineligible to share civic rights to the modern city (Ghertner 2015; Baviskar 2003; Datta 2012). Growing voices of discon- tent, powerfully mobilizing through Resident Welfare Associations (RWA), argue that slums are unsightly stains on the city, the last remnants of which 20 A. McCARTHY AND K. LAHIRI-DUTT have to be erased for Delhi to take its rightful place on the global stage (see Baviskar 2003; Bhan 2009; Datta 2012; Ghertner 2015). But such narra- tives of slums—as sites of filth and disease, as obstacles to development and modernity—are far older than the post-independence mushrooming of Delhi, and far more widespread. These have their origins in the colonial period when “doctors and surgeons helped to form and give seemingly scientific precision to abiding impressions of India as a land of dirt and disease, of lethargy and superstition, of backwardness and barbarity” (Arnold 1993, 292). When in 1888 Viceroy Lord Dufferin requested a general inquiry into the hygiene habits of India, colonial officials in their report wrote “to the masses of the people . . . sanitation is foolishness” (Prashad 2002, 47–48). But sanitation became “foolishness” as Prashad (2001) persuasively argues for colonial Delhi, precisely because the British pathologized Indians as impossibly dirty and declined to spend money on modern sanitation infrastructure. Contemporary WASH initiatives targeting informal settlements in Delhi articulate many of the same issues and doubts as Delhi’s colonial adminis- trators. Here questions about the attitudes and dispositions of the ‘unclean’ combine with the practical difficulties of making infrastructural changes in dense settlements to produce both a systematic disinclination, as well as finan- cial and bureaucratic barriers that prevent many of the innumerable small NGOs who have mushroomed in Delhi in recent years from engaging in costly infrastructure projects (one example of an organization encountered by McCarthy during her fieldwork is WASH United).6 This lack of engagement is stark considering that the urban poor in Delhi have “particularly vulnerable water access . . . millions lack official connections or even rights to public water supplies” (Truelove 2011, 147). Yaffa Truelove (2011) notes that even when available the “water supply is marked by such dramatic unreliability that the majority of residents engage in informal and supplemental water sources and practices” (147). Despite these gaps, many interventions into WASH by small NGOs witnessed by McCarthy during her fieldwork in Delhi in 2013 occurred entirely at the level of education and behavior change. These programs create a trap, in which slum dwellers without access to adequate sanitation infrastructure can never be clean enough to shatter ideas of their innate proclivity toward filth, nor adequately demonstrate their desire and worthiness to be given the infrastructure that would allow them to be ‘prop- erly clean.’ Seemingly stuck in this endless cycle of education campaigns, slum dwellers drift in and out of WASH initiatives that, just like the handwashing promotion campaign studied by McCarthy (2015) do not provide soap nor address issues of water accessibility. In the context of MHM, these education programs are mostly silent about one of the key biomedical facts of menarche: fertility. This is rather ironic given that, as Emily Martin (1999) has shown, the biomedical paradigm of menstruation is one of failed reproduction. This becomes even more para- doxical in the context of informal settlements in which a girl’s newly attained fertility is the driving force behind efforts to control or constrain her 3 BLEEDING IN PUBLIC? RETHINKING NARRATIVES … 21 movements in ways that ensure the preservation of her family’s izzat (honor/ integrity), preserve the possibilities for arranging a ‘good’ marriage, and ensure that both the daughter and her family do not become the subjects of cruel community gossip (see Chakraborty 2010). A training manual developed by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) in col- laboration with the Government of India (2013, 31) explicitly advises trainers to de-link the “teaching of sex education from training in menstrual hygiene practices, to avoid causing ethical or religious offense.” But this focus on men- struation as solely a “hygiene crisis” actively ignores many of the local social and moral meanings attached to menstruating bodies (Bobel 2019, 295). In the context of informal settlements, moral and social meanings are equally inscribed in local infrastructure and resources, often in deeply gen- dered ways. In the communities in which McCarthy worked in 2013, water was the greatest source of community tension; neighbors continually evalu- ated each other’s ‘private’ water use, misuse, or overuse in moral terms. In one slum community, girls vehemently denounced their neighbors’ water use, framing whole families as selfish and only able to think of themselves. An indi- vidual’s or family’s, use or perceived misuse of shared resources—water pumps and public toilets—becomes thickly layered with moral significance; people consider others ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on their usage of resources. Yet the necessity of using these ‘public’ resources, means that sanitation, in particular, the care of the menstruating body, in this context cannot be reduced to an individual ‘private’ project. Specifically, this moral quality means that ‘privacy,’ if conceived of spatially, is not just a question of being able to conceal one’s body and its processes, such as menstruation, but also the ability to shield oneself from the nexus of community observation and gossip. Yet returning to Moore’s (1984) definition of privacy as a “socially approved protection” (6) understanding privacy simply in terms of spatiality does not do justice to the extent to which community relations and gendered forms of participa- tion in networks of sharing and speaking construct meaningful personhood in these communities. To explore this further let us now explore the space of one informal settlement in Delhi. noidA In and around NOIDA, the popular acronym for New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, informal JJ clusters number between 200 and 310, with an additional 150–180 in the areas around Greater NOIDA. Each clus- ter may have 20–50 jhuggīs or dwellings, although often, there are several jhuggīs on a single plot of land. Living in these various communities are about 8000–10,000 women, most of whom work as domestic helpers in middle-class residences. Typically working between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., these women earn between INR 15,000 and INR 18,000 (USD 300–USD 360) a month. Having migrated from the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal—and also from Bangladesh—these predominantly low-caste 22 A. McCARTHY AND K. LAHIRI-DUTT women live in these slum settlements to work for the period of time it takes to save up to build a pakka (concrete) house in their home village or to save for their children’s marriages. In slum communities in NOIDA 20 or 30 peo- ple share a common latrine—made of bamboo sticks and tarpaulin with holes in the bottom to carry the excrement to the nearby field. In these communi- ties, each shanty home has three sections: a front, a middle, and a back. The small front section, made of bricks on the mud, is used for washing dishes and clothes; some women take their bath here—in their sari. This affords them some privacy—only their husband and children can come here, or see them. Then there is a small, canopied area where the family sleeps during the hot, humid summer, or entertains house guests, particularly men. At the very back is the family’s private area—possibly a wooden bed, with a mosquito net; and a shelf, or a box, that contains the family’s personal possessions. This rudimentary division of space is one technique of producing privacy that demonstrates both its spatial, social, and gendered characteristics. chAmpA Champa, a woman of around 32 years, lives with her husband and two children in such one settlement. Champa is from West Bengal. There is no government school for children living in this informal settlement, so her chil- dren do not go to school. Champa and her husband go out to work in the day, and the children cannot stay at home by themselves, so Champa takes them along to work. Sometimes they also help her with household chores or help their father collect and recycle garbage. Champa’s son, 11, is good at sweeping and scrubbing. She proudly recounted how her son often mocks her cleaning: “How do you clean rich people’s houses? How could they take your work and not complain?” Cleanliness and hygiene is, thus, a matter of pride for Champa and her son, who asserts his own claims to hygienic stand- ards higher than his mothers.7 While menstruating, Champa, like other women in the cluster, uses home- made napkins made from rolled up sections of old cloth. She says old cloth is soft. Champa uses stronger fabrics, such as sarī borders, to make a string to hold the roll in place. She throws away the cloth after one use; she never reuses the cloth because, unlike in her village, it is impossible to wash the used cloth in the cramped conditions of the shanty colony or in its crowded bathing place. When we asked how she ensured a steady supply of old saris, Champa said that she received old saris as gifts. She added that in the harsh weather of Delhi, the saris do not last long, soon becoming ready for use as rags. There are several waste bins that the slum community has set up and usually the garbage is burned by the community when the bins start to over- flow. When she puts on the cloth in her shanty, her husband stands guard outside to ensure her privacy. She puts on one cloth bundle before starting work early in the morning. She is often busy during the better part of the day, and is only able to change the pack after her late afternoon shower. 3 BLEEDING IN PUBLIC? RETHINKING NARRATIVES … 23 The role of husbands in assisting women with managing their menstruation was commonly reported during our focus groups. This points to the way privacy in this context is something that is relationally constructed, both along and across gendered lines. Yet that the couple collaborates to manage menstruation dismisses many beliefs of gender-based separation of male– female domains that are prevalent in feminist discourse. Champa cannot reuse her cloths, as many Indian women do, because she lacks privacy and access to resources to wash and dry cloths. MHM experts deplore the practice of reusing homemade ‘sanitary napkins’ particularly when they cannot, as is typically the case in informal settlements, be dried properly in full sunlight (for an example of this rhetoric see Mahon and Fernandes 2010). While public health experts stress that sunlight removes all traces of dampness and has a sterilizing effect, in cramped slum communi- ties exposing one’s cloths to the sun would also mean exposing the fact of one’s menstruation to the community. Reuse of improperly clean and dried cloths is in much MHM literature cited as a key factor of recurrent and dan- gerous RTI, yet this is an assumption that has been questioned in a systematic review (see Sumpter and Torondel 2013 for both examples and refutation). Despite this recent research, many MHM initiatives would likely celebrate Champa’s adoption of single-use absorbents. Yet such an evaluation would fail to take into account the broader ways the overcrowding in Champa’s settlement, its stretched water resources, the role of her husband in secur- ing her privacy, and her labor to continually source and make new cloths to absorb her menses, structure her life. By ignoring these social, infrastructural, and interpersonal conditions actually required to ‘manage’ menstruation, any simple celebration of the use of single-use absorbents in this context would fail to recognize the extent to which local menstrual management practices cut across public and private domains, configuring Champa as both an agent and something that is acted upon. If Champa had greater access to privacy, no doubt she would reuse her cloths, as many other Indian women do. This, in itself, should provoke us to think further about the politics of defining experiences of ‘lack,’ and to look further into the ways value is assigned to particular practices in particular contexts. Additionally, it forces us to ask, with Barbara Penner (2010): “When is provision good enough, dignified enough? And who decides?” chAnging meAnings of menstruAtion over the life course The simultaneously public and private nature of menstruation was further borne out during a focus group discussion with eight, initially reluctant, women living in the JJ cluster. To attempt to alleviate this discomfort we started ask- ing these women about experiences of menarche of girls in their community. Women in our focus group said that girls in this community get their period between the ages of 10 to 12. When they lived in the village, simple stree achar (feminine rituals) were performed to mark a girl’s puberty and menarche. 24 A. McCARTHY AND K. LAHIRI-DUTT While these rituals have been altered or simply omitted in the new context of the slum (see Hawkey, Ussher, and Perz [Chapter 10] in this volume), the onset of menstruation nonetheless sends out a ‘warning’ signal to a girl’s parents. In the village, as soon as the girl reaches puberty, the elders in the family began to alert the parents to start looking for a groom, to protect her virginity. Within a year or two of her first period, the girl will be married (see Sawo [Chapter 9] in this volume). In the slum, keeping a menstruating girl unmarried and at home for long is considered neither safe for the girl nor the family who must bear the burden of an unexpected pregnancy from a love affair or rape. While marriage is still considered the ‘only’ option for many fami- lies, growing discourses of girls’ education and awareness of laws prohibiting child marriage place many slum-dwelling families in precarious positions in relation to their teenage daughters who themselves are increasingly educated about their rights in local NGO programs teaching girls’ empowerment. For this generation of girls who have lived more of their life in the slum than the village and have often spent years in NGO programs cultivating educational and career aspirations, menstruation can signal much larger contestations about the meanings of childhood and adulthood. As a woman matures however, the significance of her menstruation changes. Women told us that a housewife in a village experiencing menstruation is seen as a body that needs to rest: she is not meant to enter the mandir (temple; or, at home, the corner where the idols are housed) or perform puja (worship) (see Cohen [Chapter 11] as well as Sukumar [Chapter 13] in this volume). She is not expected to go outdoors or mingle with others, and she is expected to rest in a room alone during those four days. Married women abstained from cooking for their families on those four days, and other women had to take up these tasks. In a large joint, or extended, family, this does not pose a problem, as extra hands are always around. In a village, menstruation tends to bind a woman’s body and her activities to a private space. Rather than seeing this entirely through the paradigm of ‘restriction’ and thus, negative gendered constructions of ‘cleanliness’ and ‘purity,’ we must realize the ways these prac- tices allowed women to rest completely for four days and offered their bod- ies a break from relentless labor. This other side of ‘confinement’ is that the necessity of contributing labor and its subsequent income to their smaller fam- ily units in Delhi, meant most women in slums avoided taking time off during menstruation. Yet even though they did not take this time off, women contin- ued to engage in practices of cleansing the body post menstruation, that would have previously initiated their return to everyday life. Thus, in spite of diffi- culties accessing water, and as testament to the importance of this ritual, most women wash their hair and clean their body once their period is over. Older women in the focus group noted that menstruation necessitated non-participation in devotional activities but also allowed them to avoid having sex with their husbands. Younger women agreed: “When we are in the village”, Champa said, “a husband does not come near the woman who is having her period, sex is completely forbidden.” However, once couples 3 BLEEDING IN PUBLIC? RETHINKING NARRATIVES … 25 are in the slum away from the joint family social controls are loosened, and husbands expect their wives to have sex on demand. From our discussions, this seemed to be one of the primary reasons of quarrels and ensuing fights, leading to violence between couples in the slum. Here competing demands made on the female body highlight tensions between reproductive labor and productive labor that women in informal settlements had to continually rene- gotiate in new settings far from their broader kin networks and the gendered norms that defined them. These selected stories, drawn from across spaces of the rural and urban and of adolescence and wifehood illuminate the ways menstruation—its broad socio-cultural meaning and its management at the bodily level—cannot be regarded as a singular or static process, but rather one that is mediated across the life course, through relations with others, by configuring and reconfig- uring space and by navigating expectations of productive and reproductive labor. In these communities, young girls look up to their mothers to teach them about self-care, and to their mother-in-law after marriage. In other words, knowledge about menstruation management is transmitted generationally. While their current location—far from their home village, state, or country— can and does disrupt traditional celebrations, cultural, familial, and generational knowledge of menstruation and related practices continue to be important even as they are challenged. Consequently, these resources—such as the stories shared in our focus groups documenting collaboration, nostalgia, and emerg- ing spaces of contestation—remain major keys to understanding women’s narratives of menstrual management practices. Largely deemed insufficient when examined through biomedical and hygienic lenses, this knowledge and the stories which encode it are fact deeply valued by women, and constitutes the first and primary site of information, meaning-making and support for most women. Returning to Mukhopadhyay (2006, 227) we must ask ourselves what it would mean to stop “denigrating” this knowledge “from the van- tage point of some absolute wisdom” and engage with it as a form of agency imbued with clues to what women and their communities value and seek. conclusion As we have shown, women’s own voices have for a long time been ignored in debates about and interventions into women’s MHM practices. In high- lighting interventions that denigrate women’s experiences and knowledge, we seek to challenge contemporary MHM initiatives and the extent to which they preserve and produce powerful discourses of ‘third world difference’ (Mohanty 1984). We argue that in Delhi’s informal settlements, women who are marginalized across multiple axes of class, caste, and gender face daily struggles to claim recognition and access to the city’s resources. We suggest that we can learn important lessons by drawing on the conversations with Champa and other women who constantly manage these structural deficits 26 A. McCARTHY AND K. LAHIRI-DUTT alongside the discourses of deficiency that are used to frame their lives. These women who were nostalgic for the menstrual management practices of village life and the corresponding period of rest force us to recognize that “women’s participation in gender-traditional religions” may not sig- nify passivity (Talukdar 2014, 141). Thus, by paying attention to forms of knowledge transmission and meaning-making of the kind expressed by these women we can better understand women’s lived experiences of menstrual ‘management.’ These meanings are shaped by environmental factors—rural vs urban settings, joint families vs nuclear, private vs public access water—and how notions of public and private are reconfigured and remade in informal settlements. As women in the focus group noted, once in the city, the special significance attributed to menstruation’s monthly occurrence is remarkably reduced, and other things, such as the commitment to be at the place of work on time, begin to dictate the daily rhythm of life. The absence of a clearer distinction between private and public spaces within jhuggīs, and the JJ clus- ters more broadly, means that new meanings are attributed to spaces, new ways of performing everyday practices are imagined and invented, and men- struation begins to assume and convey new connotations. Yet, these practices are not fixed, they change constantly, as women and men—living in extremely congested conditions that often provide no spatial privacy at all—assiduously and constantly recreate new ways of being. The tools used to ‘manage’ men- struation promoted by MHM initiatives—biomedical knowledge, single-use absorbents, access to toilets and water sources—are important, but seem to occupy a world apart from Champa’s, whose management techniques rely on kinship and relationality. By rendering menstruation a technical, hygienic crisis these initiatives at best ignore and at worst stigmatize the very things that make menstruation meaningful in the lives of women and girls in infor- mal settlements. notes 1. We will endeavor to use the gender-neutral language of menstruators through- out this paper, to avoid gender essentialism and acknowledge what Chris Bobel (2010, 164) refers to as the “inclusion fundamental to third-wave feminism.” But also, and perhaps more significantly, given the subject matter of this paper, we use this language to acknowledge the extent to which global inequalities of calorie intake, access to medical care, housing, and working conditions mean that menstruation can by no means be assumed or presumed to flow naturally and regularly from all bodies sexed female of reproductive age. 2. We borrow the language of indicators from Sally Engle Merry’s work, specif- ically The Seductions of Quantification: Measuring Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Sex Trafficking (2016). 3. Tania Li (2007, 7) reminds us, “the practice of ‘rendering technical’ confirms expertise and constitutes the boundary between those who are positioned as trustees, with the capacity to diagnose deficiencies in others, and those who are subject to expert direction.” 3 BLEEDING IN PUBLIC? RETHINKING NARRATIVES … 27 4. WASH is a widely used development acronym that stands for water, sanitation and hygiene. 5. Both the words jhuggī and jhoprī are used to describe an individual dwelling within a slum settlement with the phrase jhuggī jhoprī cluster or JJ cluster being used to describe the settlement itself. 6. In 2015 the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in an affidavit to the supreme court stated that there were 29.9 lakh or almost 3 million NGOs registered in India under the Society Registration Act (Rajagopal 2015). 76,566 of these NGOs were registered in Delhi—constituting roughly one registered NGO for every 248 people. 7. 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McCARTHY AND K. LAHIRI-DUTT Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. 31 CHAPTER 4 The Realities of Period Poverty: How Homelessness Shapes Women’s Lived Experiences of Menstruation Shailini Vora introduction Being on your period is the worst time for a woman to be homeless – it gives you that extra blow. —Simran While estimates vary, in the US, 553,000 people are experiencing homelessness on any single night (US Department of Housing and Urban Development 2018, 1), while this figure in the UK is roughly 320,000 (Shelter 2018). Single women make up over a quarter of the users of home- less services in the UK (Homeless Link 2017, 23), and this percentage is similar in the US, with 28% of people experiencing homelessness being sin- gle women (US Department of Housing and Urban Development 2018, 11). These numbers are likely to be significant underestimates given the number of women experiencing “hidden homelessness” (Watson with Austerberry 1986), who do not access homeless services but stay in other temporary forms of accommodation such as the houses of relatives, friends, hostels, or bed and breakfasts. There are millions of people living in makeshift, precarious hous- ing situations who lack complete and reliable access to private, safe and clean water, and sanitation facilities (see also McCarthy and Lahiri-Dutt [Chapter 3] in this volume). The experiences of menstruation by people who are homeless, however, has been historically overlooked by the public, civil society actors, policy makers, and academics. Much progress has been made in recent years within academic liter- ature to deepen our understanding of the multifaceted issue of women’s home- lessness, through studies of health, abuse, trauma, and specific policy responses © The Author(s) 2020 C. Bobel et al. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, 32 S. VORA and intervention (for example, Padgett et al. 2006; Vijayaraghavan et al. 2012; Schutt and Garrett 2013). Taking into account the specific exclusions and trau- mas that are faced by women who are homeless, this literature is very productive and useful in order to work toward alleviating these challenges and providing gender-specific support for recovery. The topic of menstruation, however, is expressed only as a factor of the reproductive health of women who are home- less, as outlined by medical narratives (for example Ensign 2001). To my knowl- edge, there has been no explicit study conducted on the ways in which women in precarious housing situations understand menstruation in relation to their own corporealities and subjectivities (see Sebert Kuhlmann et al. 2019). The growing presence of a class-aware menstrual activist movement, and the subsequent practical initiatives that have emerged to alleviate the challenges faced by marginalized women are seeking to reverse this inattention. The energy and persistence of grassroots campaigns have prompted responses at local gov- ernment levels to the issue of period poverty. Period poverty, a term used mostly in the UK, refers to the state in which people who menstruate find themselves without the financial resources to access suitable menstrual products. Despite this burgeoning movement within activist spaces, academic scholar- ship on menstruation has been largely inattentive to the socioeconomic diver- sity of women, failing to take into account how their experiences and identities transform the ways in which they relate to their menstruating bodies. Existing literature within the social sciences about menstruation has been focused on the issues of stigma, commodification, menstrual health, and medicalization (Kissling 2006; Johnston-Robledo and Stubbs 2013; Lahiri-Dutt 2015). These have been extremely productive for the understanding of the politics of men- struation, however many Anglo-American texts fail to address intersectional- ity. Menstrual literature in the Global North has been written about, and for, white,1 middle-class, cisgender women (Johnston-Robledo and Stubbs 2013, 4), or in a developmental context, addressing the exclusions of women liv- ing in poverty in the Global South (for example Dhingra, Kumar, and Kour 2009; Boosey, Prestwich, and Deave 2014; Smiles, Short, and Sommer 2017). The situated-ness of these debates, it seems, is polarized: either addressing the privileged middle classes in the Global North or the socioeconomically marginalized in the Global South. However, disenfranchised women within societies in the West have been neglected: those who may not have financial or material resources to manage menstruation in a way that meets societal expec- tations.2 It is imperative, therefore, in order to work toward a truly emanci- patory and revolutionary feminism, that the politics of difference is included within gendered debates. How do socioeconomic disparities among women affect the way that they relate to themselves as menstruators? This chapter therefore attempts to bring about a ‘class consciousness’ (bell hooks 2000) in the mapping of the lived experience of menstruation, through an increased understanding of the experiences of women who are homeless. It offers an insight to the ways in which women experiencing homelessness understand and negotiate their menstrual bodies within contexts of limited 4 THE REALITIES OF PERIOD POVERTY … 33 financial and material resources. This study explores the scale of the personal, offering a phenomenological insight into their experiences. This contrasts with atheoretical texts within academic literature that seek to homogenize home- less populations (DeVerteuil, May, and Von Mahs 2009, 658). It also attempts to critically analyze the current policy and third sector initiatives across the Global North that hope to minimize the effects of period poverty upon mar- ginalized menstruators through practical interventions. phenomenology, emotions, And the body Phenomenology is the theoretical starting point for my exploration of the rich depths of the menstrual experiences of women who are homeless. I give authority to lived experience to ‘capture life as it is lived’ (Moran 2000, 5). Phenomenology attends to a complex interrelatedness between the material flesh, the body, and the consciousness of the human subject (Merleau-Ponty 2002, 5), and it is in the footsteps of this theory that I explore the experi- ential, affective and contingent nature of the lives of marginalized women throughout menstruation. I attempt to generate this understanding by prioritizing the feelings and emotions that tint perceptions and embodied experience. Not only is emo- tional experience important to paint a rich portrayal of the modalities of menstruators who are homeless, but as a feminist narrative, it frames ‘the per- sonal as political’ (Pile 2010, 7). The privileging of emotional experience and understandings of the self (Bondi 2005, 6) allows feminist geographers to unpick the felt complexities of gendered experience (Pile 2010, 7). However, by focusing on the realm of the immaterial, I do not want to neglect the fleshy ontology of the body (Grosz 1994, ix). While phenomenol- ogy and emotional geography foreground the body as the site of unique expe- rience, scholars “still often fail to talk about a body that breaks its boundaries – urinates, bleeds, vomits, farts, [and] engulfs tampons” (Longhurst 2001, 23). A dismissal of fleshy corporeality denies the agency of the material body itself. If it is true that a person lives through their body, then it is through the freedoms and restrictions of their bodily capacities and mobility that this living occurs (Young 2005, 16). Bodies on the Borderline The normal body is not a bleeding body. Encounters with bodily fluids pro- voke averse responses such as nausea, disgust, and horror (Kristeva 1982, 3). A body threatening to burst its boundaries and give birth (Longhurst 2000, 455), leak milk from her breasts (Boyer 2012, 553) and spill blood from between her legs (Young 2005, 97) is viewed with horror and fascination (Kristeva 1982, 3). It is this cultural representation of a sticky, messy femi- ninity that places menstruating women at the borders of social legitimacy. Any manifestation, therefore, of menstruation, whether it be a bloody stain 34 S. VORA or an emotional expression, suggest that “women are not men, cannot be men, and as so cannot exist in the world as men do” (MacDonald 2007, 348). It is through the concealment of this process that menstruators claim normalcy. The abject is also embodied by the homeless woman. She represents a seep- age beyond the boundaries of ‘acceptable’ social life (Butler 1993, xiii). Her body is subject to stigmatization and marginalization; in the public imagi- nary she is cast as ‘dirty,’ ‘deviant,’ and ‘transgressive’ (Radley, Hodgetts, and Cullen 2006, 438). Rough sleepers, in the public imagination, are “lives who are not considered to be ‘lives’, and whose materiality is understood not to ‘matter’” (Meijer and Prins 1998, 281). What happens when the abject fluid comes to plague the abject body? A stark paradox appears for a woman sleeping in the streets, constantly within the public gaze, attempting to uphold the privacy of her flowing, leaky body. Against this background, my research is guided by three questions: (1) How do women experiencing homelessness negotiate the emotional and affective experiences of menstruation? (2) How is menstruation materially managed? and (3) To what extent are third sector initiatives in the US and UK effective in addressing the challenges marginalized menstruators face? methodology For the case study, primary research interviews were undertaken with 40 women in the city of Bristol, UK, who were accessing a range of services that support vulnerable people in precarious housing situations for their various needs: shelters, drug support groups, day centers, and food banks. Bristol, located in the south west of the UK, has a significant homeless population, with statutory homelessness being over twice the national average (Gouk 2017). Rough sleeping has increased consistently over the last five years (Yong 2017) due to pernicious austerity measures by the UK government and an on-going housing crisis. Private rental costs in Bristol are the highest in the UK outside of London, and the area has 9% less social housing than the national average (D’Arcy 2017, 32). In order to analyze the effectiveness of charitable initiatives in tackling period poverty, I use two methods. I firstly compare the needs highlighted by women in the interviews to the needs addressed by activities undertaken by charitable groups, and secondly attempt to unpick the extent to which these initiatives seek to resolve underlying, long-term issues such as breaking down stigmas around menstruation. This research has been undertaken through my first-hand experience as working for No More Taboo, a social enterprise seeking to alleviate the issues around period poverty in the UK, and through secondary research using online sources. An important caveat must be highlighted, however, before the trajectory of this study continues. Menstruation is not a uniquely female experience. “Not all women menstruate, and not only women menstruate” (Bobel 2010, 11). 4 THE REALITIES OF PERIOD POVERTY … 35 Menopause and external factors that can alter the menstrual cycle, such as contraception, body weight, and stress (Stöppler 2015) create a large group of women who do not menstruate. In contrast, transgender men and intersex people are not female, yet can still menstruate (Bobel 2010, 12). For the pur- pose of this study, however, the experience of cisgender, menstruating women will be explored as all the women interviewed identify as such. emotionAl experiences of menstruAtion For me, my period means problems. Mental and physical problems. (Safiya) The majority of the women interviewed, when asked to describe their experi- ence of menstruation, framed their monthly bleed as an emotional and painful period, rife with negative sensations, such as irritability, stress, vulnerability, and symptoms of low mood as well as anxiety and depression. Cheryl expresses the need for rest and privacy, despite finding herself in a state of constant flux due to her insecure housing situation: It’s quite tough and it’s embarrassing when you think you’re smelly. I feel that people know that I’m on, even if I know they don’t know, I think they do! [Menstruation] makes me irritable, it makes me tired and it gives me back problems, and I can’t move, and obviously in the situation that I’m in in the moment, it’s quite difficult. She accounts experiences of ‘felt stigma’ (Scambler 2009, 445), constructing her body as malodourous and deviant. The heightened awareness of her menstrual self as potentially disgusting within the social sphere creates internalized sensa- tions of shame and guilt. She anticipates and imagines people’s adverse reactions to her menstruating body, and this threat causes her discomfort and embarrass- ment. She describes herself as more emotionally sensitive and drained, while acknowledging her precarious housing situation—sleeping on the sofas in the houses of friends and family. This highlights the tension between her homeless body and menstrual body. While she is menstruating she “can’t move,” while simultaneously having to be constantly mobile, changing from one house to another. This mobility undermines her ability to self-care and fully manage the pains and the stresses that she documents as part of her menstruating experience. Her corporeal vulnerabilities are intensified through her homeless situation. Mary-Ann extends this notion of ‘felt stigma’ and applies it to her status as a woman experiencing homelessness. “You want to be having a wash, but you can’t. When you’re homeless, you’re embarrassed about your situation anyway.” The embarrassment Mary-Ann feels of her leaky, menstruating body is exacerbated by her lack of stable accommodation. Mary-Ann rearticulates common notions of both the homeless (Gerrard and Farrugia 2015, 2220) and the menstrual body (Lee and Sasser-Coen 2015, 10) as messy, dirty and impure. Her embodiment of bot

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