After a week of tampon selfies and ovulation education for fraternity members, co-presidents of Planned Parenthood Club Alexis Morse (sophomore) and Chase McCain (junior) addressed an animated crowd Thursday night at the Period Party in Dumke Commons. In their presentation, they highlighted the importance of the celebration and the issues surrounding menstruation that the organization works to resolve.
“Menstruation is something that half of the world’s population goes through, but it’s still really taboo and not talked about,” McCain said. “That’s why we were really excited to bring in a population that in majority doesn’t menstruate to help with destigmatization.”
Entrance to the Period Party cost either a $5 student account charge or a box of tampons. All proceeds were sent to the Downtown Women’s Shelter. With about 30 students making a donation, Occidental’s first period party was met with keen interest and enthusiasm. The positivity created a festive and supportive atmosphere. The speakers received loud applause while afterward students laughed as they chatted and danced.
Planned Parenthood Club teamed up with the Phi Kappa Psi (Phi Psi) fraternity to host Thursday’s “Menstruation Celebration,” which was preceded by a week of quad sitting and community outreach and education. Phi Psi became involved with the event after a meeting held the previous week, in which representatives of the Planned Parenthood Club taught fraternity members about the menstrual cycle and addressed common misconceptions. The meeting, originally intended to last twenty minutes, went on for an hour, due to the unexpectedly large number of questions asked. Marcos Demetrio (senior), a Phi Psi member, said fraternities in general are often uneducated about menstruation because their members identify as men.
“I think that fraternities by nature are pretty white, heteronormative, and a lot of time we don’t think about what people who menstruate can be going through,” Demetrio said.
In addition to the destigmatization of periods, the event raised awareness about the significant environmental cost of menstrual product waste.
“Sustainability is really important, because it puts a new spin on intersectionality that I hadn’t thought of before,” Micol Garinkol (first year) said.
In order to encourage sustainability, DivaCups (a brand of reusable menstrual cups) were given as prizes to winners of the period jeopardy game, which was played all week during the club’s quad sit.
“Part of the reason that sustainability is the theme is that menstruation can be a very wasteful part of your life, especially if you’re using tampons and pads every month,” Morse said. “All of that stuff ends up in landfills, and it can be terrible for the earth. One of the ways to menstruate sustainably is to use menstrual cups. You can use them for ten years, and you can boil them to clean them.”
Throughout the period party, DJs played feminist songs like “Pretty Girl Rock” by Keri Hilson and “Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj while guests ate cake, ice cream and fondue from a chocolate fountain. Fantastiprov performed at the event and played comedic games involving audience participation. In one game, the actors were made to perform a scene and then repeat the bit with less time each go around. Pin the Fallopian tubes, a spin on pin the tail on the donkey, was also available for guests to play.
In the week leading up to the Period Party, Planned Parenthood club drew attention to the event through Facebook and through their quad table, which had a giant tampon that students could pose for pictures with. The large turnout sent a clear message: Periods are here to stay — and they are nothing to be ashamed of.