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The Politics of Menstruation

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The evening started with an introduction of the Reyna Movement, with founders Raeesah Khan and Project Director Whitney Tan, sharing more about the work they do for the cause.

Reyna Movement

It was started in July 2016 and established in September 2016. Built on the foundations of women empowerment and community building, they organise events to raise awareness in their cause in Singapore and other countries.

The Reyna Movement currently runs two projects – Project Ria in Singapore and Project Kakak dan Adik in Malaysia. Project Ria aims to create spaces of support and learning for women in Singapore. It looks to establish a community revolving around issues that affect women in Singapore, using education and open dialogue as a means of empowerment. As part of Project Ria, they also conduct workshops that explore experiences and issues related to women. Project Kakak dan Adik works to improve the wellbeing of marginalised women and children in Malaysia, focusing on women’s health and upskilling activities.

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Founder Raeesah Khan will also be publishing a book soon titled “Recipes of Resilience, Stories and recipes by Rohingya Refugee Women” to raise funds for the Reyna Movement.

The following are the events that Project Ria has undertaken in 2017:

  1. Politics of Menstruation
    Date: 24 February 2017
  2. Sex Trafficking and Refugees: Includes a screening of the movie [Bodies For Sale] and a panel discussion including speakers from Project X and NTU
    Date: 21 April 2017
  3. Ethical Pornography: A workshop exploring themes around pornography and educating on ways we can ensure that media we consume is ethical
    Date: 26 May 2017
  4. On Rape and Sexual Assault: Exploring consent, sexual education and the influence of Singaporean cultural norms
    Date: 23 June 2017
  5. Body Image Issues and Society’s Objectification of Women: On the world we live in today and how women should learn to be comfortable in their own skin
    Date: 21 July 2017

The Politics of Menstruation is the first in a series of workshop conducted by Reyna Movement exploring taboo topics concerning women. The upcoming workshops will include themes such as women refugee rights, objectification of women, ethical pornography etc.

Furthermore, the event was honoured to have Ann Gee from LiveLoveLuna to debunk myths surrounding sustainable menstrual products and raise awareness about existing risks associated with conventional products and alternatives available for menstruating people. This includes the hazardous impact of using various products; such as pads and tampons, on our health and the environment.

LiveLoveLuna

In the early days, only disposable pads and tampons were widely available in the market. Reusable menstrual products were hard to find in Singapore. LiveLoveLuna seeks to introduce more Singaporeans to the benefits of reusable menstrual products and create open discussions on the topic of menstruation.

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Menstrual Cups

  • Usually made of silicone
  • Bell-shaped, about 2 inches long and flexible
  • Worn internally, collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbs
  • Reusable and can last for years

Cloth Pads

  • Made of layers of absorbent fabrics (e.g. cotton, bamboo)
  • Come in a variety of sizes and absorbencies to suit individual needs
  • Reusable, can last for years with proper care

Period Underwear

  • Underwear with additional absorbent layers sewn in gusset
  • Can be used for menstrual flow, spotting, discharge, bladder leaks etc

Sea Sponge Tampons

  • Natural plant-like organism from the ocean
  • Naturally renewable resource; can regrow after harvesting
  • Can be trimmed to size
  • Can last 3 – 6 months on average

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Why Haven’t More People Switched?

  • Don’t know about reusables
  • Not easily available in the market
  • Traditional/Conservative mindset
  • Not comfortable with touching their own bodies
  • Steep learning curve
  • Troublesome

Tips on Switching to Reusables

  • Read up on your options
  • Get comfortable with your body
  • Try it out at home
  • Practice, practice, practice!

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A panel comprising of Ann Gee, Raeesah and Sya Taha then engaged the audience in a meaningful discussion on the topics covered that night and especially on the representation of Muslim women revolving around the issue of menstruation. In spite of the taboo nature of the topic, they were fortunate to have an open discussion with regards to areas such as social acceptance towards menstruation and typical female stereotypes i.e. social/religious discrimination towards women on period.

Do follow their page at the Reyna Movement for more information on upcoming events lined up!

POM2All photo credits to the Reyna Movement, Liveloveluna and the writer’s own