The menstrual taboo in Australia is less like one practice you can point to and more like a network of overlapping and intersecting discriminations and penalties: financial, social, cultural, sexual, physical, professional, and economic. Nothing exists in a vacuum, not menstruation, our personal feelings towards it, or the social order that produces meaning around it. All of this is constructed through complex processes of history, culture and the material realities of our bodies. The menstrual taboo reproduces and trades on deep and ancient fears of female sexuality and reproductive power, but there’s nothing past tense about how it oppresses women. What will it take to challenge and dismantle it? How can we approach menarche, menstruation and menopause differently to empower women and benefit all of society?

Speaker: Karen Pickering is a feminist organiser and writer who was the creator and host of Cherchez la Femme, a live talkshow of popular culture and current affairs from an unapologetically feminist angle, which ran monthly in Melbourne and toured nationally from 2010 to 2016.  She is the editor of Doing It, a collection of sex-positive writing by women, which was released in 2016 by the University of Queensland Press, and is currently writing a book on menstruation and menopause in collaboration with the Victorian Women’s Trust.

Date and time: Thursday 12 April, 6.30 – 8pm, The Alderman.