Chalice Foundation would like to introduce our new social media volunteer Kirsten! We are so delighted to have a fresh face on the team with us and make sure to check out our work on @chalicefoundation on Instagram and @ChaliceFoundation on Facebook.
Q: Hi Kirsten, we’re so happy to have you join the menstrual revolution, wondering if you could share with us your experience of menstruation and the menstrual taboo?
A: Thank you Casimira for the opportunity to make my voice heard, I am thrilled to be joining the team.
My journey so far has been quite a rollercoaster! Nowadays, I am very proud of how comfortable I have become with talking about menstruation but it wasn’t always this way. I was not given a comprehensive ‘menstrual talk’, causing me to be ignorant and lacking the essential period knowledge that in turn greatly hampered my self-esteem and confidence during my first years of menstruating.
Plus, growing up in Mauritius, there was a strange and uncomfortable taboo around the subject; it was like there was a top secret project that us girls had to keep the world from finding out. Even though I was very young, I knew it wasn’t right. It involved hiding away your menstrual products at the back of your closet, being told not to practice sports when on your period or when you had to stay in bed due to cramps and having to lie by saying that it was food poisoning! It was this kind of backward thinking that I could simply not accept. Being rebellious of nature, I did not want to follow the ‘rules’ of keeping the secret and now looking back, I was right to do so.
I also was surrounded by mostly guys in my family, which made me want to fight hard at a young age against gender inequality. I have to admit that I was quite jealous of my brother or cousins living fully without having to worry about whether they had enough tampons when packing for camping trips! I believe that in a world where women are fighting against injustice, it is important that we acknowledge the wonderful cycle as a natural process instead of a taboo.
Q: What are you hoping to learn from your time with us?
A: My aim for this volunteer position is to gain work experience and perfect my digital marketing skills, as well as improve my communication skills through exchanging with the Chalice team.
Considering my difficult menstrual journey, I have always had in the back of my mind the desire to help ensure that young girls do not go through the same experience as me. So, I hope that my time with the Chalice Foundation would also teach me ways by which I can support and encourage young girls and women around me to feel open to talk about menstruation if they need to and educate myself more on the subject.
Q: What’s one thing you would change about the world in regards to menstruation and how society deals with it if you could wave a magic wand?
A: Tough question. So many things could be changed! But according to me, education is key. I think one thing I would love to change with my wand would be to make people understand the importance of menstrual education. Both from schools and parents requesting to have their children provided with quality and comprehensive classes that clearly outline the process of menstruation for both girls and boys. From there, I would think that growing up, there would be less taboo and stigmatisation around the topic, where girls would feel more confident while going through the change. In a nutshell, I would wish for a world where women are supportive and supported and men are not kept in the dark.
Kirsten is a fashion student at RMIT University, interested in female empowerment and gender equality for which she believes that access to quality menstrual education and establishing a positive menstruation culture are key. Apart from that, Kirsten has a true love for travel, piano playing and constructing her own fashionable garments.