#KnowTheFlow: Gift-Wrapping Menstrual Equity for Valentine’s Day

Today is a day made up of many stuffed bears, candy hearts and bouquets of roses. No offense to all those romantic cliches, but everyone knows that buying items like boxes of chocolates isn’t a true measure of love. Buying a person a box of tampons, on the other hand? That’s when you know it’s real.

RACKET, an organization that aims to make as much noise about menstruation as possible in an attempt to end the taboo around periods, wants to shake up Valentine’s Day by encouraging us to love each other—flow and all. In time for the celebrations of romance (and friendship!) that come this time of year, RACKET debuted two short videos featuring Broadway stars that celebrate the people in our lives who #KnowTheFlow.

The central idea is simple: On Galentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day and every other day of the year, we should celebrate the women we love—flow and all.

Being aware of menstruation is not only essential to ending the stigma around it, but also in achieving menstruation equity—a term coined by feminist lawyer Jennifer Weiss-Wolf to describe the integration of menstrual and economic justice. As Weiss-Wolf says, “the inability to pay or manage menstruation should not hold anyone back from full societal participation.”

36 states still tax tampons and pads, making it difficult for menstruating people of low socioeconomic status to acquire them. This affects the individual’s agency over their body, their ability to attend school or work, and stigmatizes them from active and full societal participation. Organizations like RACKET want to change that by spreading the word.

So this Valentine’s Day, in addition to asking your lady lover to marry you or asking your gal pal which Netflix show she wants to binge next, try asking her about her period. Because if you care about gender equality, you (should) care about menstruation equity. And if you love her, you #KnowTheFlow!

Tiernan Hebron is a Los Angeles-based activist and writer and an Editorial Intern at Ms. Her work has appeared in LA Magazine, ATTN, Feministing, Galore, Tribe de Mama, LadyClever, Elite Daily and Adolescent. Tiernan is a sexual and reproductive rights peer educator for Amnesty International and manages digital communications for DIGDEEP and the Los Angeles Black Worker Center. You can find her being very opinionated on Instagram.

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