SMCR 2015 Program

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Menstrual Health and Reproductive Justice: Human Rights Across the Lifespan

Because menstrual health is a human right!

SMCR 2015

LEGEND Feminism

Menstrual Health Human Rights Reproductive Justice

June 4th-6th, 2015 Suffolk University, Boston USA 21st Biennial Conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

at the Center for Women's Health and Human Rights


Conference Map

1. Residence Hall 4. Conference Venue 10 West Street Suffolk Law School 3. Modern Theater 120 Tremont Street 523-225 Washington Street

Table of Contents SMCR President’s Welcome


Suffolk Welcome 5 Schedule at a Glance


Featured Speaker Biographies

10 - 11

Conference Schedule

12 - 42

12 - 20



21 - 31


32 - 42

Hosted Dinners 43 Conference Attendees Vendor Tables

48 - 52


SMCR Board of Directors

54 - 55

Conference Planning Members


Co-Sponsors 58 - 59



A Message from our SMCR President


elcome to Boston for the 21st Biennial Conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research: Menstrual Health and Reproductive Justice: Human Rights Across the Lifespan. Co-sponsored by the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University, this meeting sits at the intersection of feminism, menstrual health, human rights, and reproductive justice. The theme and partnership reflect the significance and value of engaging menstrual cycle issues in the broader contexts of women’s health and bodies, lifespan development, human rights, and reproductive justice.

In addition to many different concurrent sessions on a wide variety of topics, conference highlights include keynote speaker, Loretta Ross, co-founder of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective; a plenary featuring Tomi-Ann Roberts and another addressing menstrual hygiene management campaigns around the globe; a presentation of the Making Menstruation Matter Award to Our Bodies, Ourselves; and a menstrual art exhibit and plenary featuring the work of 36 artists from 10 different countries. Evening events include a Bikes and Period Party with “spokeswomen” from Sustainable Cycles; a menstrual poetry slam hosted by Dominique Christina; and a cocktail party with the stand-up comedy act, Crimson Wave Girls. Thank you, members of the Conference Committee, and co-chairs Chris Bobel and Amy Agigian for organizing this weekend full of menstrual magnificence, and for creating an inspiring space for this community of scholars, students, educators, practitioners, artists, and activists. Thank you, conference presenters for traveling to Boston from all over the world to make important contributions to the program. The Society has been actively engaged for nearly 40 years in conducting and supporting interdisciplinary research and dialogue about the menstrual cycle. We hope those of you who are attending for the first time will become members of the Society and continue to present and publish your work with us for many years to come. Ingrid Johnston-Robledo, PhD President, Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Welcome to Suffolk University



n behalf of Suffolk University and the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights, welcome to the conference! We are thrilled to partner with the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research to bring you this extraordinary event. While the Center has always focused on women’s health rights—the right to bodily integrity, reproductive justice, sexual health and rights, human security—this is the first time we have worked specifically on menstrual health. I can tell you that it’s been both an eye-opening journey and a kind of home coming. The connections among the world of menstrual health—menstrual hygiene management (MHM), menstrual education, menstrual activism and art—and reproductive justice are intimate. If reproductive justice means the right of all women to have children, to not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments, then menstrual health is a fundamental component. Without knowledge of the menstrual cycle over the life course, how can women manage our fertility and plan to achieve or avoid pregnancy? Unless we overcome menstrual-based stigma and taboo, how can we claim the full breadth of our sexual rights, including pride, pleasure, and power? Without menstrual education, as part of comprehensive health and sexual education, how can women hope to make their best reproductive decisions? Crucially, if women lack safe and healthy environments, including access to MHM, sanitary facilities, secure housing, non-discrimination, healthcare, and other necessary resources, a life of dignity and reproductive justice is out of reach. And yet, until now the Menstrual Health community and the Reproductive Justice community have had few conversations about these critical connections. An event such as this takes a (global) village to pull together, and we thank all our many sponsors, supporters, volunteers, presenters, attendees, as well as Suffolk University for enabling it. We hope you will find the conference a generative space in which you can make and strengthen connections with both people and ideas. Amy Agigian, PhD Founder and Director, Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights, Suffolk University


Conference Schedule Thursday, June 4th 9:00 am - 10:30 am Welcome. Opening Flash! Plenary 10:30 am -11:00 am Break 11:00 am – 12:30 pm Concurrent Session 1 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Lunch on your own. Film Screening 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Plenary: Menstrual Hygiene Management Across the Globe 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm Film Screening & Discussion 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Poster Presentations. Opening of Widening the Cycle: A Menstrual Cycle & Reproductive Justice Art Show 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Dinner on Your Own 8:00 Sustainable Cycles Event (off site)

Friday, June 5th 9:00 am - 10:30 am Keynote: Mainstreaming the Flow: (Still) Selling My Soul to Start the Conversation. With Tomi-Ann Roberts 10:30 am -11:00 am Break 11:00 am - 12:30 pm Concurrent Session 2 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Lunch. Plenary: Beyond “Menstruation Bathroom”: Stimulating Social Change Through Visualizations of Gendered Blood 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Keynote: Respect for Menstruation is a Human Right. With Loretta Ross 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm Break 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Concurrent Session 3 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm Dinner On Your Own 7:30 pm

Lunette’s Menstrual Comedy & Cocktails

At a Glance


Saturday, June 6th 8:00 am - 9:00 am Breakfast. Memorial Discussion 9:00 am - 10:30 am Concurrent Session 4

10:30 am - 11:00 am Break 11:00 am - 12:30 pm Concurrent Session 5

12:30 pm - 2:15 pm Lunch on your own. Film Screening. Adventures in Menstruating - Zine Party! 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

SMCR Awards Presentations

3:15 pm - 3:30 pm


3:30 pm - 5:00 pm SMCR Membership Meeting. Snacks 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Brown Bag Dinner. Discussion: Moving For- ward with Menstrual Health and Reproductive Justice 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Menstrual Poetry Open Mic, with Dominique Christina. Raffle

Sunday, June 7th 10:00 am - 12:00 pm In Her Shoes: A Feminist History Walking Tour around Boston

8 The Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights is proud to sponsor the 21st Biennial Conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

A Humanistic Vision of Bodily Integrity, Gender Equality, and Social Justice.

The Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights strives to advance the health and human rights of women and girls everywhere through education, advocacy, research, and leadership. Founded in 2003, the Center is the first academic initiative in the United States to focus on women’s health as a human rights imperative. The Center’s interdisciplinary approach embraces public policy, social science, the humanities, and the arts. Because menstrual health is a human right!


About the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1979 by a multidisciplinary group of women who were pioneers in understanding the centrality of menstrual cycle research to Society for women’s health. We are an interdisciplinary Menstrual group of researchers, health care providers, Cycle Research policy makers, and students who share an interest in women’s lives and health needs as they are related to the menstrual cycle. Our mission is to be the source of guidance, expertise, and ethical considerations for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and funding resources interested in the menstrual cycle. We offer a network of communication and support that spans discipline, professional responsibilities, and geography to provide woman-centered perspectives on menstrual experiences. Membership is open to individuals who have an interest in research on the menstrual cycle or related issues, and who support the purposes of the Society: • to identify research priorities, to recommend research strategies, and to promote interdisciplinary woman-centered research on the menstrual cycle. • to provide a formal communication network to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue about menstrual cycle events in the context of women’s health over the life span. • to examine the practical, ethical, and policy issues surrounding menstrual cycle research. • to generate and exchange information and to promote public discussion of issues related to the menstrual cycle. • to influence public policy for the enhancement of women’s health.


Featured Speaker Biographies Loretta J. Ross is an expert on women’s

issues, hate groups, racism and intolerance, human rights, and violence against women. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of social justice issues and how this affects social change and service delivery in all movements. She was a co-founder and the National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective from 2005-2012, a network founded in 1997 of women of color and allied organizations that organize women of color in the reproductive justice movement. She was also a National Co-Director of the April 25, 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C., the largest protest march in U.S. history with more than one million participants, and the Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE) in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Crimson Wave is best friend comedians Natalie Norman and Jess Beaulieu. They cohost a feminist podcast about periods/vaginas where guests tell hilarious stories and posit theories about their lovely menses. They also co-host Crimson Wave Comedy (a stand-up show) every Sunday in Toronto. Plus, they are pitching a scripted TV show that we really want to see!


Dominique Christina is an award-winning writer, performer, educator, and activist. She holds five national poetry slam titles in four years, including the 2014 & 2012 Women of the World Slam Champion and 2011 National Poetry Slam Champion. Her work is greatly influenced by her family’s legacy in the Civil Rights Movement and by the idea that words make worlds. Her first full-length poetry book, The Bones, The Breaking, The Balm: A Colored Girl’s Hymnal, published by Penmanship Books, is available now. Her second book, This Is Woman’s Work, is set for publication in October 2015.

Tomi-Ann Roberts is Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at Colorado College, where she has also served as the Director of the Interdisciplinary program in Feminist and Gender Studies. Her research and advocacy efforts focus on the psychological and health consequences of the sexualization and objectification of girls and women. Her work has found its way to some interesting venues, to say the least, including blogs for Kotex, and the Lincoln Center stage for ‘Women in the World.’ She is the proud mother of two decidedly feminist adult daughters. She is patiently waiting for a TED-Talks invitation, but is pretty sure that is futile. Besides, SMCR is a much smarter venue.


Conference Schedule

Welcome and Opening Flash! Plenary 9:00-10:30 am

Function Room, 1st Floor

• Ingrid Johnston-Robledo, President, SMCR • Amy Agigian, Founder and Director, the Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights and Conference Co-Chair • Chris Bobel, President-Elect, SMCR and Conference Co-Chair Moderator: Heather Dillaway, Associate Professor of Sociology at Wayne State University; SMCR 2015 Program Co-Chair PANELISTS

• Sarah Wilson, Ruby Gertz, Rosie Sheb’a, Rachel Saudek, Rachel Horn & Olive Mugalian – Spokeswomen, Sustainable Cycles • Alice Dan – Menstrual Cycle Researcher and Founding Director of the Center for Research on Women & Gender at Univ of Illinois, Chicago • Jax Gonzalez – Menstrual Activist; Founder of M.A.R.C, Menstrual Activist Research Collective • Sharmila Murthy – Assistant Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School; Researcher of Water and Human Rights • Sharon Powell – Chicago-based Artist/Educator, SL Powell Public Affairs Services; Adjunct Faculty, Columbia College • Joan C. Chrisler – Feminist Psychologist and Menstrual Cycle Researcher at Connecticut College; Founding Editor, The Journal of Women’s Reproductive Health • David Linton, Professor Emeritus of Communication Arts at Marymount Manhattan College, SMCR Board Member/Newsletter Editor • Arpan Yagnik –Assistant Professor of Advertising, Penn State at Erie, PA • JoAnn Loulan – Psychotherapist & Author: Period: A Girl’s Guide • The Crimson Wave – Menstrual Comedy Duo Nine different speakers and groups comprise this Plenary session including academics, practitioners, advocates, activists, and performers. Each has 3-5 minutes to address issues related to menstruation, women’s health, reproductive justice, and human rights. Topics include menstrual rights, media representations of menstruation, menstrual hygiene management in the global south, the medicalization of women’s health, new SMCR initiatives, bike tours, menstrual humor, and alternative health education, with plenty of time for Q & A. Our Flash! Plenary session is sure to lead to a lively opening discussion and set the stage for a great conference!

Thursday, June 4th Break

10:30-11:00 am


Function Room, 1st Floor

Concurrent Session 1 11:00 am-12:30 pm

1A. Menstrual Hygiene, Human Rights, and Gender Equality. A Focus on the Global South


Human Rights in the Private Sphere: Menstrual Hygiene as a Priority for Gender Equality and Human Dignity • Inga Winkler, Center for Human Rights & Global Justice In many countries, menstruation is shrouded in taboo and secrecy. Removing the taboos and ensuring better access to menstrual hygiene is essential for achieving gender equality and realizing human rights. The presentation seeks to identify appropriate responses including awareness-raising and breaking taboos, promoting good hygiene, and embedding menstrual hygiene in policies and programs.

Investigate and Expose: Challenges in Building an Evidence Base around Menstrual Hygiene as a Human Rights Issue

• Amanda Klasing, Human Rights Watch Menstrual hygiene has emerged as a human rights issue, but this alone does not mean that human rights practitioners will take up the issue. One barrier is the perceived or real limitations in their methodology. The paper will explore examples of how, despite challenges, menstrual hygiene concerns can be exposed.

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Meeting Girls’ Rights and Needs in Zambia

• Sarah Fry, USAID WASHplus USAID/SPLASH in Zambia address girls’ right to education by removing

11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Rm 205 Chair: Megan White Mukuria The panel brings together scholars and practitioners from the fields of human rights and water and sanitation to discuss menstrual hygiene from the perspective of gender equality. It uses a human rights analysis and practical examples to demonstrate how the taboo around menstrual hygiene and its low priority can be overcome.

11:00 am - 12:30 pm


Conference Schedule

barriers to menstrual hygiene management in schools. SPLASH and the Ministry of Education research cultural norms, improve girl-friendly facilities and access to menstrual products, break taboos, and integrate MHM in the education system through water, sanitation and hygiene in schools.

1B. Religion and Reproductive Practices and Traditions Rm 375 Chair: Saniya Lee Ghanoui This panel will include an intersection of topics related to menstruation and family planning within the context of Jewish legal and cultural practices that focus on a women-centered approach that include: laws regulating menstrual practices between husband and wife; abortion laws that are central to the well-being of the mother; and effects of immigration on menstrual traditions and family planning. PANELISTS

Menstruation and Reproductive Practices Religion and Traditions and the Influence of Immigration on MotherDaughter Dyads across Cultures •

Sheryl E. Mendlinger, Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice, Northeastern University; The Center for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; & Julie Cwikel, The Center for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

This paper presents a theoretical analysis of in-depth interviews with multicultural mother-daughter dyads and quantitative data that examines how women from different cultural and religious backgrounds view menstruation and family planning practices. Both of those practices changed rapidly among both mothers and daughters, following immigration to Israel.

The Jewish Ritual around Menstruation: How “Family Purity” Laws affect Modern Women • Marmon Grumet, The Eden Center The Jewish rituals surrounding menstruation are complex. For those who observe the religious framework, these rituals affect and circumscribe actions throughout the monthly cycle. This lecture will explore the scope of these rituals, and how modern women make meaning of the practice of these ancient laws.

Thursday, June 4th


Abortion Legal Rights in Israel: Reproductive and Sexual Health; “In Judaism a Fetus is not Considered a “Nefesh”, a Soul, or a Human Being, Until it is Born • Yael Magen, Multigenerational Family Law and Taxes LP This presentation will present an overview of the abortion issue in Israel including Israel’s legal system, Jewish legal position of the fetus vs. the mother, Israeli legislative history, and its applicability and practicality in Israel today.

1C. Menopause Rm 365

Chair: Heather Dillaway


• Maureen C. McHugh, Indiana University of Pennsylvania I examine the varied and complex perspectives that older women have in relation to their bodies, their appearance, and their sexual selves in contrast to the stereotypic, and negating perspectives of the media and the medical perspectives.

Sex and the Menopausal Woman: Resisting Representations of the Abject Asexual Woman • Jane Ussher & Janette Perz, Center for Health Research, University of Western Sydney Drawing on qualitative research conducted with women at midlife, and those who have experienced premature menopause after cancer, we argue that sexuality can continue to be a positive experience for women throughout adult life and into old age, with many women reporting increased sexual desire and response.

Writing Menopause: Creating an Anthology

• Jane Cawthorne and Elaine D. Morin, Editors of upcoming anthology “Writing Menopause” The editors will discuss their process of creating a new literary anthology that considers the diverse experience of menopause from various points of view and from the genres of poetry, short fiction, interviews, and creative non-fiction. A few sample excerpts will be shared.

11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Resisting Cultural Stereotypes: Sexual Desire and Desireability in Post-Menopausal Women


Conference Schedule

1D. Fertility Control Rm 345

Chair: Tomi-Ann Roberts


Not A “Real” Period: Redefining Menstruation and Reconfiguring Birth Control • Katie Ann Hasson, University of Southern California Draws on medical journal articles, FDA advisory committee transcripts, and marketing websites to show how menstruation was redefined in the context of the development and introduction of menstrual suppression birth control.

11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Bringing Down My Period - Metaphors Around Ending an Unwanted Pregnancy • Susan Yanow, MSW, Consultant, Ibis Reproductive Health, Reproductive Health Access Project, Women Help Women Around the world, and in the U.S., women attempt to control their fertility. This workshop will focus on the practice of menstrual regulation and the use of pills to induce a miscarriage, with a focus on the phenomena of self-induction in the U.S.

“I Would Never Recommend it to Anyone.”: What Can We Learn From Women who Share their Bad Experiences with Depo-Provera?

• Laura Wershler, Self-employed writer and commentator Over 1000 comments to two posts written for the SMCR blog, re:Cycling, about adverse experiences of women who quit Depo-Provera reveal themes of uninformed choice, lack of body literacy, diminished well-being, betrayal, anger and solidarity. Comment excerpts will demonstrate how Depo-Provera might undermine reproductive choice and justice. Suggestions to counter this will be offered.

“I Won’t Have What She’s Having!”: Menstruation Suppression, the Illusion of Choice, and the Lure of Posthumanisms • Diana Álvarez, Texas Woman’s University This paper explores the practice of menstruation suppression through hor monal birth control pills. It discusses menstrual suppression as a step towards posthumanism and explains how the practice of embraces a cyborg feminine identity. It problematizes the rhetoric of “choice” in a society in which to be naturally female is to be unfeminine

Thursday, June 4th


Workshops 1E. Sustainable Cycles: Cross Country Activism and Education on Bicycles Rm 355 Sarah Wilson, Ruby Gertz, Rosie Sheb’a, Rachel Horn, Rachel Saudek & Olive Mugalian In March of 2015, seven women from three different countries biked across America for one reason: because they are passionately positive about periods. Sustainable Cycles aims to catalyze a grassroots, person-to-person revolution away from single-use, disposable menstrual products to reusable sustainable options. They will be presenting their journeys and helping you brainstorm ways to access your inner activist.

Lunch on your own. Film Screening & Discussion 12:30-2:00 pm

Faculty Dining Room (4th Floor)

Pre-ordered lunches available for pick up at our registration table. If you did not pre-order one of our boxed lunches, but want to purchase lunch on site, the Café on the 4th Floor is open until 1:30 pm.

Menstrual Man. 2013. 63 mins. • Virmani, Amit, Anand Kundra, Seah Kui Luan, and A. Muruganantham

Post-Film Discussion Moderated by David Linton, Professor Emeritus of Communication Arts (retired) at Marymount Manhattan College, SMCR Board Member

There are men who squirm at the mention of a woman’s period. And then there’s Muruganantham, a school dropout who realised that the majority of women in India couldn’t afford sanitary pads and decided to do something about it. With limited resources at his disposal, he adopted extreme methods to conduct his research. It wasn’t long before his community shunned him. Even his wife decided that he was a pervert and left him. But that was then. Today, Muruganantham is hailed as a visionary who is empowering rural women across India. Menstrual Man tells the inspiring story of an unlikely hero who stood up for India’s ignored. A critical and audience favourite, the film underscores the importance of empowering women to combat poverty, and the power in every individual to make a difference.


Conference Schedule Plenary

2:00-3:30 pm

Function Room, 1st Floor

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) across the Globe Moderator: Megan White Mukuria, ZanaAfrica PANELISTS

• Leeat Weinstock, Grand Challenges Canada • Sinu Joseph, Myrthi Speaks • Murat Sahin, WASH in Schools, UNICEF • Archana Patkar, Water Supply and Sanitation Coordinating Council • Beverly Mademba, WASH United MHM is critically neglected in development programs. This creates negative cascading effects, particularly for girls, in health, education, safety, and productivity. This panel is a global first to bring together activists, practitioners, funders, and academics. Together they will share their unique work and discuss barriers and opportunities to form a global, lasting movement to mainstream menstruation management.

Film Screening & Discussion 3:30-5:00 pm

Faculty Dining Room, 4th Floor

Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories from the Red Tent • Leidenfrost, Isadora Gabrielle, Ruth Mendelson, Alisa Starkweather, and Dale Allen. 2012. [New York]: Soulful Media. 72 mins. Post Film Discussion Moderated by the Red Web Foundation

Spontaneous and organic, a Red Tent is a red fabric space where women gather to rest, renew, and often share deep and powerful stories about their lives. The film weaves together healing narratives from inside the Red Tent to shine a spotlight on this vital, emergent, women’s movement. The Red Tent movement is changing the way that women interact and support each other by providing a place that honors and celebrates women.

Poster Presentations & Art Show Opening

5:00-7:00 pm

Function Room, 1st Floor

Thursday, June 4th


Widening the Cycle: A Menstrual Cycle & Reproductive Justice Art Show Curated by Jen Lewis Widening the Cycle is a social justice art show addressing the complex issues pertaining to menstruation and reproductive justice. Following the 2013 biennial conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR), artist and menstrual designer Jen Lewis was inspired to curate a visual exhibit that would further enrich, inform and strengthen the interdisciplinary event. Menstruation is a human right that must be made visible in order to become part of the broader gender equality discussion. This radical thematic collection brings together 38 artists from 10 countries to disrupt the current cultural narrative and replace it with one that reflects the real thoughts, emotions and experiences of menstruators.

Poster Presentations Knowledge, Practices and Restrictions Related to Menstruation Among Adolescent Girls in the Buea Health District • Ettamba Agborndip & Domin Sone Majunda Ekaney Breaking the Silence 2015: Empowering Girls and Women and Involving Boys and Men on Menstrual Hygiene Manage• Urmilla Chanam Queer Periods: Attitudes toward and Experiences with Menstruation in the Masculine-of-Centre Transgender Community •

Joan C. Chrisler, Jennifer A. Gorman, Jennifer Manion, Michael Murgo, Angela Barney, Alexis Adams-Clark, Jessica R. Newton & Meaghan McGrath

Eco Femme: Action Research for Holistic Menstrual Health Programs • Ilana Cohen First Blood: Women’s Recollections of Menarche • Kimberly Koerth Menstrual Abnormalities, Perceived Femininity, and Intimate Relationships in Adolescence and Young Adulthood • Eunhye Lee


Conference Schedule

Poster Presentations Continued... Memories of Menarche and Attitudes Towards Menstruation: Data from Mexico and the USA • Ma. Luisa Marván, Kristian Jasso, Joan C. Chrisler, Jennifer A. Gorman & Angela Barney Menstrual Blood Art and Self-Identity • Sadie Mohler & Stephanie Dragoon Age at Menarche and Self-Assessed Health and Well Being Among Icelandic Girls • Herdís Sveinsdóttir & Rúnar Vilhjálmsson

Thursday, June 4th

Menstrual Sex and the Taboo of Menstrual Blood • Crystal Zaragoza Menstrual Hygiene Management Practices in Slums: It’s Impacts on the Women and Adolescent Girl’s Health – A Case Study of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Slums • Venu Madhav Sharma, Centre for Economic and Social Studies

Dinner on your own

7:00-8:00 pm see page 43 for Hosted Dinner Options. Sign up at the Registration

Sustainable Cycles Hosts: A Bikes and Periods Party! 8:00pm

Make Shift Boston

Join us for a potluck dinner, a cross-country story share and an alternative menstruation raffle to support the Sustainable Cycles bike tour. See page 45 for more information. Make Shift Boston, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston Would you like to cycle with us? Hubway has donated bike passes to our lovely conference. Visit the registration table for more information.

Friday, June 5th 9:00-10:30 am



Function Room, 1st Floor

Mainstreaming the Flow: (Still) Selling My Soul to Start the Conversation • Tomi-Ann Roberts Introduced by Jane Ussher, Professor of Women’s Health Psychology at University of Western Sydney; SMCR 2015 Program Co-Chair University; SMCR 2015 Program Co-Chair

In this talk, Tomi-Ann will discuss her efforts at ‘mainstreaming the flow,’ and present some of the many challenges and satisfactions of moving from scholar to advocate and educator for non-academic audiences on the connections between objectification, sexualization, and menstrual wellness.


10:30-11:00 am

Concurrent Session 2 11:00am-12:30pm

2A. Cancer and Menstrual Matters Rm 205

Chair: Janette Perz


The Significance of Menstrual Flow for Young Women with Cancer-Related Infertility: ‘My Periods aren’t Normal, So My Fertility’s Not Normal’

• Kathryn Nattress, Centre for Health Research, University of Western Sydney Although the dominant menstrual discourse is of pain, mess and unpredictability the interviews with the women in this research suggest the possibility of alternative discourses. The five themes identified were: A mark of womanhood; connection or disconnection; a signifier of fertility; considering menstruation as ‘abnormal’ and maintaining a natural cycle.


Conference Schedule

Young women’s constructions of their post-cancer fertility

11:00 am-12:30 pm

• Amy Dryden, Centre for Health Research, University of Western Sydney This qualitative study explored younger women’s construction of their fertility post-cancer, and their discussions with healthcare professionals about fertility. Results suggest that issues surrounding fertility were important to this group of cancer survivors, and that compromised fertility can negatively impact on the subjectivity of young women diagnosed with cancer.

Constructing the HPV Vaccine in the Context of Eastern Europe • Irina Todorova, Northeastern University A vaccine for the prevention of the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) transmission, associated with cervical and other cancers was recently introduced. We explore the relevance of local context for understanding meanings, discourses and disparities related to uptake and avoidance of the HPV vaccine in Bulgaria and Romania.

2B. Menstrual Hygiene Management Campaigns & Menstrual Activists: What Can We Learn from Each Other? Rm 315

Chair: Jax Gonzalez

Menstrual activists have criticized the medicalization of menstruation. Some aim to celebrate menstruation as a natural process; others criticize the concept of a girls’ ‘messy’ body, but is a woman’s natural state really that positive? Is it only through escaping biology and manipulating their cycle that menstruators achieve empowerment? PANELISTS

Stiff Lower Lips: Challenging and changing British Attitudes to Menstruation • Chella Quint, The #PeriodPositive Project Chella Quint offers at least 28 ways to disrupt narratives of menstrual shame globally and locally by recounting her #PeriodPositive methods: using comedy, activism, research, education, and, more recently, as part of a wider discourse around improved sex and relationships education, at grassroots, local school board and national policy levels.

Friday, June 5th


The Feminist Issue of Our Time: The Role of Menstruation in Achieving Better Reproductive Health for Women Worldwide • Emily Wilson-Smith, Irise International, University of Sheffield & Kampala International University Women’s reproductive health begins with their experience of menstruation, influencing their health-seeking behaviors for life. With the lifetime risk of maternal death over 200 times greater in poor countries compared with Western Europe and North America, an over-romanticized view of a women’s natural state is damaging in this context.

Menstrual Hygiene Day - Uniting Partners

Experiences from India - Reclaiming a Positive & Celebratory Outlook towards Menstruation • Sinu Joseph, Mythri Speaks In India, cultural and religious contexts must be considered when discussing menstruation. Through my journey of discovery, the positive celebratory attitude of early religious texts towards the experience of menstruation has been enlightening. Ancient societies have much untapped wisdom that could benefit menstruators and inform our views today.

2C. Examining Menstruation Function room, 1st Floor

Chair: Elizabeth Kissling


Priming Menstruation Schema Moderates Relationship between Menstrual Attitudes and Chocolate Craving

• Joseph Wister & Margaret L. Stubbs, Chatham University Women who had menstruation schemas primed had significant positive correlations between negative menstrual attitudes and measures of increased craving and eating, confirming existing stereotypes. For women in the no-prime condition, these correlations were not significant or were in a direction that opposed the stereotypes. Perceptions of Women who Speak Openly about Menstruation • Jessica Barnack-Tavlaris, The College of New Jersey Session continued on next page...

11:00 am-12:30 pm

• Danielle Keiser, WASH United An overview of the diverse Menstrual Hygiene Day partner network reveals different discourses of menstrual activism in developed versus developing countries.


Conference Schedule

The purpose is to examine people’s perceptions of a woman who speaks openly about menstruation. We will test whether a woman will be judged more negatively when she speaks openly about menstruation (e.g., less competent, less likable, less attractive) than when she does not speak openly about menstruation.

Menstruation as Contagion? Women’s Subjective Beliefs about Menstrual Synchrony • Breanne Fahs, Arizona State University

11:00 am-12:30 pm

This paper utilized qualitative data from a diverse 2014 community sample of women to examine their beliefs about menstrual synchrony (women’s menstrual cycles syncing up). Results revealed an overwhelming endorsement of menstrual synchrony, belief in it as magical or “animal-like,” and targeted a wide range of potential women co-menstruators

Examining Knowledge, Cognitive Involvement, and Behavioral Involvement with Menstrual Practices: Implications on Health Education and Communication Campaigns • Arpan Yagnik & Srinivas Melkote, Bowling Green State University

There is a scarcity of baseline research on menstruation and menstrual hygiene that can guide health communication intervention campaigns. The outcomes of this study on Indian women and men will provide practitioners, health communication managers and researchers scientifically accurate knowledge about understudied facets of menstruation (cognitive/ behavioral involvement, and knowledge).

2D. Dueling Medicines: Contraception and Deeply Rooted Beliefs in Menstruation as a Health-giving Process Alumni Meeting Room [4th Floor]

Chair: Laura Wershler

This panel will address women’s poor use, misuse, and rejection of medical contraception in Africa, the U.S., and other parts of the world. The first presenter will discuss Sub-Saharan women who either reject or stop using contraceptive pharmaceuticals when they know of the irregularities in their periods the drugs cause. The second paper will examine how women in the U.S. who use natural family planning misuse or stop using medical contraception. The last presenter will connect African women’s faith in a pan-African water spirit to their reluctance to use contraception; Session continued on next page...

Friday, June 5th


called Mami Wata, showing this divinity to be an ultimately prehistoric source for the women’s beliefs about the importance of regular menstrual flow to health and fertility PANELISTS

Method Mistrust: How Women’s Mistrust of Family Planning Methods which Interfere with their Menstrual Cycles Leads to Unmet Need, Incorrect Contraceptive Use, and Method Discontinuation • Ann Moore, Guttmacher Institute

I Shouldn’t Mess around on Those Days: How Women’s’ Beliefs about their Fertility and their Menstrual Cycles Affect their Contraceptive Use

• Lori Frohwirth, Guttmacher Institute While modern contraception allows women to think about their cycles only in terms of hygiene and convenience, data show that many women view menstruation as a sign of good physical and reproductive health. This paper explores how the beliefs of American women about menstruation affects their use of FAM in combination with hormonal and barrier methods.

The Rainbow Goddess and the Rainbow Snake: Mami Wata Worship as a Source of African Women’s Belief in Menstruation as Medicine

• Jacqueline Thomas, Independent Scholar Sub-Saharan women often reject hormonal contraceptives, citing belief in the salutary/reproductive benefits of regular periods. This paper argues that this belief likely reflects faith in the snake-entwined Mami Wata, a pan-African wealth/fertility deity (aka the Rainbow Goddess). It views Mami Wata as a modern-day expression of the Rainbow Snake—a prehistoric menstruation-regulating African/Australian water spirit embodying a sophisticated cosmology that saw women’s cycle-based solidarity as responsible for earthly order and human happiness.

11:00 am-12:30 pm

Many hormonal contraceptives alter women’s menstrual cycles, making periods last longer, flow heavier or lighter, spot throughout the month, or simply stop. Because women widely mistrust such methods, they often resist, misuse, or stop using them. Based on data from developing and developed countries, this paper shows how wanting “normal” periods adds to their risk of unwanted pregnancy.


Conference Schedule Workshops

2E. Building Better Solutions for Monitoring and Evaluation in Menstrual Hygiene Management Faculty Dining Room, 4th Floor • Rebecca Scharfstein, Ashley Eberhart, Lacy Clark, Allison Behringer, Pasand Through an interactive human-centered design approach, participants will discuss challenges in monitoring and evaluation in the menstrual hygiene management sector. We will use Pasand, a social venture focused on women’s health education, as a case study and present four challenges the organization faces with respect to data collection. Participants will collaboratively identify solution(s) to the challenges presented.

2F. Bodystorm: A Menstrual Rights Embodied VisionJury Room, 4th floor • Roxanne Partridge, Pacifica Graduate Institute Bodystorm is like a guided brainstorming session with intuitive, interactive, and embodied exploration, a bit of Theatre of the Oppressed, and a vulva puppet talking-stick. This is a space of expression, deep listening, collective visioning, and movement. Here, you’re invited to bodystorm the problem of embodied representation of menstrual rights, and envision potential realities to take flesh in the world.

Lunch and Plenary 12:30-2:00 pm

Function Room, 1st Floor

Beyond “Menstruation Bathroom”: Stimulating Social Change Through Visualizations of Gendered Blood Moderator: Ruth Green-Cole

• • • • •

Diana Álvarez Gabriella Boros Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch Lucy Madeline Kyle


Friday, June 5th


Can art change the way society sees, perceives and thinks about menstruation? Can visual art help expand the scope of reproductive justice in the mainstream? Five artists from Widening the Cycle discuss the catalyzing power of visual art and explore the use of menstrual blood in art-making following the seminal work of Judy Chicago’s “Menstruation Bathroom.” From religious tradition to radical self-acceptance, we’ll cover it all! Diana Álvarez promotes menstrual activism through the practice of socially engaged art. Gabriella Boros discusses the Judaic tradition of Niddah through the feminist lens. Often through humor, Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch transforms everyday objects into thought provoking creations to stimulate new conversations. Lucy Madeline adds an artist-educator’s perspective about the construction of female identity and the body. Kyle links mental health to menstrual health by exploring the emotional issues that often go unaddressed in traditional healthcare.

Keynote: Loretta Ross 2:00-3:30 pm

Function Room, 1st Floor

Respect for Menstruation is a Human Right Introduced by Amy Agigian, Founder & Director, the Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights at Suffolk University, SMCR 2015 Conference Co-Chair This presentation will address how women and girls can celebrate their bodies, especially their menses, instead of being shamed and hidden as in most cultures. Building on the experiences learned at the Black Women’s Health Imperative and using the human rights framework, the keynote will address how activists are changing the conversation about menstruation and womanhood. Sponsored by Diva International Inc.


Conference Schedule


3:30-4:00 pm

4:00-5:30 pm

Concurrent Session 3

3A. Menstrual Management Rm 275 PANELISTS

Chair: Jane Ussher

Women with Spinal Cord Injuries Talk about Menopause • Heather Dillaway, Wayne State University Using data from interviews with 20 women with spinal cord injury, I illustrate how disabled women may think about and experience menopause. Overall, interviewees think positively about menopause as a release from the hassles of menstruation, but face unique experiences when dealing with perimenopausal symptoms. I also discuss their concerns about aging.

Menstrual Kit for Visually Impaired Women: “Kahani Her Mahine Ki” • Sadhvi Thukral, National Institute of Design The kit “Kahani Her Mahine Ki” (the same story every month) covers the subject of menstruation and how to manage during “periods.” The kit has the following features:1. Tactile diagrams and material are in the form of Information Slates, with labels of the different body parts and each slate has text for the sighted and Braille for the visually impaired. 2. A life size human body model for demonstration. What They Do, What We Do, What I Do: A Critical Review of Five Contemporary International Surveys of Menstrual Management Practices and Technologies. How Can these Surveys Inform Western Practice? What Areas Remain to be Surveyed? • Sadhvi Thukral, National Institute of Design How is menstruation managed around the world? The question invokes a lofty perspective to critique and inform our own practices. This paper uses a framework of reviewing five recent surveys, critiqued against a wide informal online literature, to set out a range of approaches, practices and technologies used today.

Friday, June 5th


3B. Menstrual Representations Rm 315

Chair: Sheryl Mendlinger


Menstrual Mystery: Female Bodies in Catholic Theology • Doris M. Kieser, St. Joseph’s College

This paper explores Catholic theological perceptions of reproducing female bodies and the mysterious inattention to menstruation and menarche. Discourse regarding reproduction typically centers on the debate over the morality of using means to avoid, facilitate, or terminate pregnancy and reproduction. Menstruation is rarely explored, particularly menarche and the initiation of female bodies into the possibility of reproduction.

All Postfeminist Women Do: Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Television Comedy • Elizabeth A. Kissling, Eastern Washington University This essay explores how women’s sexual and reproductive health issues are represented in television comedies by, for, and about young women in ways that fill in gaps of abstinence-only sex education. Simultaneously, these shows reproduce the postfeminist sensibility of the late 1990s television programming and align with the same neoliberal values. Menstrual Documentary: Menstrual Education Films of the 1970s • Saniya Lee Ghanoui, University of Illinois Menstrual educational films are used widely in U.S. school curricula to educate and prepare girls both practically and emotionally for the changes they are about to undergo. This paper examines the social underpinnings of menstrual education films of the 1970s and how they were directed at young girls to exemplify the evolution of menstrual hygiene education that embodied the public sphere.

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Biblical Blood: Image Representations of Menstruation in Bible Stories • David Linton, Marymount Manhattan College How do you tell stories that involve a taboo, a detail that might discomfort or embarrass the audience? Such a challenge confronted artists faced with the task of illustrating Biblical stories that involved menstruation. This paper describes how the three Biblical menstruators were treated in image art.


Conference Schedule

3C. Menstrual Education Rm 285

Chair: Breanne Fahs


Confident Girls in Charge of their Own Lives • Chantal Heutink, Bilhah Anyango, Jackline Obado & Goretty Obure, Afri-Can Trust

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Girls grow up feeling ashamed due to limited knowledge about menstruation. Lack of proper sanitary means to take care of themselves during this period creates a huge backlog to these girls hence denying them the opportunity to take their place in society. Menstrual Hygiene Management matters are important to bridge the gap and provide a pathway towards confident girls in charge of their lives.

Factors Impacting on the Menstrual Hygiene among School-Going Adolescent Girls in Mongu District, Zambia • Anne Mutunda Lahme, Akros Global Health, Zambia The research showed that in a Zambian context the process of menstruation can turn into a threat to girls’ social, physical and mental well-being and ultimately their school careers, causing gender discrimination and violation of their rights. It also creates an atmosphere of emotional stress, leading to poor school performance. GrowUp Smart: Demystifying the Link between Menstruation, Fertility and Sexuality • Jennifer Gayles, Kim Ashburn & Marie Mukabatsinda, Georgetown University Institute for Reproductive Health GrowUp Smart is an interactive puberty education program for adolescents, parents and communities that links knowledge of the menstrual cycle to improved understanding of fertility and better reproductive health outcomes. This presentation will discuss findings from evaluation of the intervention’s effect on sexual and reproductive health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors

Workshops 3D. Full-Spectrum Doula Support Corcoran Room, 7th Floor • Emma O’Brien & Sarah Whedon, Boston Doula Project Session continued on next page...

Friday, June 5th


Full-spectrum doulas provide free, non-judgmental, and empowering support for people undergoing reproductive experiences. Members of the Boston Doula Project will discuss how we engage with the reproductive justice movement; prioritize the voices of marginalized people; destigmatize abortion by locating it on the reproductive lifecourse; and promote body literacy and empowerment.

3F. Menstruation Matters: Period! – A Public Education Campaign whose Time has Not Yet Come Faculty Dining Room, 4th Floor • Heather Guidone, Center for Endometriosis Care; Diana Karczmarczyk, George Mason University and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials; Evelina Sterling, Kennesaw State University and Southern Research and Evaluation Institute; & Margaret L. Stubbs, Chatham University As menstrual cycle educators and advocates, we know all too well the frustrations and inadequacies related to menstrual cycle education targeting the general public. This hands-on workshop provides participants the opportunity to contribute to designing effective public health education messaging grounded in health education theory and strategies that address the importance of menstruation to girls’ and women’s health and well-being.

Dinner on your own

5:30-7:30pm see page 43 for Hosted Dinner Options. Sign up at Registration Table.

Menstrual Comedy & Cocktails with The Crimson Wave

7:30 pm Faculty Dining Room, 4th Floor The comedy duo Natalie Norman and Jess Beaulieu that make up The Crimson Wave will present a menstrual based comedy show. All are welcome to attend, beer wine and refreshments will be served. Sponsored by Lunette


Conference Schedule Memorial Discussion

8:00-9:00 am

Rm 205

In Memory of Dr. Kathleen I. MacPherson, University of Southern Maine Moderator: Heather Dillaway, Associate Professor of Sociology at Wayne State University, SMCR 2015 Program Co-Chair Dr. Kathleen I. MacPherson, Professor Emerita of Nursing at the University of Southern Maine, passed away in April 2014. She was an active member of SMCR in the 1980s and is remembered by many who are attending the 2015 conference for her work on the social constructions of menopause, hormone replacement, and osteoporosis. In the 1970s, she was one of 14 founding women of the Menopause Collective in Cambridge, MA, which led to her subsequent contributions on menopause and osteoporosis to the original issues of Our Bodies Ourselves and Ourselves Growing Older, published by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective. She is credited by many nursing leaders with bringing the “medicalization of menopause” to the attention of providers. The breakfast discussion hour will be used to reflect on her major contributions and how far we have come in understanding the medicalization of menopause and women’s health more broadly. All are welcome.

Concurrent Session 4 9:00-10:30 am

4A. Culture and Embodiment Rm 205

Chair: Arpan Yagnik


Menstruation and Objectification in an Icelandic Context • Herdís Sveinsdóttir, University of Iceland The aim of the study is to describe objectification among Icelandic women and how it relates to menstrual attitudes, women´s body consciousness and health behavior. Participants were 320 women aged 20-40 years drawn from the Register of Iceland in fall 2013. Findings regarding disordered eating and objectification will be discussed. Session continued on next page...

Saturday, June 6th


Shame, Secrecy, or Celebration: Experiences and Constructions of Menstruation Across Cultures • Alexandra Hawkey, Centre for Health Research, University of Western Sydney Through qualitative interviews this study aims to reveal culturally specific experiences and constructions of menstruation with migrant women from a range of backgrounds, in Australia and Canada. Analysis of the data highlights a range of themes including cultural silencing; celebration of the girl to women transition; and menstrual rules.

4B. Men and Menstruation Rm 375

Chair: David Linton


Masculinity & Menstruation: An Exploration of a Complex Relationship • Kate Richmond, Muhlenberg College & Mindy Erchull, University of Mary Washington This exploratory study aimed to learn more about men’s knowledge and attitudes about menstruation. Men completed measures assessing their endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology, their attitudes and knowledge related to menstruation, their general levels of comfort talking about menstruation, and their reports of how they learned about menstruation.

She Got Her Period: Men’s Knowledge and Perspectives on Menstruation • Ishwari Rajak, Minnesota State University Session continued on next page...

9:00 am - 10:30 am

Black Women, Red Tent: Doing Blood Work and Recovery of Black Girlhood, Spirituality and Ritual Exclamations for Black Girl Periods • Sevonna Brown, Williams College This project invites black women to explore their relationships to their menstruation and their bodies more holistically through a consideration of blood, spirituality, and monthly ritual. This conversation-making and interactive study anticipates collective issues of shame, survival, birth, infertility, sexuality and disease. The research inquiries desire to find Black women in their own Red Tent in celebration of their own bodies, reproductive mysteries, traumas and triumphs.


Conference Schedule

Myths, taboos, and shame associated with menstruation limit conversations about it. It is important for men to engage in conversation to understand at a deeper level why society silences conversation about menstruation. This research aims to explore men’s knowledge and perspectives on menstruation.

Putting Men Back in the Menstrual Cycle: A Qualitative Analysis of Men’s Perceptions of Menstruation • Kate Fishman, Southern Illinois University

9:00 am - 10:30 am

This paper will explore qualitative findings of men’s perceptions of menstruation and the implications of negative attitudes, specifically as they relate to women’s bodily experiences and expressions of emotion. Participants’ creative artworks depicting their perceptions of menstruation will be presented, and future directions related to educational goals will be addressed.

4C. Menstrual Hygiene Rm 325

Chair: Evelina Sterling


A Vicious Cycle of Silence: The Perpetuation of the Menstrual Hygiene ‘Taboo’ and the Implications for the Realisation of the Human Rights of Women and Girls • Emily Wilson-Smith, Kampala International University & Robyn Boosey, University of Bristol Despite the impact of poor menstrual hygiene on the rights of women and girls it has remained largely neglected by international stakeholders. A document analysis of the core international human rights treaties and relevant human rights body reports found an overwhelming silence and an analysis of the existing references revealed an inadequate framework for addressing menstrual hygiene.

Improving Menstrual Health and Hygiene in India - Another Critical Pathway for Women’s Emancipation • K Yadagiri, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, UNICEF Division for Child Studies Session continued on next page...

Saturday, June 6th


Gynecological Self-Help isn’t Just a Good Feeling - What We Learned When We Systematically Studied Our Own Menstrual Cycles - and How You Can Learn MORE Now! • Kathy Hodge, Feminist Women’s Health Center

In 1975, nine members of the Feminist Women’s Health Center collective met daily for over a month, recording changes in our vaginas and cervices and their secretions, for PAP and ferning smears, charting moods and basal body temperature. We raised questions, some of which remain open and ripe for future woman-controlled research.

4D. Menstrual Education Rm 345

Chair: Chella Quint


Making Schools Menstrual Friendly: Enhancing Experience of Girls in Public Schools • Dhirendra Pratap Singh, Azadi Inc.

A presentation of findings and analysis from the Menstrual Friendly School Program in Balrampur District, Uttar Pradesh, India – an initiative to address the menstruation management needs of girls at school so that puberty does not result in school drop out, a risk facing ~30% of India’s 87.5 million adolescent girls.

Menstrual Hygiene Practices of Girls in Rural India • Rita Jalali, American University The purpose of this study was to understand menstrual hygiene practices of poor girls living in rural India; their unmet menstrual management needs; and knowledge and awareness about menstruation and commercial napkins. Data were collected through survey, focus group discussions and diary entries and show how poverty and water deprivation impact hygiene. Session continued on next page...

9:00 am - 10:30 am

Health Education and Menstruation: Teaching the Taboo • Jax Gonzalez, Brandeis University Preliminary research on educators’ familiarity teaching health education in elementary schools suggests that teachers experience a multitude of limitations when administering the curriculum. By using sociological theory through an intersectional lens this qualitative study provides an important insight into the lived experience of teaching the taboo.


Conference Schedule

Borohawa | Grown Up Girl – A Short Film on Managing Menstruation in Rural Bangladesh • Sara Liza Baumann, Old Fan Films & Richard A. Cash, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Whether you live in South America, Africa, Europe or Asia, all women undergo a natural experience that signifies their transition from childhood to adulthood. It may have different cultural significance, and women have a variety of different experiences, but menstruation is a biological event that women around the world share. Setting out with the goal of increasing understanding of these questions, we traveled to a school in Mymensingh, Bangladesh to gather perspectives from adolescent school girls through this short film project.


3D. Politics is a Messy Business

ROOM 355 • Sharon L. Powell, S L Powell Public Affairs Services This interactive workshop combining public lecture, performance, and real-time social action (using social media and “old school” forms) explores the “messy” issues of integrating the complications of periods, fertility, diverse experiences of contraception, and intersections of “race,” class, sex/ gender, ability, sexual orientation, and the field of gynecology itself.


10:30-11:00 am

Concurrent Session 5 11:00 am-12:30 pm

5A. Premenstrual Distress Rm 205

Chair: Mindy Erchull


Psychosocial Factors Associated with Premenstrual Syndrome • Ina Rosvall & Sandra Ekholm, University of Lund Inspired by critical feminist research, the association between PMS and psychosocial factors was studied using 1320 responses to a web survey. 33.9% of the total variance in PMS could be predicted, emphasising the importance of social norms, family structure and relational factors over hormones in the understanding of premenstrual distress.

Saturday, June 6th


Sarafem Redux: PMDD, Antidepressants, and Big Pharma • Shannon M. Peters, Madeline Brodt & Lisa Cosgrove, University of Massachusetts Industry-facilitated approval of antidepressants was used to justify inclusion of PMDD in the DSM-5. We provide data on industry funding of clinical trials of antidepressants for the treatment of PMDD, discuss the consequences of these commercial ties, and discuss the role of implicit bias in psychiatric research.

Evaluation of the Relative Efficacy and Mechanisms of a Couple-Based Intervention for Premenstrual Syndrome Through a Randomised Control Trial • Janette Perz & Jane Ussher, Centre for Health Research, University of Western Sydney

Measuring the Syndrome: An Introduction to the Measurement of Premenstrual Distress Disorders • Marie Hansen, Long Island University Brooklyn This presentation will cover the history of the scientific measurement of Premenstrual Disorders and will explore the way in which these disorders are measured by researchers today. Included will be an analysis of two widely used scales: Premenstrual Tension Syndrome Observer Scale/Self-Rating Scale (PMTS-O/SR) and the Daily Record of Severity of Problems (DRSP).

11:30 am - 12:30 pm

120 women took part in a randomised controlled trial comparing one-toone and couple psychological therapy for PMS, in comparison to a wait list control group. Whilst women in all three conditions reported reductions in premenstrual distress and improvements in coping, women in the couple condition reported significantly greater reductions in distress postintervention.


Conference Schedule

5B. Imagining Blood Rm 375

Chair: Ingrid Johnston-Robledo

Menstrual Heterotopias in Spatial Art Practice • Ruth Green-Cole, NorthTec & Victoria University of Wellington Menstruation is a significant marker of sexual difference; it is “gendered blood” that divides and distinguishes women, and that has made them in many cases by association, the “subjects” of taboo. The contemporary spatial artworks I present are instrumental in undermining this stigma and bring about changes in what we assume to be the function and value of art.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Blood For Thought: A Closer Look on Contemporary Conceptualization of Menstruation • Anna Krol, Purchase College What does it mean to menstruate in our culture? What is said (and not said) about bodies in relation the conceptualization of periods in Western culture reveals deeper layers of sociopolitical fears and imperatives that involve challenges to traditional, authoritative, privileged-based reason prescribed to all for and by the privileged.

Mucus: The Other Taboo Fluid • Lisa Leger, Justisse Healthworks for Women We rarely see references to menstrual blood in stories about women. Cervical mucus is mentioned even less. Our culture’s squeamishness causes an unfair knowledge gap. Let’s ask “Where’s the Mucus?” in sex education and entertainment. Reproductive justice includes acceptance of cervical mucus as a normal part of female reproductive health.

5C. Social Context and Identity Rm 325

Chair: Margaret Stubbs

You Menstrual Me • Emily Graves, Louisiana State University In a series of 26 very short, original poems written in the second person, I represent discourses of menstruation through aesthetic performance. Calling on the corporeal body to translate poetic expression from the page to the stage, the performance pursues the meeting of embodied language and language about bodies. Session continued on next page...

Saturday, June 6th


Between Weirdness & Empowerment: How Social Class Shapes Girls’ Experiences of Menarche and the Female Body • Theresa E. Jackson, Northeastern University This qualitative study investigates how girls from diverse social locations make meaning out menarche and their changing bodies. Results indicate that all girls appropriate messages of shame related to menstruation. Discussions of the female body diverged according to social class where working-class participants highlighted vulnerability and middle-class participants acknowledged empowerment.

Concurrent Session 5 - Workshops

11:00 am-12:30 pm

5D. Our Bodies, Our Stories: Celebrating the Menstrual Narratives of Womanhood Rm 345 • Deborah Dauda, LEPA & Kirthi Jayakumar, Red Elephant Fund This workshop will look at culture and menstruation by sharing stories and testimonies of women from all over the world and the impact of open conversations in creating comfortable spaces for women to celebrate their womanhood through menstruation. In addition, we will welcome participants to share their own testimonies and stories, along with a session on simple “what-if” scenarios to encourage community conduct and resource sharing.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm

The Optimal Choice for Menstrual Protection for Women: Reflections of MHM Campaigners of MITU, an NGO, Based on their Experiences of Three Years in Rural Karnataka India • Kala Charlu, Multiple Initiatives Towards Upliftment (MITU) This paper presents findings from a Bangalore based organisation, MITU, on what are the right alternatives for protection during menstruation based on the last three years’ work with over 5,000 under-privileged girls and women in Bangalore and Rural Karnataka. Conflicting objectives like health, hygiene, convenience, affordability and Eco-friendliness have made us ponder over the right way forward in this continuously evolving scenario.


Conference Schedule

5E. Rights of Passage: Reclaiming Women’s Rites Rm 355 • Giuliana Serena, Ceremonialist, Moontime Rising During this experiential workshop, participants will be invited to explore their personal experience of womanhood, identify key rites-of-passage that may or may not have been acknowledged, and gain a new perspective on the potential of ritual and ceremony – outside of a religious context – to support heath and wellbeing.

Lunch on your own 12:30-2:15 pm Pre-ordered lunches available for pick up at our registration table.

Film & Adventures in Menstruating - Zine Party! NED: No Evidence of Disease. 2013. 90 mins • Spark Media

Rm 235

Six GYN cancer surgeons take on the Big C with Rock ‘n’ Roll… Their patients become the band’s most ardent fans… Below the belt cancers and a below the radar cause enter the spotlight… The result: No Evidence of Disease, an intimate, humorous, and inspiring documentary from award-winning Spark Media. No Evidence of Disease--the words every patient dreams to hear, interweaves the harrowing experiences and remarkable courage of women, devoted families, and dedicated doctors. As music and medicine join forces in the fight for life, the surgeons are transformed into rising rock stars, and their patients and loved ones jump on the bandwagon, infusing the struggle for survival with heart, hope and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Let’s make some noise!

Happy 10th Birthday, Chart Your Cycle and Adventures in Menstruating! 12:30-2:15 pm • Chella Quint and Jax Gonzalez

Rm 205

Celebrate 10 years of Chart Your Cycle, Adventures of Menstruating, and the power of zines! Peruse zines and create your own page to contribute to a communal conference zine. See page 46 for more information.

Saturday, June 6th


Time to Celebrate! SMCR Awards Presentations

2:15-3:15 pm Function Room, 1st Floor Moderator: Mindy Erchull, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Mary Washington; SMCR 2015 Awards Chair

Making Menstruation Matter Award: Presented to Our Bodies, Ourselves

The Making Menstruation Matter award is given every two years to a journalist, activist, artist, public figure or organization who has meaningfully contributed to the public understanding of menstrual cycle-related issues. The point of the award is to recognize AND encourage thoughtful dialogue about the menstrual cycle beyond the academy. Receiving the award for Our Bodies, Ourselves is Judy Norsigian, its former executive director. For more information turn to page 47.

Student Awards These awards serve to identify particularly high quality research presented at the conference by either undergraduate or graduate students. The awardees are selected by a subcommittee of the SMCR Board. Linda McKeever Award Linda McKeever, DNC, WHCNP, was a dedicated women’s health advocate. In her doctoral research she described women’s models of menopause, portraying the normal perimenopausal process. Before her untimely death from a brain tumor in the early 1990s, Linda was an active participant in the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. Esther Rome Award Esther Rome was a tireless women’s health advocate as a member of both the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective and the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. Among other interests, she was passionate about tampon safety: her testimony before Congress on tampon absorbency was influential in pushing the industry to provide some standardized absorbency information on tampon packaging for consumers. She presented regularly at SMCR conferences and served on the SMCR Board of Directors until her untimely death from breast cancer in the mid 1990s.

Mary Anna Friederich Service Award Dr. Mary Anna Friederich was secretary/treasurer of the Board for 26 years, from 1981-2007 and a founding mother of SMCR. After attending a St. Louis conference in 1978, she volunteered to serve on the original Steering Committee that followed this conference to form the Society. It was important for our Society to have Mary Anna’s support as a physician; she gave an interdisciplinary perspective on women’s health. This award is given to an individual who has made outstanding and unusual service contributions to the Society.


Conference Schedule


3:15-3:30 pm

SMCR Membership Meeting & Snacks

3:30-5:00 pm Rm 275 All Welcome! Come to contribute or simply to listen and learn more about SMCR.

Brown Bag Dinner and Discussion

5:30-7:00 pm Function Room, 1st Floor Where do we go from here? We’ll brainstorm and plan how to move the conference’s momentum forward in publication, activism, art, and other ways. Grab take out near by (see our Restaurant Guide for suggestions) sit at one of our topical tables [or create one of your own] to find concrete ways to keep the #MenstruationMatters momentum going.

Menstrual Poetry Open Mic and Raffle

7:00-9:00 pm

Function Room, 1st Floor

Hosted by Dominique Christina Showcase feature from Boston’s first slam team, The House Slam Raffle to support SMCR 2017 conference scholarships Join us for an evening of spoken word about menstrual realities: big, small, old and new. We welcome pieces about any dimension of our messy, wondrous and vexing bodies, our sexualities, genders, health and our feminisms. This event is friendly to everyone, especially those of us who have never participated in an Open Mic. Sponsored by Lunette

Event open to the public $5-20 suggested donation for those not registered for the conference

Hosted Dinners


Hungry but don’t want to eat alone? We’ve got you covered! Several SMCR Board members* have volunteered to host dinners on both Thursday and Friday evenings. We’ve paired the board members with local restaurants (all walking distance from the conference site). Everyone pays for their own dinner. The dinners are relaxed opportunities for conversation and a good meal. We’ve listed some possible topic areas where volunteered by the hosts, but don’t feel constrained by the topics—simply come for a shared meal over shared interests. Please sign up at our Registration Desk for a seat at one of the tables. Spaces are limited so don’t delay.


Meet in in the lobby of Suffolk University Law School at 7:00 pm • Heather Dillaway • Jane Ussher and Janette Perz • David Linton Possible topic: Reaching out to Men and Boys in Making Menstruation Matter


Meet in the lobby of Suffolk University Law School at 5:30 pm • Evelina Sterling • Jane Ussher and Janette Perz • Ingrid Johnston-Robledo and Joan C. Chrisler Possible topic: Publishing about Women’s Reproductive Health • Chris Hitchcock Possible topic: Science and Society; Working with Data • Lisa Leger Possible topic: Natural Approaches to Women’s Health. • Jax Gonzalez Possible topic: Student and Activist matters Consult our list of SMCR Board Members in this program to find out more about each of our dinner hosts.


Still around Sunday Morning? Room is Available on our Sunday Tour.

In Her Shoes: A Feminist History Walking Tour around Boston Sunday, June 7th 10:00 am-12:00 pm Meet outside the Suffolk University Law School at 10 am.

Local feminist historian Elizabeth Dake will lead a spirited exploration of the work and contributions of women in Boston in areas such as health and reproductive justice, education, science, and immigration over several centuries. Boston has a particular legacy of a convergence between academic, non-governmental organizations, municipal institutions, and grassroots communities. The women selected below represent the multifaceted nature of Bostonian society as well as the variety of fields in which women practice their feminism and affect social change. These sites are centered on the Boston Commons and downtown, similar to a traditional Boston history walking tour, although some locations are further out.

Open to the Public, so invite your local friends! If you pre-registered and prepaid, you will receive a ticket at conference registration. Please bring the ticket to hand to our tour guide. If you did not, you can pay our tour guide at the start of the tour. Cash only please. Cost: Sliding Scale: $5-10/per person. Pay what you can.


Come to a Bikes & Periods Party with

Thursday June 4, 2015 Make Shift Boston, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston 7:30pm ~Potluck! Bring a dish or $5*~ ~Cross-country cycling story share ~ ~Alternative menstruation raf e!~ RSVP: with what dish you are bringing *All proceeds go to Sustainable Cycles: spokeswomen who travel by bicycle and educate about reusables. Alternative transportation. Alternative menstruation.

This tour stop coincides with the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference, June 4-6 at Suffolk University.


Happy 10th Birthday, Chart Your Cycle and Adventures in Menstruating!

Come to a birthday party to celebrate 10 years of Chella Quint’s Chart Your Cycle, Adventures in Menstruating, and the power of zines! Peruse zines and create your own mini menstrual zine to share with the Mobile Menstrual Zine Library and Papercut Zine Library! Ten years ago, Chella dreamt up what she thought was the perfect idea for a 24 hour zine project – Chart Your Cycle! A Ten-Year Cycle Chart to Help You Go With the Flow. That zine spawned the Adventures in Menstruating series, which is still going strong, and Chella started a zine reading tour that summer which has never really ended. One of the first stops of the Chart Your Cycle Roadshow was at Boston’s own Papercut Zine Library in 2005! Each show brought new readers, new conversations, and new contributions to the zines, and connected menstrual activists across the globe. It’s through this zine that Chella met members of the SMCR and decided to do some research herself, turning the zine activism into school lesson plans, working with Jax Gonzalez of MARC to develop teaching resources about reusables, and sharing them widely through the #periodpositive project. All of that came about because of one little fanzine that turns ten this week. Come celebrate the power of zines and DIY activism with Chella and Jax, who hope to reconnect with some of the zine’s first readers and share stories, make some new #periodpositive pals, check out the Mobile Menstrual Zine Library, and make some new mini zines to share. Party guests will each receive a goody bag.

2015 Making Menstruation Matter Awardee


This year’s MMM Award will be awarded to Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS), a nonprofit, public interest organization most recently based in Cambridge, MA, USA, which develops and promotes evidence-based information on girls’ and women’s reproductive health and sexuality. OBOS’s landmark publication, Our Bodies, Ourselves, has sold millions of copies around the world and has been translated into more than two dozen languages. The 9th edition published by Simon & Schuster in 2011 — 40 years after the book’s initial publication — received critical acclaim, including being named one of the best consumer health books of that year by Library Journal. For more than 40 years, Our Bodies Ourselves (formerly the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective) has been committed to serving only in the public interest and remains one of the few health groups that does not accept funds from pharmaceutical companies. OBOS’s health information — in book format and online — meets international standards for health research. Working in collaboration with U.S. and global organizations, in more than 30 countries, OBOS vigorously advocates for women’s health by challenging institutions and systems that devalue women and prevent them from having full control over their bodies and their health. We honor this group for these efforts and in particular, their pioneering historic work around improving femcare product safety (through activism spearheaded by Esther Rome) and menstrual health and awareness more generally. There is no doubt, Our Bodies Ourselves Makes Menstruation Matter in enduringly profound ways.


Conference Attendees Ettamba Agborndip Amy Agigian Dipika Ailani Joy Lynn Alegarbees Diana Ă lvarez Shama Amalean Elaine Austin Jessica Barnack-Tavlaris Angela Barney Sara Baumann Dina Beauchamp Jess Beaulieu Allison Behringer Chris Bobel Gabriella Boros Helynna Brooke Tara Bruley Kate Carson Richard Cash Jane Cawthorne Kala Charlu Dawn Choi-Kolack Joan Chrisler Lacy Clark Susannah Clemence Gretchen Coffey Ilana Cohen Lisa Cosgrove Mary Costello Anna Dahlqvist Alice Dan Kevin Davis Catherine DeLorey Brittany Dhooge Heather Dillaway Brittany Downey Shayna Downey

49 Stephanie Dragoon Amy Dryden Ashley Eberhart Sandra Ekholm Mindy Erchull Breanne Fahs Placidina Fico Meredith Field Leigh Field Rachel Fikslin Elizabeth Franz Lori Frohwirth Sarah Fry Jennifer Gayles Stepha Geheran Ruby Gertz Saniya Lee Ghanoui Jakira Gibbs Lorraine Giordano Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch Suzy Gonzalez Lucy Gonzalez Jax Gonzalez Jennifer Gorman Lydia Grasso Emily Graves Naomi Marmon Grumet Heather Guidone Marie Hansen Katie Hasson Alex Hawkey Hannah Heckner Clara Hendricks Christine Hitchcock Kathy Hodge Rachel Horn Theresa Jackson Rita Jalali


Conference Attendees Dominique Johnson Ingrid Johnston-Robledo Cece Johnston-Robledo Sinu Joseph Diana Karczmarczyk Danielle Keiser Doris Kieser Elizabeth Kissling Amanda Klasing Kimberly Koerth Anna Krol Annie Lascoe Eunhye Lee Tory Leeming Lisa Leger Jen Lewis David Linton JoAnn Loulan Jeannie Ludlow Yoely Lugo Lucy Madeline Beverly Mademba M Venu Madhav Hailey Magee Yael Magen Phoebe Ching Ying Man Aida Manduley Maureen McHugh Ciara Mejia Michael Menchaca Sheryl E. Mendlinger Sadie Mohler E. D. (Elaine) Morin Mollie Morris Olive Mugalian Megan Mukuria Sharmila Murthy Anne Mutunda

51 Takia Myers Kathryn Nattress Kelly Nelson Lin Nien Tzu Natalie Norman Chelsea Norman Judy Norsigian Emma O’Brien Denise Orzo Roxanne Partridge Archana Patkar Janette Perz Shannon Peters Kyle Peterson Emilie Pichot Sharon Powell Chella Quint Ishwari Rajak Nancy Reame Cynthia Reddrick Heather Reid Gina Reiss-Wilchins Julie Richardson Iheme Richmond Kate Richmond Tomi-Ann Roberts Gabriela Roque Loretta Ross Ina Rosvall Corinne Rovetti Murat Sahin Rachel Saudek Rebecca Scharfstein Kimberley Schroder Saroj Schutt Giuliana Serena Rosie Sheba Lauren Singer


Conference Attendees Rebecca Singer Dhirendra Pratap Singh Noelle Skrobola Calum Smith Monique Springer Evelina Sterling Margaret Stubbs Herd铆s Sveinsd贸ttir Jacqueline Thomas Sadhvi Thukral Isis Tijaro Irina Todorova Lauren Towles Jane Ussher Vanessa Velasquez Iris Verstappen Jennifer Weigel Leeat Weinstock Jennifer Weiss-Wolf Laura Wershler Mariamne Whatley Sarah Whedon Deborah Wiles Sarah Wilson Emily Wilson Inga Winkler Nancy Worcester Erin Wright Arpan Yagnik Susan Yanow Crystal Zaragoza Cierra Zaslowe Sophie Zivku

Vendor Tables Be Prepared. Period USA Boston Doula Project USA Flowher: Designing a Tampon Around the Menstrual Cycle USA Dharti Mata sustainable workshop Nepal Diva International, Inc USA Eco Femme India Eden Center Israel Goonj Foundation, Not Just a Cloth Menstrual Pad India Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University USA IRISE International Uganda Menstrual Activist Research Collective USA Moontime Rising USA MITU Foundation India NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts USA Pasand India S L Powell Public Affairs Services USA STAINS ™ LEAK CHIC UK Suffolk University Book Store USA Taylor and Francis Publishers USA Natural Flow USA / India Thinx USA Dominique Christina USA ZanaAfrica Kenya UGER India Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council Transnational WASH United Transnational



SMCR Board of Directors

The Society is governed by an elected board of directors with staggered six-year terms. President, Ingrid Johnston-Robledo is Dean of Arts & Sciences at Castleton State College. Her research specialties include the Psychology of women’s embodiment, with particular emphasis on women’s attitudes toward their reproductive functions.

President-elect, Chris Bobel is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at University of Massachusetts-Boston. Her scholarship lies at the intersection of social movements, gender, health and embodiment, or how feminist thinking becomes feminist doing at the most intimate and immediate levels. Secretary, Laura Wershler is a veteran pro-choice sexual and reproductive health advocate, women’s health critic and writer who has worked for and volunteered with Planned-Parenthood-affiliated organizations in Canada since 1986.

Treasurer, Jenny Gorman is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Connecticut College. Her interests include experiences with and attitudes toward PMS, menarche, menstruation and menstrual suppression Joan C. Chrisler is a Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College. Her specialties include PMS, attitudes toward menstruation and menopause, sociocultural aspects of menstruation, and cognitive and behavioral changes across the menstrual cycle. She is also the founding editor of The Journal of Women’s Reproductive Health Heather Dillaway is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Wayne State University.

Mindy J. Erchull is a Social Psychologist who works as an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.

Breanne Fahs is an Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender studies at Arizona State University, where she specializes in studying women’s sexuality, critical embodiment studies, radical feminism, and political activism. She is also a clinical psychologist specializing in sexuality, couples work, and trauma recovery. Maureen McHugh is a Professor of Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she teaches Psychology of Women, Human Sexuality, Diversity Issues, and Social Psychology.

55 Christine Hitchcock is a research psychologist with interests in: risks and public discourse about extended oral contraception; normal menstrual cycle physiology; bone health; statistical analysis of Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs); progesterone therapy for hot flushes and night sweats; perimenopause; menopause. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, and is available as a research consultant.

Lisa Leger teaches the Justisse method of Fertility Awareness and is on the faculty at Justisse College.

Newsletter Editor, David Linton is a Professor Emeritus of Communication Arts (retired) at Marymount Manhattan College in New York.

Sheryl Mendlinger is with the Institute on Urban Health Research at Northeastern University.

Janette Perz is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Health Research at the University of Western Sydney. She researches in the field of reproductive and sexual health with a particular focus on gendered experiences, subjectivity, and identity.

Jerilynn C. Prior is a Professor of Endocrinology at the University of British Columbia and Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research ( Her expertise includes ovulation, perimenopause, progesterone and a feminist approach to women’s health.

Tomi-Ann Roberts is a Professor of Psychology at Colorado College. Evelina Weidman Sterling is a public health educator and researcher specializing in reproductive and women’s health issues.

Immediate Past President, Margaret L. (Peggy) Stubbs is a Professor of Psychology at Chatham University in Pittsburgh PA. Her specialties include psychosocial aspects of menstruation; attitudes towards menstruation, pubertal development; and menstrual education throughout the lifespan.

Jane Ussher is a Professor of Women’s Health Psychology at University of Western Sydney. She has been researching gendered health since she started her PhD in 1983. Her research focuses on examining gendered factors underlying mental health problems, subjectivity and identity in relation to the reproductive body and sexuality, and gendered issues in cancer and cancer care.


SMCR 2015 Conference Team


Amy Agigian Chris Bobel, SMCR President Elect

Local Team Clara Hendricks Sheryl Mendlinger

Jax Gonzalez

Advisory Committee Ingrid Johnston-Robledo, SMCR President

Toni Bond Leonard

Marlene Gerber Fried Annie Smith Megan White Mukuria

Program Committee Heather Dillaway, Co-Chair Janette Perz, Co-Chair Jane Ussher, Co-Chair Lorelle Metusela Danielle Turner

Widening the Cycle Art Show Jen Lewis, Curator Rob Lewis

Jennifer Weigel, Curatorial Assistant

Communications Team Angela Barney, Social Media Jax Gonzalez, Graphic Designer Elizabeth Kissling, Website Manager Laura Wershler, Media Relations Robin Yang, Social Media

Saniya Lee Ghanoui Kimberly Koerth Guiliana Serena Arpan Yagnik Crystal Zaragoza

With Invaluable Support From Kelly Renn, Raffle Coordinator Alison Tejeda, Associate Director of

Community Planning & Scheduling, Suffolk University Law School


Kelsey Bannon Dina Beauchamp Allison Behringer Whitney Bolduc Lacy Clark Gretchen Coffey

Brittany Dhooge Placidina Fico Stepha Geheran Lydia Grasso Najma Hussein Yoely Lugo

Mindy Erchull, Scholarships & Awards Chair Brittany Downey, Registration Manager Porsha Olayiwola, Open Mic Coordinator Catherine Delorey Toni Pragov Julie Richardson Annie Robinson Rebecca Scharfstein Vanessa Velasquez Takia Myers

STAINSTM Selfie Booth: Be a fashion forward brand ambassador!


STAINS™ is a spoof aspirational brand created and curated by Chella Quint. It is a line of bloodstain-themed fashions and accessories complete with adverts, spokesmodels, a fake CEO, brand identity guidelines, social media street team, and a ‘mockumentarian’, culminating in a merging of art, activism and science. STAINS™ critiques disposable menstrual product advertising’s lack of engagement with blood, except for when they use ‘leakage fear’ and words like ‘whisper’ and ‘discreet’ to shame consumers into seeking out their innovations.

The STAINS™ logo is a stylised bloodstain inspired by the silhouette of the prehistoric fertility sculpture, Venus of Willendorf. Supporters are encouraged to take their fashions to the streets, and reclaim the biggest period worry reported to education researchers by generations of young people. Conference attendees are invited to become brand ambassadors: view a history of leakage fear in advertising, browse photos from the spring fashion spreads, check out the Permanent Stains collection, modify your own clothes with the STAINS™ emblem, and take selfies to upload to the #periodpositive hashtag on Instagram and Twitter. STAINS™ first appeared in Adventures in Menstruating #5 in 2009, was introduced to the SMCR in Chella Quint’s student poster presentation at Making Menstruation Matter 2013, and was featured in the BLOOD exhibition at Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin 2014 - 2015. Find out more at

58 Endless Thanks Go to Our Conference Co-Sponsors

Loretta Ross Keynote Sponsor

Open Mic and Comedy Night Sponsor

Community Sponsors Boston Doula Project Eastern Massachusetts Abortion (EMA) Fund The Group on Reproductive Health and Rights Ibis Reproductive Health Menstrual Activist Research Collective National Network of Abortion Funds #PeriodPositive Sustainable Cycles

Corporate Sponsors Boston Beer Company Carrie Nation The Chubby Chickpea Cosi Café Hemshin Hubway

Market Basket Piperi Starbucks Trader Joe’s Tulip Toy Gallery Whole Foods Wollaston


Black Studies Program Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights Counseling, Health, and Wellness Department of Government New England School of Art and Design Office of Diversity Services Department of Sociology College of Arts & Sciences Office of the Dean Women and Gender Studies Program

Scholarship Sponsor Phyllis Mansfield

Academic Sponsors Brandeis University Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program University of Massachusetts Boston Department of Women’s & Gender Studies University of Massachusetts Boston Office of the Vice Provost for Research & Strategic Initiatives & Dean of Graduate Studies Wellesley College Department of Women’s & Gender Studies Hampshire College Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program

Widening the Cycle:

A Menstrual Cycle & Reproductive Justice Art Show

Room 245 | Room 255 | Room 265 | Function Room (1st Floor) Opening Reception: Thursday, June 4th 5:00 – 7:00 PM Artist Plenary: Friday, June 5th 12:30 – 1:45 PM

Beyond “Menstruation Bathroom”: Stimulating Social Change Through Visualizations of Gendered Blood