For Girlguiding UK’s ‘Action for Change’ scheme, 4 young period pioneers have launched a campaign called ‘Be Positive, Be You’ to tackle period stigma and encourage body positivity. Here, we caught up with the girls behind the campaign to find out more and get to the heart of why this is so important.
First things first, could you please tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you all know each other?
We’re a group of four girls aged 16-18 who live in Hampshire. Carys and Bethan are aged 16 and have a passion for public speaking, Megan (18) loves performing and musical theatre, and Ellie (18) is a gifted artist. We first met on Guide Camp a few years ago, where we bonded over our hatred of early mornings and being woken up by the clanging of saucepans! When given the opportunity, we all signed up for “Action for Change” which is a Girlguiding initiative that gives girls the know-how on how to start up a campaign and tackle an issue close to their hearts. We chose ending period stigma and body image.
What inspired you to start the campaign and what is it all about?
Action for Change (a programme run by Girlguiding UK) inspired us to kick-start the campaign, but we all always knew that we wanted to do our part to promote self-love and acceptance. In our society today, we all get too caught up in a whirlwind of expectations and this myth of “perfection” that threatens to knock so many of us down. We’re here to show everyone that you are beautiful, no matter what size, gender, ability, sexuality, ethnicity, etc, that you may be!
How do you feel period stigma impacts body confidence?
It impacts so much! It makes people feel that they should hide this away, conceal it, never talk about it. It’s a natural and, frankly, a beautiful process but instead we are taught to hate this process and, in turn, hate our bodies. Gone is the time where we should sneak into a bathroom with a towel or tampon up your sleeve! Our time is now.
Why do you think it’s important to talk more about periods?
They’re completely natural, and a beautiful part of us! It’s so important to talk about periods, that way we can remove the stigma and we can raise awareness of conditions such as endometriosis which strongly impact so many people. Periods are a part of life for women, but many people also don’t remember that women aren’t the only ones who have periods! By talking more openly, we can remove embarrassment and shame while raising the attendance of school pupils and helping people across the globe achieve their potential.
How does this campaign fit with what Girlguiding UK stands for?
It fits perfectly! Girlguiding has recently released a new scheme. One of the six main themes is “Know Myself” where girls look at what they love and look at building their confidence. This partnered with the theme of “Express Myself”, perfectly sums up our campaign as it encourages campaigning and activism in different ways. Girlguiding stands for showing every girl their beauty and showing them the beauty of working together and using our voice.
How can people support the campaign and what is coming next?
Simply keep updated with our campaign! Follow us on Instagram as “be_positive.be_you” and go like our “Be Positive, Be You” page on Facebook. By doing this, you will be the first people to be updated when our badges are available for sale for the general public and the challenge pack to go with it for Guiding groups. We’re also planning to run an event that we may need your help with… stay tuned!
Lastly, what are all of your go-to period essentials?
Organic sanitary items or reusables are always a great alternative and more sustainable option to traditional sanitary wear. Chocolate is essential, especially hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows! It gives you the sugar you need and acts as a great comforter. Bath bombs are also great, a hot bath is always a great way to relax and calm!