menstrual activism reads & giveaway

I’d better write this post before the pile of books on my desk topples over on me! We have had a wonderful “influx” of books and zines at Lunapads recently and I’d like to tell you about some of them, as well as give some away – read on…

I can’t remember how many months ago it was exactly that I received an email from University of Massachusetts Women’s Studies professor Chris Bobel asking for help with finding artwork for the cover of her then-upcoming tome,  New Blood: Third-Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation, but I was instantly inspired to offer to have a contest asking customers for images based on the theme of menstrual activism. Helena Gonzalez Saez emerged as the winner from among over a dozen fascinating and inspiring submissions (and check this: Helena donated her $100 gift certificate prize to Pads4Girls, how cool is that?), and we received the finished book just a few weeks ago.

“Ask better questions… demand better answers!” reads Chris’s handwritten inscription in our copy – it’s a good summary of the book as well. While I am still working my way through it, overall the book is leaving me feeling more informed, inspired and grateful than ever for the work of our menstrual activist predecessors and contemporaries. Of particular interest for me are questions she poses around how menstruation’s meaning is changing in the era of gender politics: for example, what happens to discourse around menstruation when gender as a fixed, binary concept is a quaint, distant notion?

While its academic heft may be a bit OTT for recreational enthusiasts, I found it to be a welcome counterpoint to the more cursory, pop cultural approach taken to menstrual matters in recent offerings such as Elissa Stein’s Flow. Chris also has some kind words to say about Lunapads (both product and company), and included a Lunapads print ad that appeared in BUST magazine in the book, for which we feel deeply honored.

Speaking of menstrual activism, my second pick is a fine example. Fans of feminist indie zines will love Jen Vaughn’s comix Menstruation Station and Don’t Hate, Menstruate. The author of the acclaimed Mermaid Hostel is a major Lunapads fan, and we are pleased to report that it’s entirely mutual.

So… the giveaway. I have 2 copies of New Blood, as well as 10 sets of both of Jen Vaughn’s zines to give away. Let us know which you’d prefer to receive, as well as a few words about what menstrual activism means to you. Are you an aspiring menstrual activist? Just curious? A seasoned veteran with stories to share? Tell us for your chance to win! Winners will be announced in the September newsletter.

This contest is now closed.

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  • I hope I’m stepping on friendly territory when I say my name is Richard. And before your mind races in a hundred directions beginning with ‘eh …?’ I’m an ordinary family man, with perhaps an un ordinary view on menstruation. Well, no-one told me otherwise, I grew up thinking it was perfectly natural and normal. In later life, I realised that menses was in fact very special and sacred for many women, but then realised this view is at odds with society and religious writings. Looking deeper into the roots of this fallacy of disdain revealed that men have had a grizzly part in the attitudes towards menstruation. I started writing about this some time ago and recently opened up a blog called It’s not an intellectual exposition on male guilt or new age ‘do it this way’ manual. I tell the real life story of how I have come to revere the power and beauty of menses, as part of the natural rhythm of the female body-mind. This attitude has had a liberating effect for my wife and our life together. Personally, I see no reason why this liberation can’t become the new ‘ordinary’, in time to come
    Love to see the book ‘New Blood’ BTW.

  • Sarah

    I did a presentation on alternative menstrual products for my capstone project in college. I passed around three or four brands of cloth pads, a few brands of menstrual cups, showed the audience how to use them, and discussed the health, environmental, and financial benefits.
    It was great! Especially to see the men in the audience try to look at the things being passed around, but pretend they weren’t too interested.
    So that’s what menstrual activism means to me: Getting people to consider that there are more options.
    I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while! I’d love to be able to read it.

  • My activism usually takes place in 2 forms. My children understand how important menstruating is to me. Showing them how to respect our bodies and it’s natural cycles is one of the most important things I can do as a mother.
    As a birth professional, my clients are often encouraged to use cloth during their postpartum. It can help to quickly heal, especially if one allows themselves to bleed onto pads without the use of underwear.
    I would love a copy of the book but would also love to check out the zines. hmm…. the zines!

  • Jacki

    My activism is all about telling women about reusable menstrual products and how it is okay to be a woman and have their period. I live in a very conservative country and menstrual taboos are more prevalent here than in others.

    I also want to dispel myths and superstitions about menstruation, such as “do not cook while on your period because the food will spoil” or “wiping your first menstrual blood on your face will prevent acne”

    I’d very much like the book. 🙂

  • Tania C.

    I am a natural childbirth educator and lover of the Earth. Menstruation is part of my job and it only makes sense to use products that are healthy for my body and the environment. Woman should embrace their periods and understand them. New Blood looks like an awesome book that would be wonderful to add to my lending library.

  • Katie Tonarely

    I would love to win the book! I am a menstruation activist who aims to teach women better ways to care for themselves and the planet during menstruation. Also, I think it’s so important that we take away negative stigmas that surround menstruation. It’s beautiful and powerful.

  • I am a childbirth educator and I feel like menstrual activism is intimately tied with birth activism–reclaiming women’s bodies as beautiful and powerful and amazing, not “gross” or icky!

    I started using cloth pads after my first baby was born–I thought, “why am I doing ‘all natural’ things with him, but sticking all kinds of nasty plastic and chemicals next to my own body.”

    I would like to win either book or zine–both sound great!

  • Lisa A. B.

    I have to admit, my burgeoning interest in responsible, sensible, ecological, and natural menstruation products and menstrual activism started as a mere feeling–a emotional longing for something simple, something sacred, something spiritual for myself and my world. When I started using lunapads that feeling turned from a longing to a deep pride, a free feeling, a transcendent love–love for myself and the world I choose to make. I don’t purport to have all the intellectual comebacks or commentary about sustainability, ecology, responsible living–yet. I’m still learning, still basking in this wonderful feeling, a feeling that I freely share with whomever will listen–facebook friends, colleagues, family, my husband and my two beautiful boys (who will know lots about the female anatomy and physiology before the world tells them lies about it). At this point in my search I’m reading, writing, listening, for everything I can about this new feminism, this sacred approach to menstruation, including keeping my sights on this site! It would be a pleasure, I’m sure, to read New Blood!

  • Connie

    To me menstrual activism is advocating for healtier products such as cloth pads, cups,etc, and why “normal” pads and tampons are bad for you. However as an anthropology student I look at menstruation in a wider lens. I study how perceptions have changed over time and why it is now such a negative thing. So I guess my form of activism is to educate people on the shift in how menstruation is seen, and what we can do to change the way society, espcially western teaches our girls about their “curse” and to help them see why it was once seen as this grand spernatural event with positive energy attached to it in some cultures.

  • Lyndsi L.

    Since entering the Women’s Spirituality M.A. program at CIIS in San Francisco, I have discovered the remarkable subculture of menstrual art. In addition to creating menstrual artwork and sharing it with friends, I began conducting original research on the phenomenon. My academic article on menstrual art, menstrual-positivity and the re-presentation of menstruation is currently being reviewed by Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. Chris Bobel’s pioneering work on menstrual activism has been essential reading!! I would absolutely love to be in the running for a copy of her latest publication!

  • To me, menstrual activism is all about removing the shame surrounding menstruation. For something half the population of the planet has experienced (or will in the future), it ought to be easier for people to talk about it openly. To that end, finding products that make having a period comfortable is worth shouting from the rooftops or, since that scares a lot of people away, mentioning when a friend reaches out to speak about their period, even if they’re just asking for a pad or complaining about cramps. I don’t know if that qualifies as activism, but I think it’s more effective for those who are the least comfortable talking about menstruation.

    Oh, and I just love zines about menstruation! I’ve got a growing collection to lend out to friends, though I wish more of them would accept the offer and give them a chance. . . Thanks for running this giveaway!

  • My idea of menstrual activism is doing all that I can to loosen and, eventually, shed the shame and social discomfort surrounding menstruation. I have the admit that, when I got my first period, I was upset. I thought that my menarche was the start of an ongoing monthly curse; I felt menstruation was a disgusting, shameful part of being a woman. Sadly, I do not think I am neither the first nor the last woman to have felt this. In many societies, menstruation is viewed as dirty and shameful. My friends and family members were surprised (and even made uncomfortable) by my switching to LunaPads. My oldest sister even said “Ew!” and walked away. However, I am noticing that many of the people in my life are getting curious about alternate menstrual products. In addition to discussing LunaPads with my friends and family, I also have “tweeted” about it on Twitter and posted a blog about it on I think it is vital for women to feel more psychologically and socially comfortable about menstruation, and I’m doing my best to foster the acceptance of this natural phenomenon.

    I would absolutely love the book, New Blood! Thank you!

  • Thanks for your entries everyone! It’s lovely to hear about all the menstrual activism magic y’all are working! The winners of Chris Bobel’s new book are: Tania C. and Lisa A.B. congrats ladies!
    As for the zines, so far I have: Andrea, Molly, Connie and Fire Aphid. If anyone else would like to receive a set of zines let me know!

    • Courtney

      I would definitely enjoy those zines! I wonder where I can get them from…
      I am actually going to buy that book now too. It sounds so good and about a topic I am really interested in. Awesome!

  • Cari

    If any are still available, I would love a set of the zines! I’m new to menstrual activism as a concept, and am working to educate myself, but anything that I can lend out and share with my friends would be amazing 🙂