I like Emma Barnett, I first heard of her from a Ted Talk she did called The secrets that snails can teach women about success. I have heard her on Eye of the Storm numerous times and think she is a, excuse the pun, bloody good interviewer. She also presents BBC Two’s Newsnight and hosts her own show The Emma Barnett show on BBC Radio 5live.
Period is her first book that goes through the history and everything to do with periods. Each chapter is named with blood at the end (Fresh Blood/ Holy Blood/ Bad Blood/ Classroom Blood) with lots of interviews and experiences both personal and from other people getting thrown into the mix. A variety of topics are explored from the companies profiting from periods to how some women that do not have periods would do anything to have one. Emma tells her story about endometriosis and her journey with IVF. A central theme of the book is all centred around why periods is such a taboo subject. It is something that naturally happens to the majority of women every month and so many women suffer in silence. Period pain can be agonising and it is embarrassing at times.
Emma is passionate about educating young girls about periods because lets be honest it is patchy at best. But also she wants to destigmitised periods and I am all for this. Emma herself was the first person to say that she was publicly menstruating on air. Which I don’t really find shocking.
Some highlights from the book for me include Emma discussing menstrual leave. Partly because I feel so conflicted about it. Menstrual leave came about when a Bristol based company called CoExist became the first in the country to offer menstrual leave meaning employees could take time around the office when they are on there menstrual cycles and work flexibly. One example Emma talks about how a woman sat on a plastic bag once on a business trip so she didn’t leak in her car.
Another highlight was a guy who decided to trial having a period for a day by attaching a machine squirting liquid out at any random time. There was also Jillian Welsh, a Canadian performer who nicked the bedsheets after having bloody sex and took them onto the NYC subway. Where the police were doing spot checks and she got picked out. She literally thought for a moment that she would rather get arrested rather than tell the police that the blood got there due to her being on her period.
Emma has certainly done her research and it shows. It isn’t a dry read at all it is very funny and should be mandatory reading in all secondary schools.
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