Alex Casey introduces Bleed Week, a whole week of content dedicated to our periods.
The world of periods remains largely a secret one, shared in furtive glances and hasty DMs to colleagues and sleight-of-hand tampon exchanges. But people who have periods, or have had periods, know that it is a big, bloody, gnarly, funny, painful, frustrating and fascinating part of our lives.
For example, I have wiped someone else’s period blood off the walls of a work toilet with the sage, Dexter-style recognition of a moon cup removal gone awry. I have closely followed a menstruating friend down the beach like a member of her secret service, ensuring she got to the water without the dreaded “leakage freakage”. I have bled out through jeans, onto white cushions (sorry Cleo’s mum) and into cinema seats (sorry Event Cinemas Newmarket).
This week on The Spinoff, we are letting it all leak out into the open. Bleed Week, running from today until Sunday July 24, will examine our relationship with periods in Aotearoa from more angles than you can swing a tampon at. And, just like real periods, the content will be both heavy and light and will probably make you laugh and cry all at once. A huge thanks to The Spinoff Members for making all of the following content possible – if you want to support free and quality content please sign up today.
So what’s in the week? We’re going to look at how periods intersect with culture, including Alice Webb-Liddall on the role of ikura in the modern revitalisation of the maramataka, Sela Jane Hopgood on how different communities nickname their periods, and Lee Brown on the challenges faced by gender-diverse bleeders. There’s pop culture too – Tara Ward has assembled a watchlist of the best period content on TV, and I interviewed Tessa Duder about the groundbreaking inclusion of periods in the Alex series.
But wait, there’s more! We’re going to look at periods in contact sport, periods in various workplaces and periods in schools. We’re going to look at how Aotearoa became a world leader in the period industry, find out how to talk to our kids about periods and look at the role that period apps have in turning our intimate details into data. We’ve got advice about dealing with bloodstains, an essay about menopause, and we’ve attempted to ask health professionals every single question about your periods that you have sent through to us on various channels.
There’s even more than that, but we will be keeping some of it to ourselves for now. Because it wouldn’t be a real period-themed week without a few unexpected surprises, no?
Alex Casey, senior writer