Saturday, December 1, 2007

Women's magic (Periods are NOT icky)

I heard a while back that a new source of stem cells could be menstrual fluid. Currently stem cells are being used to try to grow new organs and find treatments for diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Stem cells have typically been harvested from embryos, a morally questionable practice that yields cells capable of becoming virtually any kind of cell you can find in the human body. Menstrual blood also yields cells, dubbed endometrial stem cells, that have the same capabilities, according to researchers around the world.

Would you believe that I'm not surprised? Traditionally, in every culture around the world, menstruation has been seen as a mystery, with some kind of ceremony revolving around a girl's first period, or menarche. Women were seen as being very powerful, with menstrual blood regarded as magical and even dangerous to men. In "The Red Tent", by author Anita Diamant, there is a powerful scene where the women are accused of stealing their father's many household gods. When he finds out that the gods have been hidden in the straw the women sit upon during menstruation, he regards them as being defiled and does not pursue the matter further.

Wouldn't it be amazing if information, such as the stem cell breakthrough, got women to regard their periods as times of power instead of with disgust and dread?

I challenge women to start taking back their periods! Start by seeing if you can take a day to yourself each month when your period starts. If you can't use a day off at work, at least set aside a few hours. Try alternative products like a Diva Cup or cloth pads. When you empty your Diva Cup you can add water to the menstrual blood for a great way to give magic to your plants, instead of having it end up in the sewage system or in the landfill.

For more info, here are some great websites:

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