“I found it empowering to be told I couldn’t talk about something,” said Gabby Edlin, founder of Bloody Good Period, on the stigmatisation of periods at the launch of the winter 2018 edition of Index on Censorship magazine.
The issue, on the theme of birth, marriage and death, investigates what we are afraid to talk about and why. Whether it’s contraception misconceptions in Latin America, prejudice against interracial marriages in South Africa, or genocides around the world, a plethora of countries and topics were featured in this special report.
Taking place at Foyles’ flagship store in Charing Cross, London, which was once the world’s largest bookshop, Edlin was joined by award-winning author Emilie Pine, author of Notes to Self, and Xinran, the internationally best-selling author of The Good Women of China who also introduced the first women’s call-in radio show in China. The panel was chaired by Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship magazine.
Edlin raised the taboo of period poverty, highlighting an unsettling scene in the Bafta-winning film I, Daniel Blake, in which a woman is caught stealing sanitary products and propositioned sex by a security guard in return for her freedom.
She said: “That was the moment that a lot of people woke up to the idea that, of course, women can’t afford this if they can’t afford everything else. But, everyone has experienced not having the product when you need it. It’s absolutely universal, it’s not just women living in poverty, it’s not just asylum seekers. Every single woman who has menstruated knows what it’s like to go without.”