I'm a celebrity...and I bleed.
For non-UK residents, we have a programme here called I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here - 10 z-list celebrities (who generally have a big tax bill to pay) enter an Australian jungle for 3 weeks and do a variety of hellish tasks that involve eating kangaroo penis and various other parts of an animal's anatomy, putting their hands into unknown boxes to be nipped, bitten and stung by various insects and surviving on rice and peas all for our viewing pleasure.I LOVE shit like this. I'm a total fan-girl. Except watching this Saturday's episode made my tummy a li'l uneasy and it was NOTHING to do with the cocktail of witchity grubs and pigs testicles.
Former playboy bunny, Kendra Wilkinson, who had previously declared that she was on her period (personally I found it really refreshing to hear someone actually mention their period on primetime TV, but it was something that was mocked and laughed about by a clearly embarrassed Ant + Dec), was nominated for a task. The task was gnarly. She had to get down and dirty with critters, she had to go into dark rooms and find rewards in amongst rotting yuck and have bugs chucked on her head. Now, I know she knew what she had signed up for, but if you've explored your cycle + lady landscape in any detail, you will know that your energy levels are at their lowest on the first day of your bleed. She was emotional, she was drained and she was tired, and while she did her best, she didn't complete the task, + only managed to get 2 rewards out of a possible 10.
Why am I giving you a scene by scene run down of Saturday's I'm a celebrity episode?
1. The Viking was horrified by how the presenters were speaking to Kendra. He was livid + that hairy dude o' love stuff does NOT get angry often. At points throughout the task, both Ant + Dec both lost their patience with Kendra, telling her to 'just blimmin' do it' and 'just get on with it, will you?' then when Kendra said 'I just feel drained, I'm on my period, you guys!' they responded with, 'really? We didn't know, you've only mentioned it a hundred times' while rolling their eyes. When the Viking looked set to throw the remote at the TV screen, I had to step in and remind him that there is still a LOT o' work to do. Very few people work as intimately with a woman's cycles as we do in our household, it's still super-rare to find a man who is not embarrassed to speak about menstruation and it's a very rare breed indeed to find a dude that gets it AND respects it. Yes, the Viking is awesome, but he only gets + respects my cycle because I've educated him. By knowing my cycle intimately, he knows both my superpowers AND my hotspots, he knows that on day 25 he throws chocolate at me from a safe distance and agrees to work the late shift, he knows that I'm fun + frisky on days 9 through to 16, and he also knows that on day 1 of my bleed, I rest + refuel without exception. (I've turned down a TV interview because they've wanted to do it on my bleed day - if it can't be re-arranged, it doesn't happen.) I can share this with him because I know + respect this about myself. (Seriously, if you're in a relationship with a dude, knowing your cycle + sharing your superpowers and hotspots with him REALLY is the best gift you can give him.)
2. As an example of what happens when women speak about periods publicly. We still very much reside in a society where as women, we’re all trying to work to a super-structured, dude-centric 9-5 schedule, 5 days a week where we are expected to deliver consistently day in, day out. But we're NOT consistent. We're cyclic. We ebb and flow. Yet we're constantly working against this, we seek self-help, we sign up to coaching to help us get better/achieve goals/be successful yet most of the books + practices that are available are dude-centric too. We don't talk about our period because we don't want to embarrass ourselves or other people, we work through it without rest because we don't want to be seen as weak, we plug it up with tampons so we can pretend it isn't happening, we're going against our flow instead of going with it, and the result? We're in a constant state of apology for being a woman. Ant + Dec know no better. Their comments + reaction to Kendra talking about her period were passed off by most simply as lad banter, but in a society where our bleed is mocked and laughed at by men, when at a time in our menstrual cycle when we should take time out to rest and refuel we chose to push on through and 'do it like a dude' (which we inevitably fail at, therefore giving us yet another stick to beat our not-good-enough selves with) it's up to lady-kind to re-write the story.
What you can do: ♥ Don't be afraid to set boundaries and say 'no' when you're bleeding. ♥ Start to feel comfortable talking about your bleed cycle publicly. ♥ Make a date in your diary to order my new book: Code Red: know your flow, unlock your monthly superpowers and create an amazing life. Period. out on March 8th 2015 - this is where the REAL revolution begins. ♥ If you are mocked for using your bleed as an 'excuse', or you're made to feel weak because you're bleeding, simply respond with 'I bleed for 5 days and don't die, motherlover - now tell me who's weak?!'
QUESTION: How much is TOO much information about periods? Are you embarassed to talk about your period? Why do you think that is? I'd love for you to either share your thoughts in the comments below or join the convo over on the SASSYology facebook page.