The Blurb On The Back:
Period positivity starts with asking questions.
This informative, irreverent, and absorbing book covers all your period-related questions – why they’re taboo (and needn’t be) and how to navigate the whole bleeding thing, from first periods to fertility, euphemisms to uteruses, menstrual products to menopause.
Period Positive movement founder and menstrual researcher Chella Quint’s answers are frank, fun, and fascinating.
Let’s get period positive.
It’s about bloody time.
BE PERIOD POSITIVE was released in the United Kingdom on 8th July 2021. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Chella Quint is a period educator and one of the UK’s top experts on menstruation education. This is a breezy, taboo-busting guide for menstruators of all ages that explains what’s going on at different times of your life and how to deal with the side effects and embarrassing consequences. I would have definitely benefitted from this book as a teenager and younger woman but wish there’d been a little more on the menopause and post-menopause.
Quint is quite open that she’s on a mission to tackle the taboos and hushed shame that goes with having periods, which – having been on the receiving end as a younger woman – I think can only be a good thing. Certainly there seems to be a societal step change going on at the moment, which I am glad to see and I particularly liked the fact that Quint uses the gender neutral term “menstruators” in recognition of the fact that trans men and non binary people may also menstruate because it’s more inclusive.
The book is divided into 6 chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 deal with history and body positivity to set out why we have so many taboos and myths about menstruation plus a description of what period positivity is and what it means which includes taking on the taboos/myths face on. I was particularly impressed by the short section setting out how more marginal groups may face specific issues with menstruation, e.g. the advertising for menstrual products can reinforce body shaming, OCD and anxiety, people of size can have issues with menstrual product sizing and face insensitivity from medical professionals if they have health issues linked to menstruation.
Chapter 3 deals with blood, from what’s in menstrual blood, how much of it there should be and then going into details of the menstrual cycle and what’s normal or unusual. Particularly good are the sections on leaks and period stains, clots, and cramps – issues that haunted me as a teenager because it was such a prevalent problem for me. Also good is the practical advice on different menstrual products and the options that are out there because there is so much more variety now, including ways to be more ethical and sustainable in terms of using products.
Fertility and contraception are addressed in Chapter 5. Quint is broad in terms of what she covers but I particularly applaud how she discussed both abortion and miscarriage and post-birth bleeding. Certainly I learnt a number of things here that I’d never known before (and I am well into being an adult!). I would have liked a bit more about the long term side effects of taking contraceptive pills, however, as although she talks about different hormone levels and the impact they can have, I wondered if she could draw out that as you get older you may find yourself having different or more intense side effects, which means needing to change or abandon your pill, e.g. I’ve been to a number of neurology lectures linking migraines in your 30s/40s to long term oestrogen pill use.
The final chapter looks at perimenopause and menopause, which for me was the most disappointing section of the book. For starters it’s the shortest section in the book and I found the information to be a bit brief and more focused on fertility than on practicalities of what perimenopause and menopause mean. It just had a tacked on vibe to it, which is a shame given how much space is given earlier on to the emotional issues, taboos and stigma around periods.
Disappointment on that last chapter aside though, I did think this was a good, comprehensive guide to all things menstruation that any menstruation would benefit from checking out and as such, I think it’s worth a couple of hours of your time.