I am delighted to introduce you to Paula Kragten, the founding editor of Period! Magazine. I love the layout! Love the articles! Love the mission of Period!
Thanks to Paula, for filling us in on how the magazine came to be and her vision for its future. (And don’t miss the last line, which swings us right back to menopause). Take it away, Paula:
I’m an editor/journalist from the Netherlands. For several years I worked for so called women magazines; mostly lifestyle features about interior design, architecture, travel, food, fashion. After 25 years, my workinganniversary so to speak, it hit me: I wondered why every single topic has its own magazine, except the one and only thing all women have in common: menstruation.
So I decided to start an online magazine. The Dutch edition went online in 2014. Aprils Fools Day seemed the most logical date. Most colleagues thought I was hit by the wings of a Dutch windmill.
Of course Period! is also the result of my personal interest. That started right after my own first period: at age 12. I wondered why there were so many mixed signals. On one hand: “Wow. Congrats.” But on the other: “Periods are gross so you better hide them. You should be ashamed.” That really puzzled me.
I was curious how women coped with menstruation in the dark ages or in prehistoric times. And also if periods were seen as a negative phenomenon in all cultures. Sadly I couldn’t find a single soul with the same interest.
So I went to the library – this was before the Google era – to get some answers. There was hardly any information there, besides from how things biologically work. Since then I have been collecting all the interesting publications and books on the topic I could find. That’s quite an archive right now.
About the launch:
Period! Magazine was originally intended to be a small project. Just for Holland. What happened really surprised me. Site visitors found us before I even realized the magazine was online. Lots of attention in the media. No harsh criticism at all. The involvement seemed huge. Also surprising – thanks to the translate button on social media – readers from abroad. A year after the launch in 2014, the English version went online.
About the future:
At first I expected readers would be women like me: who know how things work biologically, but who are interested in the quirky side of the topic and use the magazine as a box of chocolate, selecting which posts which posts and subjects appealed to them most. That was the basic idea: a feel good magazine, colorful, surprising, entertaining. But when it comes to menstruation, thousands of years of civilization haven’t really brought us much. You can understand narrow mindedness in rural areas. But in a modern western society with internet?
It’s annoying enough that we menstruate ten times as much as we did a few centuries ago, that in total we’re on our period for six years of our lives and that we have to deal with the subject for about forty years. Menstruation isn’t even a condition for successful procreation. Rabbits don’t need sanitary towels. There’s no mammal that menstruates as enthusiastically as the human. Apparently, this gives us some evolutionary benefits. Interesting, isn’t it?
However, periods are still an enormous taboo. When it comes to menstruation women are rather narrow minded. Period! is trying to carve a way by looking at the subject from as many different angles as possible. I strongly believe that is necessary.
More humor and self-mockery and less embarrassment would be nice. And some more consideration. On one hand everything has to be 100% ecologically responsible, while on the other we throw away at least 13,000 tampons and sanitary towels in the trash bin, without a second thought.
Many women don’t even know what a menstrual cup is. Or they suffer from serious menstrual complaints, but don’t do anything about it as they have been led to believe those problems are just a part of menstruation. Unpleasant odors and leakage stains are NOT the worst that can happen. This negative attitude has to change. We do humanity a favor by menstruating!
Period! Magazine can go on forever. There are so many interesting period related things to write about. Last March I also published a book on the topic: Mooi rood is niet lelijk (best translated as Beautiful Red Isn’t Bad).
Periods became my full time job. That’s funny, for a woman in menopause 🙂
Photo Credits: The bottle is from Mentrosity. The other images are Period Magazine/Shutterstock.