Our new book, About Bloody Time: the Menstrual Revolution We Have to Have, written by Karen Pickering (feminist organiser) and Jane Bennett (menstrual educator) has officially been launched through a series of community events around the state of Victoria.
The first book launch took place on Wednesday 5 June at the Church of All Nations in Carlton in front of an audience of over 200 people. Held in partnership with the Readings Foundation, this event marked the end of a highly successful six week Pozible campaign towards the publication of About Bloody Time.
Thanks to the support of like-minded members of the community, our crowdfunding campaign raised a total of $31,327 — more than double the original target.
The Carlton launch also signalled the end of many years of research and writing. During this period (pun intended) the Trust surveyed almost 3,500 women and girls about their experiences of menstruation and menopause. The goal was to uncover the many permutations of the menstrual taboo; the ways period stigma affected people’s lives; and how we may better support those who menstruate. This research process began in 2013 and in the years that followed, authors Karen Pickering and Jane Bennett wrestled with the emerging data and what those findings meant for society at large.
About Bloody Time unpacks these findings in detail, asking key questions like what would make their period easier and how prepared they were for their first period. Shockingly, the meter hasn’t shifted much over the last fifty years, as over half of the women surveyed (ranging in age from 12 to 46 years) felt unprepared for their first period and 42 per cent of those surveyed, in all age groups, either ‘disliked everything’ about periods.
Stats such as these have been picked up by the media, resulting in an interview on Life Matters on ABC Radio National and Triple RRR, requests for thought pieces in The Guardian and Whimn, articles in regional outlets like The Courier, The Bendigo Advertiser, and others, as well as an outpouring of warm sentiment across social media. It seems that About Bloody Time is the kind of book that people have been waiting for.
But back to the launch in Carlton. The evening began with a stirring Welcome to Country from Leanne Miller, proud Yorta Yorta woman, Executive Director of Koorie Women Mean Business and Victorian Women’s Trust Board Member. Leanne spoke of how pleased she was to be associated with About Bloody Time and the significance of this work. Alana Johnson (Chair, Victorian Women’s Trust) followed on from Leanne to usher in Clementine Ford.
“It’s such a thrill to be here,” said Clementine, feminist writer and foreword contributor to About Bloody Time. “I’m so excited that I began menstruating today.”
After Clementine’s warm introduction, co-authors Karen Pickering and Jane Bennett gathered to take questions from moderator Mary Crooks AO (Executive Director, Victorian Women’s Trust).
When asked how people responded when they learned she was writing a book all about periods, Karen laughed and said, “People seem to be really divided. Either I’m a crazy period lady because I have so many conversations about menses or I’m really tame because I’m not gardening with it.”