Hi!! I’m Lily Chu, and I am a rising sophomore at Wellesley College! I am incredibly excited to begin working with PERIOD this summer!
Why do you care about periods?
Since my first period, every cycle has been accompanied by painful cramps, mood swings, bad breakouts, and severe headaches. It’s a messy process as well, with blood stains on my clothing or bed sheets and leaks on the bathroom floor. And worst of all was that it took me months to figure out how to put a tampon in correctly. But none of the natural discomfort that came along with my periods was anywhere near as bad as the fear I had that someone might find out. The few times that I did let slip to a friend or acquaintance that I was on my period brought along comments like, “So that’s why you’ve been such a bitch lately”, or “That’s so gross, you should really keep things like that to yourself”. My period, a completely natural, human, and beautiful process, was enough to bring such horrible comments out of people I considered my friends. I felt like I had to hide my period from the world. Slip the tampon up my sleeve when I asked to be excused to the bathroom, wear dark pants so no one would ever notice if there was a leak, take a day off from school so my friends wouldn’t question my bad mood, etc. And the worst part is that it isn’t just me that has to experience this burden of keeping such a big part of my life a secret, but almost every single one of the people I’ve ever met who menstruates. I care about periods because I’m tired of having my feelings invalidated, my pain dismissed, my body seen with disgust, and my strength unacknowledged. I want us to start talking about periods. I want us to stop being so afraid of periods. And most of all, I want us to be empowered by our periods!
When was the moment you realized you were interested in becoming a part of the menstrual movement?
I’ve always had the privilege of having access to period products. Being able to have the necessary and sanitary means to ensure that my period went by with as much ease and safety as possible was something that I never thought about as a luxury. When Nadya, the founder of Period, came to Wellesley to speak about her experiences and her reasons for founding the organization, I learned that there was an unthinkable amount of menstruators who do not have the same access to period products as I do. That’s when I realized that these products should not be considered a luxury at all, but a necessity. The fact that the government views these products as luxuries and that these products are so inaccessible and expensive is completely absurd. Hearing about the thousands of women who don’t have the same privilege that I do made me want to create change. I believed that the best way I could help was to join the menstrual movement, and start getting others to realize that they, too, can create change.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time working with PERIOD, The Menstrual Movement?
In my time with PERIOD, I want to help spread awareness about the movement. The more both menstruators and non-menstruators begin to hear about the goals of the organization, the more we realize that our periods and our bodies matter. If one individual can share their period story and why they are proud of their periods to their community, others will be encouraged to step up and share their own stories as well. As we all begin to talk about periods and the topic becomes more welcomed into everyday discussion, then people will also start to realize how much change there needs to be surrounding the education and policies relating to periods. We have a long journey ahead of us to see the big changes we hope to accomplish, like abolishing the period tax, changing school curriculum surrounding menstruation, and making period products more accessible for everyone. I believe that one of the first steps towards accomplishing these goals is to get every talking about it.