cover image Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equality

Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equality

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf. Arcade, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-62872-797-5

Activist Weiss-Wolf’s debut explores the ever-evolving global and national politics and conversations around menstruation. Since 2015 (dubbed “the year of the period” by NPR), the topic of menstruation has been in the political limelight, sparking heated debates on social media and among state legislators (especially on whether to repeal the so-called tampon tax), and taking on many forms of activism, including scathing hashtags such as #PeriodsForPence. Weiss-Wolf argues that eliminating the sales tax on menstrual products is an important first step in the quest for “menstrual equity” (an advocacy movement to address menstruation within the core issues of gender equality and social justice), in that it can alleviate some financial burden, challenge discriminatory laws and customs, and influence the way societies understand the social and economic implications of periods. She follows this with an examination of how homelessness, poverty, and incarceration also affect a person’s ability to access menstrual products. She argues convincingly that period products should be considered a basic human necessity, offered in public bathrooms like toilet paper and soap, and believes this classification will help further discussions around other women’s issues. Weiss-Wolf’s thorough research and detailed history, coupled with her practical suggestions for advocating for menstrual equity, makes this book an invaluable resource to any feminist activist. (Oct.)