Katie's Period Story
Image: sourced @natureyoni
Kia ora! My name is Katie and I’m a new writer for Wā Collective. I’m currently doing my Honours degree in Gender studies at Otago. I’m passionate about discussing topics that society tells us we shouldn’t be talking about, like menstruation, sex and women’s health issues. To be honest, if someone tells me I shouldn’t be talking about my ‘feminine woes’, it just makes me want to talk about it even more as a big fuck you to the patriarchy.
I’ve had excruciating periods since I was 11 and I’ve recently been diagnosed with endometriosis, which is a part of my life I manage all the time. I don’t currently menstruate as I’m taking hormones for my endometriosis to suppress my periods. My background gives me an edge where I can speak to several experiences: what it’s like to have debilitating periods, feeling shame around menstruation, waiting 5+ years to get my pain taken seriously, what it’s like to not get a period, and how these experiences have materially impacted my life in the past, present and future.
I aim to have a diverse approach in my writing as I know that periods aren’t exclusively experienced by cis-females. Many gender queer and trans-male individuals menstruate as well, but they often experience difficulties that cis-females don’t have to think about, like not having access to menstrual product bins in men’s bathrooms So that’s why I believe that periods are important for everyone to understand. Beyond this, I believe we all experience periods, just on different levels.
There are a variety of issues that menstruators grapple with as they navigate the world - lack of access to menstrual products and bins, period poverty and identifying the difference between normal and abnormal cycles, to name only a few. Educating ourselves on these issues, and having a greater understanding of menstruation means society will be better-equipped to help menstruators navigate these experiences, and ensure they are healthy and have access to the products they need.
Really, I’m just someone who cares (probably a bit too much) about making the world a better place and this is just one of the many areas that means a lot to me. So, when I saw Wā Collective’s post asking for writers, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to dig my intersectional fingernails into some bloody good content.