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Blood wisdom: what we can learn from our periods

An illustration of a Black person’s hand holding up a diva cup that is a third full with dark red liquid. We see the hand from the wrist up. The background is filled with blobby shapes that range from brown-red to dark red to light pink in color. Some of the blobs have white outlines.
Charnel Hunter

There are 1.8 billion monthly menstruators worldwide. Better understanding the science behind period blood, as well as cultural stigma and period policy, can help menstruators everywhere break down period myths.

Menstrual blood has long been a topic that has been relegated to conversations behind closed doors. But the crimson tides are beginning to turn.This week guest host Omisade Burney-Scott, creator of the multimedia project The Black Girl’s Guide To Surviving Menopause, meets four people who are working to bring periods into the public discourse through scientific, cultural and political discussions.

Dr. Charis Chambers, a board-certified OB-GYN, dispels period misinformation through her social media platforms, where she goes by the handle “The Period Doctor.” Dr. Charis shares what different menstrual blood characteristics can reveal about the body and its reproductive health.

Omisade also sits down with two menstrual health advocates and researchers, Ashi Arora and Vianey Blades, to discuss the cultural impact of cyclic bleeding. Ashi discusses how menstruation liberation can be at the heart of community building, while Vianey shares how her period blood inspires her to create art.

Attorney and activist Jennifer Weiss-Wolf also joins the conversation. Jennifer details how menstruation and menopause policy shape our society and her hopes that period politics will take center stage in the upcoming presidential election. Jennifer is the author of “Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity.”

Special thanks to Nicole Tay, Jimalion, and Lina Lyte Plioplyte for sharing their stories with us.

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Paige Miranda is a producer for "Embodied". Previously, she served as WUNC’s 2023 AAAS Mass Media Fellow.
Omisade Burney-Scott (she / her) is a Black southern 7th-generation native North Carolinian feminist, social justice advocate and creative with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy and social justice.
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