'Menstrual Equity Summit' held at Northeastern University
On January 28, a 'Menstrual Equity Summit' was held at Northeastern University in Massachusetts hosted by Mass NOW, 'a multi-issue, multi strategy feminist organization.'
'I want to invite us all to speak a different language. One that values menstruating in public, and I do mean that literally, if that works for you, but more importantly, figuratively,' one speaker said.
A video of the summit presentations was posted to YouTube on Feb. 3.
Presenters included Chris Bobel, a Women’s, Gender & Sexuality studies professor at UMass Boston, Cicilia Villero, who goes by the moniker “Goddess Cecilia,” and Naomi Westwater, a “queer, Black-multiracial singer-songwriter and producer.”
”Goddess Cecilia” describes herself on her website as a “Filipina Pleasure Educator, Advocate & Consultant who believes that even though 95% of the ocean remains unexplored, your pleasure doesn’t have to be.”
Bobel kicked off the summit by giving a presentation on why “more effective menstrual concealment does not fight stigma, it accommodates it.”
Bobel insisted, “I want to invite us all to speak a different language. One that values menstruating in public, and I do mean that literally, if that works for you, but more importantly, figuratively.”
“I want us to bring forth a bloody, messy, embodied version of menstruation so that the roots of menstrual stigma can be made visible,” she continued.
Comparing the “accommodation” of the stigma to other social movements, Bobel asked the audience to “imagine if the health at every size movement, instead of focusing on fatphobia, began promoting weight watchers. Imagine if the Black Lives Matter movement, rather than focusing on police reform and even abolition, held workshops to train people of color to politely interact with the police.”
Speaking to Campus Reform, Bobel said, “I am neither advocating nor discouraging free bleeding. The change I promote is movement toward self-determination… I use ‘menstruating in public’ symbolically, actually. The message here is one of challenging menstrual stigma.”
After Bobel’s presentation, Westwater put on a musical performance. Westwater and her bassist sat on red, globular cushions during their performance, though what they were singing could not be heard from the broken audio.
All parties were contacted for comment by Campus Reform. This article will be updated accordingly.