This MMU student has started an organisation to end period poverty
‘Don’t Cramp My Style’ was first launched as part of a uni project
An MMU student created the organisation DCMS (Don’t Cramp My Style), in 2019 with the goal of ending period poverty.
Freya Slack is in her third year studying Interactive Arts at Manchester School of Arts. So far she has written a book about periods, held two DCMS events, received funding from The Whitworth Young Contemporaries and recently she set up a fundraiser which is attempting to raise £250 to buy organic period products which will be donated to The Pankhurst Trust.
Freya has told The Manchester Tab it is her belief ‘the core of the period problem is the taboo which is caused by the lack of education.’
Freya wrote the book, titled Don’t Cramp My Style, which is all about periods, with the intention of it going into as many public bathrooms as possible. She felt inspired to do so as a result of the lack of teaching in schools about periods.
Freya explained to The Manchester Tab that it covers what a period is, how hormones work, what to do if you miss your periods, transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming and their periods, periods and the environment and much more.
She has been placing the books in places that ‘educate people outside of the classroom like museums and youth centres,’ ‘there are different ways to educate people about their health, it doesn’t have to be in a GP room or in a classroom.’
The books are ‘riso printed’ which is a ‘cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to print, using a soy based ink and very little energy,’ Freya explained.
As was also noted by Freya, ‘placing these booklets in galleries and museums has the added benefit of making the art world more accessible too.’
‘I held the first DCMS event back in January 2019 and the second in October 2019 – the idea was all about having face to face discussions about periods,’ Freya told The Manchester Tab.
‘It’s great we’re using social media to talk about periods however to break taboos, conversations need to happen face to face,’ ‘what DCMS is offering at these events is a platform to share with others. There are no platforms out there that openly allow people to discuss periods in a face to face way.’
It is Freya’s belief that art is a great way to communicate to people; ‘whether you’re arty or not there is something at these events that you can relate to/learn from. Theres stand up comedy, monologues, poetry. I once had somebody paint with their period blood.’
Funding from The Whitworth Young Contemporaries:
In the summer of 2019, DCMS received funding from The Whitworth Young Contemporaries. One of the aims of The Whitworth Young Contemporaries is to support young people who are expanding their projects and who support communities.
The funding was used to print a further 400 copies of the book and to host the second event in October 2019.
A further 40 copies of the book were then printed later in the year which were supposed to be displayed in The Vagina Museum in London. Unfortunately due to closure as a result of Covid-19, this has not yet happened although Freya is ‘hopeful’ that after lockdown ends, she’ll ‘see them handed out at the museum.’
Freya explained that thanks to a previous fundraiser held by DCMS ‘which was donated with some food collected in my block of flats to the Sheik Nazim Helping Hands organisation based at The Manchester Pankhurst Trust,’ she ‘had a TONE of pads left over.’
In her Facebook post, Freya explains that ‘periods don’t stop for pandemics,’ and that ‘as more communities practice social distancing, it is becoming more difficult to provide pads and tampons to those most vulnerable.’
She also notes: ‘the use of organic pads and tampons lessens the chances of allergic reactions and irritation so people can menstruate safely. It is also a much better option for the environment as organic pads and tampons use 71% less water and 62% less energy to produce (*figures from Nannocare).’
On top of this, she states that ‘we will be buying these organic period products from Hey Girls UK who have said that they will give us a match donation so if we buy £250 worth of period products, they will match this buy donating £250 worth of period products.’