‘Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement’ by Nadya Okamoto [Book Review]

period power nadya okamoto simon and schuster
Image: Simon & Schuster

It’s already 2020, but period-shaming is still a thing.

In fact, in some communities, menstruation is still frowned upon that they continue to observe questionable practices that do nothing but put women’s lives in danger. Worse, these traditions are mostly baseless.

Let’s take chhaupadi for example. It’s a practice in Nepal wherein menstruating women are made to stay in menstrual huts or sheds. The goal is to isolate them in the belief that they are unclean because of their flow. This exposes women to risks like snake bites, physical assault, freezing temperature, and even suffocation caused by poor ventilation.

This is why we need more books like Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement. All these stigmas and misconceptions surrounding periods stem from people’s ignorance about the nature of menstruation. For us to put an end to these silly practices and all other negative norms associated with menstruation, we need to raise awareness of menstruation. This is what this book does.

In it, Okamoto begins with the story of her first-ever menstrual flow. She then proceeds to her story of how she got involved in the menstrual movement, including the foundation of the organization she’s been leading for years now. Her story is really inspiring.

In the following chapters, she talks about an array of topics related to menstruation. These include period stigma, period products, the history of period stigma in the US, period poverty, period policy, and menstruation in the media. Then, she ends with discussions on what can be done to contribute to the menstrual movement.

I really wish more menstruators around the world would be able to read this book.

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