Tag Archives: Periods

Period! Magazine

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

Smokey the Bear: Menopause Gladness

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The other day, when Cliff and I were furniture shopping, I studied the adorable young saleswoman helping us. She didn’t seem as lively as the last time we met with her. “Maybe she has cramps,” I said to myself. “Poor thing.”

Cramps are tricky because women are reluctant to announce they have them, and most women look just fine. No crutches or poison ivy splotches or sneezing to announce the malady. Megan just seemed what my friend Judy calls “droopy.”

When you’re finished having periods, you mostly forget about them. Every now and then, I think: wow, women all around me are still having periods. Then my mind floats back to the cramps I once had, the flooding incidents as menopause sunk in, the girlhood days of worrying about periods at the pool or beach. Phew. Been there. Done that.

And that brings me to my Smokey the Bear story.

We go to the North Carolina State Fair every near. I mean EVERY year (or Cliff gets droopy). But the most dramatic year was the year my cramps took me by surprise (about 2009 or so). I couldn’t get the pain med into me fast enough. I passed out right under the giant Smokey the Bear.

Cliff caught me and got me over to a nearby log. When I opened my eyes, I looked into his face and thought: He’s still such a cute man.

My cramps passed about twenty minutes later, which put me in a festive mood as we walked from the onion ring booth to the milking demonstration to the state’s largest pumpkin.

“That was so romantic,” I said a few times, my arm looped around his. “You caught me just like a man catches his leading lady in an old time movie.”

“Barbara, ” Cliff finally replied, “That was NOT romantic. I thought you’d had a stroke. For a few seconds, I was terrified  you were dead.”

That’s the good thing about cramps. They don’t kill you, but every time I see Smokey, I’m glad those days are over.

And I’m glad Cliff was scared that ALL MY DAYS might have been over. Shows he’s in this for the long haul.

I get why he was worried. While this close-to-menopausal woman didn’t look like a glamorous starlet fainting on the silver screen, I’m a heck of a lot of fun at the North Carolina State Fair.

For those of you who are finished, do you think about periods anymore? For those of you still having them, what do you look forward to the most when those days are over?

Speaking of periods, a friend sent me links to two articles about periods. This one discusses work policy and periods. The times they are a changin’. And this one debunks the idea that women who live together find their cycles synchronizing. 

Falling Off the Roof

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For your viewing pleasure, a painting created exclusively for Friend for the Ride:

Falling Off the Roof

My mom painted this young lady falling off the roof, inspired by a recent conversation with her friends.

During their high school and college days, in the forties and fifties, Mom said they felt oh so sophisticated confiding in one another:  “I fell off the roof.”

Meaning:  “It’s that time of the month.”

We wondered where this expression came from.

I had no luck googling, so I checked with Harry Finley at MUM, the Museum of Menstruation.

Harry doesn’t know either, but he remembers a visitor to the museum in 1994 who was writing a book on expressions.   The writer thought “falling off the roof” came from the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Perhaps, but when I reported this back to Mom, she commented that the  girls in Baltimore and the girls she met at Duke certainly knew it too.

Harry’s MUM site boasts an incredible online archive of materials related to menstruation.

A pamphlet titled As One Girl to Another, is dated 1943.

Produced by Kotex, the page below refers to the “crazy nicknames” girls have for their periods.

Yep, one of those crazy nicknames is “falling off the roof.”

Menstruation Booklet

But I still have no idea where the expression came from.

Any ideas?

Falling Off the Roof

My mom, Nancy Kiehne, paints in acrylics and watercolor. To see more of her work, check out her Tumblr site.

The Moon and The Menses – aka The Lunar Link

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Moons - Perigee and Apogee

A post in honor of the moon by writer Patti Winker:

The full moon is upon us.  And, not just any full moon, a supermoon.

The word ‘supermoon’ refers to a full moon at perigee, the point in the lunar orbit when the moon is closest to the earth. It’s a pretty cool full moon as it appears to be much larger than a regular full moon.

But, aside from the awesome spectacle of a supermoon, why is this important and what does it have to do with the subject of our menses?  Plenty.

There is the linguistic connection between the moon and the menses, of course.  The words come from the Latin mensis (month), which derives from the Greek meis/mens/men/mene (moon).

So, this we know; month-moon-menses, all related at the root.

But, it goes further than that, at least for me.

First, I have to admit to being ‘moonstruck.’

I was born and raised watching the moon rise over the river. It held a fascination for me. A huge orange Harvest Moon or giant white Snow Moon have always been, and always will be, thrilling to me.

I think that’s why I was keenly aware of one little bit of information that many of my girlfriends glossed over when we learned about menstruation.

It was suggested (by the menstruation authorities who gave us Very Personally Yours and Growing Up And Liking It) that our cycle would typically be 28 days.  Interesting.

I made the connection.  The phases of the moon are about 28 days, too.

Coincidence?  Maybe.

But, just in case, I made sure my ‘discreet calendar’ included the phases of the moon.

For decades, as recommended by the authorities, I kept my little calendar and counted the days, making my ‘X’s along the way.  However, the whole 28 day thing never really panned out.  So, I thought, “What do they know.”

Then I moved from Wisconsin to Florida.

As I merrily made my ‘X’s through the months, I noticed a very strange thing happening. My periods started getting closer and closer together.  Was this just a symptom of perimenopause?

After about six months, I noticed a pattern emerge… and stick. Another month.  Another month.  Another month.  It was undeniable.  I have the little ‘X’s to prove it.

My period started each month on the full moon.

It finally came true.  It took moving closer to the ocean for it to happen, but my body had finally synched with the moon.

Coincidence?  Science says there is no proof of lunar affect on humans.  I say science is wrong.

My girlfriends pooh-poohed the notion that somehow the cycle of our periods were connected to the phases of the moon.

Perhaps we just lived too far away from the pull of the tides.

Or maybe it just takes a lunatic such as myself to actually be affected, both body and soul, by the moon.

Either way, I’m going to enjoy basking in the glow of this month’s full moon – the supermoon.

Oh, and in case you think menopause puts a halt to all that moon cycle stuff, it doesn’t.  I still have the same crazy symptoms every full moon.

And, in the words of the great lyricist, pianist, and singer of songs, Billy Joel: “You may be right. I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.”

Thank you, Barbara, for allowing me to share my craziness with your readers.  I hope you enjoyed it and get a chance to also enjoy the supermoon.

About the author :

Patti Winker writes about topics that she and others of “a certain age” are concerned about.  In her blog, RemarkableWrinklies.com, you’ll find thoughts and information on aging well, health and fitness, having a bit of fun, a few debates, and some nostalgia thrown in.  She likes spending time with her grandkids and family, cooking, biking, swimming, walking, and going to the beach. She enjoys nature, but also appreciates a big city.  Patti is a contributing writer in our Tangerine Tango collaboration, and you’ll often find her here commenting and guest posting from time to time. Click these links to read more:

Pushing Fifty Or Pushing Puberty

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Patti

About the image:

The comparison in sizes of a full moon at perigee (left) and at apogee (right) is an illustration based on Galileo spacecraft images.

Image Credit: NASA