I watched the recent episode of Dragons Den which featured a pitch from two young entrepreneurs promoting their product from company DAME. They supply a subscription service of boxed sanitary products which can be delivered to the home. The proposal for investment was unanimously rejected by the Dragons. Deborah Meaden’s ‘I’m Out’ reason was that she had never struggled to find her own supply of tampons and towels in shops everywhere, and in machines in public loos etc.
But now I understand that sadly, we didn’t get to see some of the alternative proposals for this product, notably that it could be used to supply homeless women. What riled me while watching, were the irresponsible and at times, childish reactions from some of the male Dragons, notably Peter Jones, who essentially squirmed his way through the pitch, summarising with ‘I found that quite uncomfortable actually’.
Now, I’m pretty certain that as PJ has numerous children, he must be familiar with gynaecology. And I would presume that he may have witnessed a birth or three so has understanding that a woman’s reproductive organs perform various different functions. So what I would have liked Peter Jones to be that day, was someone who could have talked unflinchingly about the subject of periods, discussing maturely and objectively the issues of menstruation and the associated sanitary products. You know, things that affect his wife and daughters.
It’s pretty tiresome for most of us women, who are still made to feel that periods are a taboo subject. Get over it! We do, on a monthly basis. It’s not a big deal. But there is a more serious side to the whole concept of breaking the ‘taboo’. Women’s health charities advocate the normalisation of ‘period talk’ in order to give confidence that discussion about the menstrual cycle and gynaecology is vital to the detection and treatment of cancers which affect the uterus. As women are still made to feel uncomfortable about talking ‘periods’, those conversations are not as easy as they should be and can often mean that unusual changes to a healthy cycle might go undisclosed to a GP, because of embarrassment and unease at discussing the subject. Crazy, that in 2017, women are still ashamed to talk about a completely natural body function.
When I launched my greeting card business, I wanted to create a range of designs around the subject of periods. John and I use our humour mainly to inspire designs but we’re also keen to work on social issues from time to time. It’s what we’re all about I guess. I created the range ‘Period Drama’ to bring the subject matter to the shelves, in a way that could poke a bit of fun at periods, and highlight menstrual issues which are familiar and try just to normalise the subject a bit. I guess it called be called a feminist move.
Whatever it is, it’s interesting to see the responses the cards get. They’re brash, bold and rude. Crude, as well, some of them. But that has nothing to do with the subject matter rather than it’s merely our style of design and way of translating our humour. We have some independents that stock them and they sell. But wouldn’t it be great to get them into the mainstream?! Could it be that WHSmiths or Cardzone or Clintons would be bold enough to take them on? Partner up with a women’s health charity and start to advocate the normalisation of period talk and breaking the period taboo? Wouldn’t they just sit nicely on the high street shelves where fathers, brothers, sons, nephews and uncles might be compelled to pick one up and have a laugh? Time will tell….
For further reading check out Laura Coryton’s blog on Huffington Post:
March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. More information of women’s health charities: