The manager of the “personal care items” section of one of the major grocery store chains we deal with is more than happy to talk about pads, tampons, liners, and all things period care. And he does it on a level most women couldn’t. He has a deep understanding of the products on his shelves, which sell best, how much, and how often he needs to re-order. You know why, right?
The sale of period products is how he and his bosses make money. And so it is his job to know the business… intimately. There’s no shame when we speak. No embarrassment. In fact, he appreciates when we enlighten him on which products are requested most at shelters and food pantries. He genuinely wants to understand distribution.
That’s not to suggest he wouldn’t care otherwise. Quite the opposite, in fact. Working with our organization has likely made him more sensitive to the needs of those who get periods and those who may help support them. But the underlying business is what has allowed for the conversation and the learning in the first place.
Tyler Donohue writes about that topic in this great article on Medium.
In order to achieve any sort of societal shift, there must be an effort to raise consciousness first and foremost. Nothing has ever changed without people understanding their personal and political stake in the matter. It is critical to engage men and boys on issues related to menstruation early on.
Our experience tells us that men, even those who seem embarrassed, generally are interested in learning about periods. It is our cultural belief that the topic should be secret, that ultimately is a huge disservice to those doing the whispering. Speak up.