The MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center and the Gender Equity Center collaborated together to create a podcast centered around periods titled “Menstruation Week Panel.”
El Graxiola, cultural programmer for MOSAIC, said the team wanted to use the podcast to destigmatize periods from being repugnant and taboo.
“Hi I’m Kristen, and I’m on the third day of my period,” said Kristen Flaten, event coordinator intern at the Gender Equity Center, during the sixth podcast episode by MOSAIC Station.
Four speakers in the podcast discussed the terrifying moments of getting their periods for the first time; the first moment they thought they were facing death in the bathroom shouting for help.
“I thought I was dying and it was the end of the world. I was yelling down the hall and my mom and sisters rush into the bathroom. I was crying and everyone just told me I was having my period, gave me a pad and that’s it, move on,” said Jenny Nguyen, the educational programmer for the Gender Equity Center.
Program coordinator Sharon Singh and Graxiola are both from MOSAIC, working alongside the Gender Equity Center to create the podcast about menstruation.
In the podcast, Graxiola and Nguyen talked about being taught as children that periods should not be so openly discussed in public.
“My grandmother was very reserved about the topic,” said Graxiola.
Nguyen said code words like “I’m on my red” were created to stray away from saying the word “period.”
The four people sharing in the podcast were not educated at an early age about periods, even if they were raised around a lot of women. Menstrual hygiene products were just handed to them without any type of direction as to how to use them properly.
Singh said for someone who is getting their period for the first time, different products may seem confusing.
There are several different products ranging from tampons, pads and cups. Cups are usually made of flexible silicone that goes inside the vagina to hold any period blood.
Most of these products are created with materials such as bleach that could potentially cause harm to bodies, according to the National Center for Health Research.
Graxiola said educating people who use the products could encourage them to use different preferred products.
“I was misinformed and not educated at all, not knowing why it happened to our bodies and why it was necessary,” said Nguyen.
Products for safe sex are easily handed out, but menstruation products are not easily accessible to people in need. Nguyen informed the audience that the Gender Equity Center actually offer free menstrual products.
“Now [menstrual] products have become this privileged item and because not everyone has access to these items, they tend to be expensive,” Flaten said. “For some people, that’s how they get the majority of their products, from school. And for the folks who aren’t in school, how does that work?”
Nguyen and Singh talked about how educating children at a young age at school and within family talks is important. It allows people to have a better understanding as to why periods happen and the products available.
Getting cisgender men into the conversation was a major topic discussed toward the end of the podcast. Nguyen mentioned the best way to go about it, is having a coed environment.
Nguyen continued by saying everyone should have access to information regarding all genders, and that gender separation might not give an individual the access to information about their own bodies.
“This is not a secret, it is for everyone,” Nguyen said. She emphasized that it is important to normalize young boys taking part in conversations about menstruation.
“The podcast, by and large, is fully student-run,” said MOSAIC director Christopher Yang. “It has been a useful tool for some collaborative efforts on campus.”
MOSAIC established its podcast station as a faculty fellows program in fall of 2017. The podcast can be accessed online at the MOSAIC website, iTunes, Blubrry and Pocket Casts.