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tv   Anita Diamant Period. End of Sentence- A New Chapter in the Fight for...  CSPAN  November 27, 2021 5:28am-6:12am EST

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we we are at the end of our time i want everybody to look at these incredible books one more time but am so appreciative of all of you being here and sharing your perspective and your experiences as a writer and stories about being vulnerable and to have dialogue and it's something very special in needed at this time so thanks for each and every one of you for all the work you've contributed. it's really special so we appreciate that. >> think you again for having all of us. learning about these people's stories with their books, thank you. >> absolutely and everyone has such a unique perspective and these thoughts are going to provoke a lot of things in our reader so we appreciate that.
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>> good evening and thank you for entertaining us in engaging us during a time when many of us are so remote. you can pageant how excited i was getting a call test me to moderate this event. i'm going to say it louder the red tent the boston girl, good harbor. i was introduced to her nonfiction when she was writing which applied to what i think about is a columnist. she's a storyteller of real and imagined space and today we are talking about something very real. thank you so much for writing this book. >> it's a my pleasure to be here and great to talk to you in particular. the first line of this book i
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think it's a first line and maybe the last. the first thing that i think that happens when you read the red tent which so many of us did is -- and i wondered this book clearly comes from a lot of people talking about. and not thinking about how we experience it as a culture but did it surprise you after was so embraced that so many people take away what they really wanted to talk about. >> i thing people said to me i really wish i had a red tent but i'm not sure if they were talking about specifically a period. i think what they were talking about was having a place that was safe and quiet in to feel support and it would be great to take a break especially if you're somebody who had cramps and you get tired that time of month but i know the group,
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there are a lot of books named the red tent -- "the red tent." >> it's a foundational thing. >> it applies to most women. not all minster raiders are women. >> any were clear about the language applying to a different array of people. i want to talk about your own upbringing because reading this book you talk about international experiences and talking about what we are told about periods. did you grow up in a place where this was something you weren't allowed to talk about? >> i don't think my mother ever mentioned this to me. i have no memory of it. she was very uncomfortable about this. i don't remember much about it.
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i do remember buying my first which i did without my mother also. the only vivid memory i have about my period when i was young at 13 or 14 was i wanted to go swimming and all i had were pads and i really wanted to go swimming so a friend stood outside of me from the bathroom and handed me at and talked me through how to put it in which was not easy so that's my earliest memory and i have very few memories of talking about this. doing research for the book i had older sisters or circle of friends who were able to talk about this but when i was growing up it was not a conversation. most of my girlfriends at the time and i've talked to some of them since then because it's become a big topic of conversation read some of them their mothers would give them a
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booklet in leave it at that and they'd walk out of the room. obviously we are more forthcoming but it was something you had to figure out on your own and that still true in a lot of places in the united states and elsewhere that it's still not easy to talk about in a lot of communities and cultures. >> i want to talk more about that because i imagine your mission statement as you were writing it and your lovely colleague said i feel like my life is arranged round you are about to get your period and even he in a household of people who get their period are supposed to be talking about this all the time in reading this you do an incredible job of giving history and international context talking about different experiences and how race plays into it and i wondered how that
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statement and the book was going to be changed from start to finish. what did you set out to write and how did it evolve about the different ways we access this topic? >> i have to say i was invited to write this book "period. end of sentence" which is the name of the film but one that an academy award for short documentary -- document terry which started as a high school project in hollywood and a group of was helping to support a group in india and they learned about this attack machine that was not terribly expensive and donated to a community and the women in that committee made pads for themselves and open a microbusiness as well. it won an academy award.
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there padded box broke because they got so many curious and needy females and in the process of doing their pr in new york. they were looking for someone to do a hook connected to the story and they stumbled into my agent's office and she called and she said would you be interested in writing about this? i had watched the academy awards and i had jumped off the couch and i watched the film the next morning and i was very impressed with it so i said yeah i'd be interested. so we started talking with lisa burton the executive director of the pad project page is actually an english teacher and we decided to go forward. at the time, this was just before the pandemic and there was a conversation about
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traveling and the international view that wave that of course then covid happened and no traveling and as i started to collect information thanks to my google alert which continues to pour things in i realize to help douse the topic was and i was really overwhelmed. it took me several months to figure out -- i kept out trying to figure out how to organize it so was a big challenge because as you said it affects so many people in so many different ways and it is in fact end i understand the word intersectional because it's an intersectional issue. the place where race poverty and environmental concerns, water issues politics and incarceration all of these issues meet and for people who
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are the least powerful people the further down the list of powerful you are the more your period could be a catastrophe so after a long time with his giant salad of things i started to figure out ways to arrange them in each chapter so there's one about indigenous cultures where it was actually celebrated and there's a chapter which is booming. small tube billion-dollar industry the period business and education and religion so there were times i was really pulling my hair out. slowly i put things in different categories. >> for those who haven't read the book and i highly recommend when you buy the book at book
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shop.org or before you go to the store make sure its end before you go get it. you learn about the facets of the conversation and you learn about hopeful things along with this history of myths about periods that are meant to make women feel bad or. a culture change and a 43 old woman writing about all these young people and i left the book feeling quite optimistic. what was it like to speak to group of younger people who feel quite differently? >> i feel the same way. i learned a lot of heartbreaking and difficult stories in the language around is one of the most common terms as the curse and that sort of says it all,
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doesn't it? you can give birth and you can create life and you are cursed that the curse is shame. there's no shame to go around and it's been with us for millennia and at the same time young kids i mean junior high school young and high school young and college young are refusing to take on shame and they are just saying no and they are refusing to hide and they are refusing to do with their mothers did which was whisper about their period and the young people's movement which has been taken up by their mothers. they are leading grown women in this regard and i feel incredibly hopeful about it and they are also clever and smart and one of my favorite stories
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in the book is about a group in the midwest midwest of the junior high school. the girls went to the principal and the girls that i want to -- we want to have period products in the bathroom and he said no because people would abuse it. >> the girls baked cookies. add a splash of red frosting and a string at the end of them and they went viral and it mortified the principal and there are now period products in that after him. they call themselves the revolutionary girls baking club. this is a bunch of junior high school girls that i don't recognize you might time and there were high school students who are advocating for period products in our high school and the impact they are having is california recently passed a law
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that there should be period products in all schools from elementary through state colleges. that was unthinkable five years ago even and now the legislature also in massachusetts has a bill called the i ann: bill which includes funding for needed products in schools and homeless shelters. and incarcerated people. we are on the move here. we have a long way to go and it's very different in different countries but this is happening around the world. it's not just in high income countries. happening in africa and india and europe and south america and asia and australia and new zealand are way ahead and so are
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some other countries. >> with that my favorite was about work because i think about apec to get a shot at to julia because she gave me a -- it opens and it's been sitting in my desk for a decade and i thought it was a fun thing but it would be something i would like. it did became a place where if you are having your period you could go to the store and you could get one. we have a ceo who is a woman and 20 years ago i don't think i would have felt comfortable saying period in the hallway
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without a bunch of people turning around and saying do we have to talk about this? where do you think we stand in our culture which is a tough thing to imagine right now but where this thing is accepted and understood and not something to hide? >> we are at an inflection point. i feel like we are further along than in the 1970s when gloria steinem wrote, the essay about menstruation and she wrote if men mensturate in they would resist women being in military school because they be uncomfortable with the blood and there would be an national institute of dysmenorrhea. that was the wonderful book called the curse and in 1974 the
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authors essentially said we are starting to see real change. here we are 20 years later and i think we are now starting to see real change because there are women in positions of power who have to and have generations of women who aren't ashamed of themselves the same way we were taught to be ashamed of ourselves in the past so i think we are in the middle of an ongoing constantly rolling out sea change about women's bodies. the office culture is really interesting. michelle was who is just hysterically funny talks about how in the office women are constantly giving each other but nobody knows about it and she writes since i've been standing on the stage i've given away 10 and no one even knows it. the idea that you have a hide it and put it up your sleeve so nobody sees that we know will be
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there when you stand up to your desk and say does someone have a? we aren't there yet but some people are and the next time you hear somebody in your office do that alike all those going to go off in the heads of people of all genders. we can stop hiding and we can stop sneaking around and stop pretending it isn't happening and stop pretending half of the generation in your life has a period. >> for those of you who have not brought your inevitable question to the chat let us know what you think about it. please start doing it. when i do offense elsewhere -- are better. but one question i had for you
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i'm still thinking about a lot because the other day i had my period and i was in a different home and i got into the bed and i thought wow what a privilege to be able to do that, 20 minute nap in the advil kicked in. revisiting your topic in the book about leave and can you talk about that topic and it might be the one place where we all disagree about what this means. this idea that a woman can't be president and what if she gets her period and there is world war iii. clearly they are other people people that might do that and i'm just as capable when i have my period. this present debate so can you
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talk about it? >> the idea has been around for a long time and in japan it was instituted in world war ii but it was never actually enacted. in india recently in the past several years a member a male member of parliament suggested there should be a national policy and the blowback from women was very loud and very strong saying it's a terrible idea. this is an excuse to say women can't work in the workplace and they are less productive than they are a special case and so on and so forth and for other people when that happened when your business offers the opportunity for leave which can mean to stay home for half a day or at mean virtually working and
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it can mean a lot of things but it doesn't make you get five days off for 12 days ear for your period. some of the women for whom. include terrible migraines which is a real thing for a lot of women being able to take a day off for half a day off and it doesn't come out of your sick time or your personal days is a numb the norm is a boon to productivity and loyalty to the company. we all know minster raiders are very good at multitasking and we can do lots of things at the same time. it tents to be boomers and older and maybe some millennials who resisted completely because they see it as a potential landmine in the progress that when it made in the workplace and younger women are easier with the idea. they are supportive of it and i
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think that's a really interesting embrace. i think at the bottom of this is the idea that workers -- we are all different and we have different needs and different bodies and the idea that everyone has to be treated exactly the same way the same as people who don't have. for example is not healthy in the long run. the people who who have functioning is an need a half a day off in their places and jobs the world where the higher on the income ladder you go to impossible to take a day off. women without the products they need they spend their days -- and they can afford products and there's a store in a book about women in bangladesh and clothing
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factories making very expensive close to can't afford products and they are said porting their families and sometimes it's the only job they can get and they make do with -- from the shop floor and a lot of them have gotten sick with infections and then they get fired and then they lose the income to support their families and their non-profits working very hard with the industry to explain that having to clean bathrooms and providing period products through their benefits because people don't have to quit so it's not just we have to be able to talk about this. we have to start planning work to some extent taking this into consideration. it's not a special case when you
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are half of the population. it's not a special case just like having period products is not a luxury. when i talk to man particularly, i don't understand why you can't bring them yourselves and the edges are you carrying toilet paper with you? if you're not you expected to happen in the bathroom because it's not old luxury. it's a necessity. i don't see why people don't expect it to be in public bathrooms wherever they are. >> let's talk about men a little bit. when i think about and i'm speaking of this man who made and i'm choosing words so carefully colleagues and friends who are lovely people who don't ever want to have a think about people getting periods. it makes them uncomfortable, it's gross and it's a thing that
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starts in childhood but it doesn't go away. for some and all of these people who have periods making it easier to talk about. and the people who probably need to do some work are these men. i guess i'm wondering how do you change the culture of people who don't want any part of that culture because of their own shame? >> men grow for the most part without knowing any of this. it's shameful on some levels and it's not polite. there should be health education where people of all genders are all in the same room learning
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all the same thing and share the vocabulary so they can learn to speak to one another without being of a deal and just part of the health curriculum. you learn about the circulatory system and the reproductive system and you learn about having your period. also we need more samples of men behaving well and doing exactly what your people at work to who are willing to make jokes and are comfortable doing that. i'm amazed and in awe that you have this relationship. >> i know, it's incredible. guess it's a little funny but also you can just put it right on your desk. >> it's not mocking and it's not making fun but it makes sense. it's part of life and it's not convenient and women comedians
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have been making jokes about. for a long time. >> you have some great examples in your book of people who make comments that i had forgotten, men and women. stay please drop your questions in and clearly they aren't afraid to talk about periods. >> one question that we have is from lisa but i think there are many generational differences. i grew up after marlo thomas' free to be you and me came out. how have you incorporated those for the next generation? >> i think they are featured hugely in this book. they are the. warriors the girls who go to the principal and say we need products and if you'd dog get
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them i'm going to embarrass you. the story of girls and young people taking this on and refusing to be ashamed those are the daughters for the most part of this free to be you and me generation or the younger generation. we have a generation of really young leaders. we have greta, we have emma and the leaders who are also models of social change and i think the period project and there are lots of them and their startups and non-profits started by high school students. they are heavily featured in this book and they are my period-year-olds. >> you talked about twitter and when you look at younger people, i couldn't google have put in a.
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there's a lot they can find but they also share with each other
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very safe way to have a conversation and away you can ask questions that you may be afraid to ask your own parents or someone around you. some who got there. but they were dying they didn't have older sisters and they didn't have access to people that they felt comfortable talking to. he continues to happen. >> i'm encouraging to drop questions and but to put it in a historical scope was there anything that shocked you about anything that was particularly surprising? >> i have to say early on this was my pandemic project i'm very
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glad i had something to do. when the epidemic started in wuhan and the medical institutions were slammed in busy the women in those institutions doctors and nurses were getting hazmat suits and all kinds of protective gear but no products and when the women in the hospitals asked for them they were told to take care of it yourself. a women who read this on line and somebody posted probably a vase book read it in shanghai believe it was and she went on line and big collected a ton of materials and products and shifted to them in wuhan and embarrass the authorities enough that they had to start getting these women what they needed. they worked incredibly long hours and that's not okay. so to have this belittling of the fact that there are people in need to continue to do
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important and dangerous work and to take care of them? other administrators until they embarrass the authorities. this is not a luxury or responsibility. everybody needs to the paper and we expected to be supplied but. products, no. menstruators and people with the don't sneak around and take care of needs by themselves. >> when you talk about some own meals who fall on the side of, it would bring me in the workplace and not so much that i don't want people to considered all the same.
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in the same way when someone out of the country deals with the need for childcare of. >> exactly come it's more the same but every time a company or corporation institutes any kind of policy adds new. and it always raises the exact argument against and support from the other side so it's fairly rare and we will see what happens over the next few years. >> you talk about racism and bias in medical bias in the book which is a huge thing and it affects all women from my life at least 10 women of color are particularly affected. i don't know if anybody here experienced this but i got my
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period today i -- but there were a number of women in my life who looks. then it took a few months over the course of a passionate researcher who was starting research about what does this mean that i'd don't know if anything else would apply to this. i would get tax about it but it was all over the internet. and there's this danger about disinformation that it was bad or dangerous for your fertility and you wouldn't be able to get pregnant and if you are pregnant you shouldn't have that and people have been researching all over the world about this and so far from what i've seen and i'm not an expert here in my research continues there seems to be no evidence to link this
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to any kind of long-term effect and impact it may have had impact on your period and there was a lot of anxiety going on in the world. the immediate rush to turn this into a problem was there from day one. >> that was basically what i wanted to know. who's to say that these people who would never talk about. i want them to say. >> and has anybody asked tony fauci you know would just be good to drop in there the concern about menstruation and the fear of ruining your boot -- fertility to get the shot. this is not part of a longer
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conversation. it seems trivial compared to a stroke or a heart attack which is clearly not likely but it's not taken seriously as a health concern. menstruation is not taken seriously. there is no movement to see menstruation as a vital sign so they check your blood treasure and ask you by your energy level and they'll ask you about what about your periods and how's it going for you and how old were you when he got your period and are even paying? that's not generally part of an intake. it is a vital sign for people who meant straight and changes in it can mark other things and menstrual pain can be misunderstood and terrible consequences in some cases especially for people of color
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and there are still people in the medical world who believe that black people don't suffer pain as much as white people. there was a study done in medical school where 20% of medical students actually believe that. and women's pain in general you know you just up and you take advil in show up. b since this look has come in a world that so virtual, i'm sure all the makes you do is make people want to talk about it and whether some of the things you've heard from the community of readers? >> there is outrage and then there's a desire to do something. i can't tell you how my e-mails i've gotten from people all over
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the country especially people in tallahassee and savannah and in georgia and in florida who are starting organizations who are donating, it's like let's have a drive-in let's make sure kids in schools at the poverty level is high let's make sure they have what they need so a lot of it has evolved around that and i would tell people it needs to be more than just a charitable effort. we need to change policies and would need to put money into research on menstruation we need to make sure that people who really need products that need health care getting it especially people who are homeless, people who are incarcerated and refugees and people for whom everyday life is already a catastrophe and
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menstrua adds insult to injury. >> i will drop your questions and if you have them now and you've answered it at this question but there's a question of what we do next. there's talking to legislators about making it affordable and accessible but we talk about this to people in our lives and to be the person who stands up. >> that's a real personal thing. >> they are thing you can do is make sure you have period products in your own out there and and even if nobody ever touches it and everybody you know if past having that out
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that it's her mind or that it belongs out and also if you belonged -- at work you can ask your h.r. department where they are -- why there aren't any out there if you go to church or a synagogue do you have. that products. and if you own a business and if you ever restaurant are you go to the library after library and why they are a period products. you can raise the issue all over and all the time and normalizing the fact of life. i know they sound like little things but it's more than little things. maybe you run out of the bathroom and say hey what -- i went to the museum and they had period products in the ladies room i thought wow and this was
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way before thought about writing a book. somebody in that institution decided they should be out for everybody and they should be free. what if you don't have 50 cents or you don't have a quarter which happens a lot especially for people in school. >> it's been a while. it is very daunting at this guard of the pandemic when people are out of toilet paper. i was on a tampon product in 2020. >> you're the first person to get that to me. >> it's a expensive and especially there are so many different ways and they can be astronomically expensive and they can be environmentally safe
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and there is a country that donated. >> the environmental impact of all the plastic and the idea of reusable products menstrual cups and a whole world of new products and a few examples when i get to talk to a roomful of people younger women will say period is the only way to go. they are people for adopting other kinds of cloth pads that are washable and reusable. all of that stuff is out there. it's a brave new world of menstruation. >> i interviewed a podcast or a few years ago and she said i'm writing about the period and i said oh what period?
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i just want to say first of all to everyone here thank you for coming. it's -- buy this book if you haven't already and buy it for somebody who has a period but maybe buy for someone who doesn't have a period. it's also very fun read and there are incredible stories. i'm just so excited to have you here and to have this conversation and thank you for putting this event together. any last words for from une to about to let this experience has been like? do you've been talking about. for a very long time and i appreciate that you're in busy as them is not waned.
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>> i do get want up talking about this but i think it's important. i think it shouldn't be a secret anymore and i'm really happy to watch the changes going on around us all over the world and i'm getting e-mails from hawaii and from it to go and from ireland. we are a wired world and we are very lucky at this point to deal the share real information, real medical information and to laugh together at the nonsense that we have put up with for millennia and to get angry also at the injustice that is visited on us. >> thank you all for coming. >> good morning.

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