A Period Through Time

A Period Through Time

A Period Through Time

by Montanna Macdonald

Warning: We are about to discuss the topic of women’s monthly business. MENSTRUATION. 

Have you ever wondered while you struggle with a pad wedgie, trying to find the string, or trying to conceal the string while you swim, have periods always been this bloody hard? 

The design of sanitary period items are made to conceal, because, as we have learnt from women before us, we want to cover up that we have our period discreetly, we don’t want everyone knowing our uterine wall is shedding 

 

“Oh, hello Montanna, how are you?” 

 

“I’m just wonderful, James, you?” 

 

“Oh well I’m just jolly, but I can see your period is quite heavy today, you’ve left a trail behind you on the floor, have you thought about seeing your GP about your flow?”

 

“Yes James, my insides are shedding and falling out, preparing me for reproduction, thanks for the observation, I would very much like to see you slip in it now.” 

 

Although it would be quite refreshing to see James slip over, the thought of having my period on show makes my eye twitch. The most horrifying and embarrassing stories have sprung a leak between women folk- most of us know one. 

This brings on some questions to ponder, is it ok for social structures and culture to want women to conceal a natural part of life? Is this a learnt behaviour, a survival method? Or if we could rewrite history, would this be different today?

Without drifting too far into the psychological constructs of periods, have women have always had to put up with annoying period tools?

The toolbox we use now wrapped in plastic and cotton has not always been like this. Let’s break down the most critical periods of time, period. 

Firstly, either women bled freely all over their clothes in ancient times, had so many babies they barely had a period or men who have written history have refused recording menstruation. Over 4,000 years of historical recordings, even from Rome barely mention how women dealt with periods. There was a taboo about menstruation being “unholy” “unclean” and a “curse”, where Jewish Orhtodox women had to be separated from society under the laws of Niddah for fear of contaminating men or objects.

Some of the earliest recordings of women’s menstruation hygiene tools date back to Ancient Greece in the 10th Century when a woman was said to have thrown a menstrual rag at a man to be-rid of him. If I threw a used pad at a bloke today, I would probably get the same reaction. Not much has changed. Body fluids being thrown at a person is pretty gross?

We need to take a moment to appreciate the very mystical? beliefs of women’s periods in Ancient Egypt and Greece. In Egypt, it was considered sorcery and was used as a liquid in practised magic, and in Greece, period blood was spread with wine across harvest fields to increase soil fertility. Then it became Voldermort-like the unspoken. 

In Ancient Egypt, women used papyrus that they softened in the sewage-filled Nile river to use as a tampon.

In Greece, they used splinters of wood wrapped with cotton lint, and in Rome, they used wool. In other parts of the world, moss, paper, animal skin and grass were used. All options sound nasty. Vaginal health – well you can only imagine, no Femme Fresh to be found. 

It wasn’t really until the 20th Century (which baffles me) that women’s sanitary products became a known thing, and even then they were questionable. Most women made home cotton cloths and rags like baby nappies that were pinned onto their underwear or harnessed on with a DIY muslin belt. 

Source: https://owlcation.com/humanities/Overview-of-menstrual-pads

 

So when the first commercially advertised sanitary product came out in America in 1896 by Johnson & Johnson called the Lister Sanitary Towel (a cotton pad) tied to a belt, you would think that women would be excited about this? Well they weren’t, the thought of even going into a store and purchasing a product in front of others with the word “sanitary” on it was not the done thing. 

Source: https://www.maximhy.com/blog/2014/03/05/a-brief-history-of-pads-and-tampons/

From here followed a whirlwind of exciting period inventions with clips, buckles, belts, flaps, slings, fasteners, you name it. It sounds like an erotic novel gone wrong.

In World War I French nurses started using cellulose bandages used on bullet wounds in the war as pads. This inspired the revolutionary Roaring Twenties pad, Kotex. The first disposable pad on the market that had to be worn with a belt, but to avoid ’embarrassment’ of saying menstruation or sanitary to store staff, you could buy your Kotex and discreetly leave your money in a Kotex box on the counter. A  bandage for that monthly wound. 

Source: http://wordsofchoice.blogspot.com/2019/06/resources-comeback-of-period-and-only.html

In 1927 Johnson & Johnson tried again, with this time removing the word sanitary from its pads and calling them “Modess” which became a Kotex rival.

Source: https://owlcation.com/humanities/Overview-of-menstrual-pads 

Dr Earle Haas in 1929 patented the first ‘tampon applicator’ called a catamenial device…he changed this to Tampax. The company was bought off Gertrude Tendrich in 1936 which saw the tampon grow in popularity. 

Source: http://www.mum.org/Tampaxpatent.htm 

One new bulky belt pad with blue liquid and tampons led to another, nothing surprising. 

Now let this sink in, the same year Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969, marked the world’s first adhesive-strip pad (Stayfree Mini) without a bloody belt. One big step for mankind, and one big step for women’s health that should’ve already happened? 

Source: https://owlcation.com/humanities/Overview-of-menstrual-pads

Bless us for not having to wear a sanitary belt ever again, with even the options of menstrual cups and menstrual underwear. 

Keeping in mind that tampons, pads and other sanitary items along with their packaging generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, with 90% of pads being made out of plastic. Furthermore, a year’s worth of disposable period products leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3kgs CO2 equivalent. 

Problems with tampon strings and pad wedgies are nothing compared to the bigger picture. Even though we have transgressed from period magic, putting wood and grass up our vaginas to plastic disposable sanitary items, we have a long way to go. 

I wonder what our period toolbox will look like in another decade?

 

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The Top 3 Australian Tech Whiz Chics To Watch

The Top 3 Australian Tech Whiz Chics To Watch

The Top 3 Australian Tech Whiz Chics To Watch

Words by Montanna Macdonald

You may be familiar with Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. But have we all heard about Marita Cheng, Cyan Ta’eed and Melanie Perkins? 

These three women are Aussie gals slaying the game in the tech world. With bright, innovative futures ahead of them, today we will ponder, support and celebrate these awesome chicks doing beautiful high-tech things. 

Marita Cheng 

  • Did a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the University of Melbourne;

  • Designed a company that provided messages on phones to help manage drug prescription schedules, winning the best undergraduate business at the University of Melbourne. 

  • Partnering with fellow engineering science students, Cheng Founded Robogals in 2008 while studying. Robogals is now an international student-run organisation empowering women to study engineering, providing workshops, robotics competitions and exhibitions. Robogals is sponsored by the likes of Australia’s Department of Defence, Telstra and Modern Teaching Aids. 

  • On Forbes 2018 Worlds Top 50 Women in Tech. 

  • Founder and CEO of Aubot, the start-up robotics company, designing robots for people to log into from anywhere in the world where their robot needs to be. For example, for children with cancer who need to attend school and disabled people to attend work. 

  • Google-funded Cheng to study at Singularity University, where she Co-Founded the app Aipoly in 2016, assisting blind people by helping them recognise objects using their smartphone.  
  • Has done two TEDx talks, and so much more! 

Melanie Perkins 

  • A Perth girl, Melanie studied Communications, Psychology and Commerce at the University of Western Australia. Perkins left university to create her first company, Fusion Books. 

  • Fusion Books is an online design software made to create and print professional-quality yearbooks. This led to Perkins next big ‘Unicorn’ that would take over the world, Canva. 

  • CEO and co-founder of Canva, the online publishing tool for graphic design, saying goodbye to InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. 

  • Melanie is one of the world’s youngest CEO’s leading a tech start-up like Canva, that is valued at over two billion dollars. 

  • Melanie fought for investors in Canva, with some of the first being Hollywood celebrities Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson. 

  • Canva is used by millions of people worldwide in over 150 countries, and all started with her first business, Fusion Books, in her mum’s lounge room. 

Cyan Ta’eed 

  • Creative Melbourne girl Cyan Ta’eed co-founded the tech giant Envato in 2006 with her husband at 26 years old from her parent’s garage

  • Envato is essentially an online marketplace where you can buy and sell creative digital content and designs like graphics, stock videos, music, templates website themes and more. Envato now has millions of users worldwide. 

  • Envato is the 88th most trafficked website in the world (according to Alexa), and over 48 sellers on Envato have earned over $1 million. 

  • Envato’s revenue was 16 per cent to $134 million in 2017-18, with both Cyan and her husband Collis making the fourth place in the Financial Reviews “Young Rich List”, agreeing to be on this list solely to make women entrepreneurs more visible. 

  • The “tech titan” also founded the new innovative Instagram website-building app Milkshake, and Hey Tiger, an ethical and incredibly delicious chocolate brand.  

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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Roald Dahl

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Roald Dahl

10 Things You Didn't Know About Roald Dahl

by Ponderings Radio

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Roald Dahl

We all know Roald Dahl, the prolific author, and a true ponderer of childhood imagination. 

Whether it be befriending a giant, turning into a blueberry, escaping witches, living in a peach or using telekinesis to make objects dance, Dahl created a marvellous timeless world transpiring from paper, and tv screens, to hearts. 

What was your favourite Roald Dahl novel? I’m indecisive, trying to decide between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda is not an easy gig. 

Maybe you can instantly think of your favourite? There are plenty to choose from; Dahl wrote 49 of them! This includes children’s novels, poetry and even contemporary adult fiction like the ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ found in his previous works Kiss Kiss and someone like you…didn’t know that, did you? 

The Times names Dahl as one of the “50 Greatest British writers since 1945”, and this is an understatement in my belief, I think he should be number one British writer of all time. Not everyone can write a story about turning your cranky grandma into a giant using homemade medicine, then shrinking her until she disappears and bringing joy to the family that she’s gone. True art. 

A mind like this must come from someone with an exciting life, so, let’s ponder on the ten things you didn’t know about Dahl’s life. 

  1. Roald Dahl wrote movie screenplays! 

Dahl is not just your average joe blow author, he also wrote screenplays for movies like ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, and the James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’. Not only did he write screenplays, but he had excellent TV success with his stories, such as being featured for a six-episode season on the award-winning US series ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ for ‘Tales of The Unexpected’. Watch below one of the famous episodes, ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, which aired on April 13 1958.

2. Roald Dahl was a World War II air force pilot, and an MI6 Spy! 

Dahl enlisted in the Royal Airforce at 23 years old, and in September 1940 he received severe injuries after his Gladiator plane crash-landed in the Western Desert. He later took part in the Battle of Athens, and then was sent to Washington to become an MI6 spy. What is even more fascinating, is when providing intelligence for MI6, Dahl worked along with partner Ian Fleming (aka, 007 creator), and both of them used their spy experiences to help Fleming create the James Bond 007 series! 

And for some comical adult themes, well here’s a little insight into possibly what Dahl was up to as a spy… 

 

3. Roald Dahl has a history of women. 

Roald Dahl was a ladies man, a tall, handsome spy, who loved children and could write, I mean, you can’t blame him. But, Roald did settle down, he married Oscar-nominated Hollywood actress Patricia Neal in 1953, and they were married for 17 years, and had five children. Neal found out about an on-going affair Dahl was having with her friend Felicity Crosland who she invited to their abode in Great Missenden, and the rest is history. Dahl and Neal divorced in 1983, and later Neal termed Dahl “Roald Dahl the rotten”. Dahl then went on to marry Felicity Crosland in 1983, the same year he got divorced from Neal! Ouch. Dahl remained married to Felicity until his death in 1991. 

4. Roald Dahl has an interesting family tree, with both fame and tragedy. 

In tragic circumstances, Dahl at a young age lost both his sister and father to illness. His sister Astri Dahl died of appendicitis, and his father Harald Dahl died of pneumonia. Later in life, Dahl’s first daughter Olivia died at age seven from measles, and his son Theo was severely brain damaged at four months old when his pram was hit by a taxi, resulting in built-up fluid in his cranial cavity. Also, his first-wife Patricia suffered from three burst aneurysms and strokes when pregnant with their fifth child Lucy. On a positive note, Dahl’s daughter Tessa Dahl grew up to be a wonderful actor, and her daughter Sophie Dahl is now a famous model, designer and author.  

5. Dahl helped pioneer a new medical treatment to help his son and children around the world. 

Roald Dahl worked with Stanley Wade, a toymaker, and Kenneth Till, paediatric neurosurgeon, to create the Dahl-Wade-Till valve, which was a cerebral shunt to drain fluid from his son’s brain and prevent blockages. This valve helped his son Theo and over 3,000 other children around the world with hydrocephalus.  

6. Dahl helped save Patricia Neal’s life. 

When Patricia Neal suffered from three burst cerebral aneurysms in 1965 when pregnant with her daughter Lucy, Neal was left blind, unable to talk and walk. Roald Dahl would not let this ruin Neal’s life and put her on a hardcore routine back into health. As a result, Neal learned to walk again, talk again, and with so much success, she got back into acting and received an Oscar nomination in 1969 as the best actress in a leading role for film ‘The Subject Was Roses’. 

7. Cadbury inspired Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory! 

Roald Dahl as a child went to Repton Public School, and while there the Cadbury chocolate factory nearby would let the students taste test samples. With an avid love for chocolate, Dahl’s experiences as a child led to the creation of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Also, Dahl’s postman’s name was Willy Wonka. 

8. Roald Dahl has a Marvellous Children’s Charity. 

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity (previously the Roald Dahl Foundation) was created in his honour by his wife Felicity after his death in 1991. The charity helps over 21,000 seriously ill children and their families at any one time around the UK. Each year, the Dahl family gift 5% of Roald Dahl’s worldwide royalties from his work to the charity, equalling around $850,000 donated each year. 

9. This may not come as a surprise, but Roald Dahl was a prankster. 

Dahl’s 1984 memoir ‘Boy: Tales of Childhood,’ reflects on all sorts of devious things Dahl got up to as a child, including the great mouse plot where he and his friends put a dead mouse in a gobstopper jar in cranky Mrs Pratchett’s lolly shop. He also put goat poop in his “ancient” sister’s fiancé’s smoking pipe. 

10. Matilda was a devil child and Ms Honey was a gambling addict. 

In the early original drafts of Matilda, Matilda Wormwood was a “wicked child” causing havoc at school and helped her teacher Ms Honey out of a financial pickle by ‘fixing’ a horse race. Roald Dahl admitted in 1988 in an interview that after writing several chapters, he decided he got it all wrong and re-wrote it. Matilda was the last children’s novel Dahl wrote before his death in 1990. 

Oh, and I wouldn’t be a true Dahl fan if I didn’t play tricks on the readers…here is an eleventh fun fact for you.

11. Roald Dahl was a real-life BFG; he was six-foot-six!

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Why We Love Jane

Why We Love Jane

Why We Love Jane

Words by Jasmin Pedretti

Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda embodies the fight for justice and comedic brilliance. She’s intellectual, beautiful and uses her platform to make change using action over rhetoric. 

The most recent example is her protest against climate change. While some celebs tweet a pic of melting ice, Jane gets arrested every Friday for taking direct action with the group Oil Change International outside the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. 

Jane has been drenched in controversy, but no buckets of derision can wash away her shine. She is all about celebrating women, so let’s return the favour. Here are five reasons to love Jane Fonda. 

ONE: Risked her life to protest the Vietnam war. Jane’s voice wasn’t loud enough, so she packed her bags and went to North Vietnam herself to meet the people her country was fighting. Although the problematic anti-aircraft- gun photo often overshadows her bravery, her message was clear: “If they told you the truth, of what your targets really are,” she said, “you wouldn’t fight, you wouldn’t kill. You were not born and brought up by your mothers to be killers. We must all try very, very hard to remain human beings.” Yas kween! 

TWO Was pro-gay rights when it was taboo. Jane didn’t just protest what was popular at the time. She believed in fighting for equality for all people. This interview from 79′ perfectly encapsulates her awesomeness and how she can articulate her opinion calmly in the face of someone trying to patronize the cause. 

THREE Walks the feminist walk, not just the talk. Jane writes a letter about her convoluted journey from advocating the theory but not “living it” internally, to becoming an embodied feminist. Her journey meant leaving her third husband, and “becoming the subject of her own life”. 

FOUR Fights for women’s rights. 

Earlier this year she pressed lawmakers to expand protections for women domestic workers and farm workers. She starred in the Vagina Monologues, cofounded Women’s Media Center and vocally advocated women’s reproductive rights and a movement to end domestic violence. She also made the movie 9 to 5 for working women everywhere, long before the Me Too movement. 

FIVE 82 years old but does whatever the heck she wants. The average 80-year-old lives a quiet, modest life. Not our Jane. She breaks all the “rules” that say older women need to cover up and dress their age. She goes all out in sequins and figure-flattering gowns. She isn’t shy about sex either, even revealing her top sex tips for young women. I mean if you’ve been at it for decades you’re bound to know a thing or two.

Talk about a good role model! Jane is an inspiration to make a practical difference, while also lighting up the screen with her wit and spunk. I can’t get enough. Jane, if you’re reading, between getting arrested and filming Hollywood blockbusters, if you have any spare time for a coffee, hit me up! 

 

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Loneliness The Lone Journey Forward

Loneliness The Lone Journey Forward

Loneliness The Lone Journey Forward Audio Version

by Ponderings Radio

Loneliness The Lone Journey Forward

Words by Montanna Macdonald

The term loneliness is quite often thrown around in daily thought; we have all been there. 

Sometimes you find yourself in a moment of reflection, maybe between your busy schedule or no schedule at all, wishing you had a background ambience, someone to talk to. You may find yourself using a quick fix by turning on the T.V, writing in your journal, playing a podcast or phoning a friend. 

These are all coping strategies we use when we feel alone, but it’s important to point out the difference between feeling alone and loneliness.

Many people enjoy their own company, and moments of solitude can be an important part of our routine. But a disconnection from others and a lack of positive social interaction can have disastrous consequences. 

Loneliness is a normal occurrence that can happen for anyone, but it is more than just turning on some background noise, and you’ll be fine. Loneliness is a mental and physical state that new research shows can lead to concerning health risks. 

Psychology and Neuroscience Professor at Brigham Young University, Julianne Holt-Lunstad believes we are facing a “loneliness epidemic”

Holt-Lunstad academic journal “Advancing social connection as a public health priority in the United States”, provides research indicating that isolation and feeling alone links to an increased risk of premature mortality and a range of disease morbidities. 

Mental illness, as a result of isolation, such as depression, is not a surprising factor of loneliness. Still, the fact that being alone can result in mortality risk is a significant concern.

Individuals relationships and social interactions should be a crucial indicator of determining one’s state of health and wellbeing. Yet loneliness is often looked over, and not spoken about. 

Holt-Lunstads research journal states that the health care system has been “slow to recognise human social relationships as either a health determinant or health risk marker in a manner that is comparable to that of other public health priorities”. 

According to Lifeline, there are common causes of feeling lonely and isolated, such as losing a loved one, lack of close family ties, fear of rejection and lack of purpose or meaning in life. Furthermore, loneliness can result in sleeping problems, lack of energy, diet problems, mental and physical health risks and increased vulnerability to substance use. 

Loneliness spans across all ages of life, but more commonly found in young adults aged 15-25, and elderly aged 75 and above. 

In 2015, a Vic Health survey found that one in eight young people ages 16-25 reported a very high intensity of loneliness. 

Manager of Mental Wellbeing at VicHealth Irene Verins, states “the most effective way to reduce loneliness is to make people feel connected to their community”. 

You must have a support system in place, a tribe of people, to help you combat loneliness. 

If someone you know comes to you in person or online and shows signs of feeling alone, don’t overlook this comment. Make sure you ask if they are OK, and make yourself available for support if you are comfortable to do so, or suggest they connect with family, friends or their doctor. 

And, if you are the one feeling alone, do NOT shy away from reaching out. Sometimes even the most successful, busy and happy people are the most alone. You never know, the person you may reach out to may be feeling the same way as you. 

There are a range of free tools and online programs Vic Health recommend for those who wish to help someone who shows signs of loneliness. 

If there is any way a part I can play in helping tackle loneliness, here is a list of great podcasts to help cope with moments of solitude.

Oprah’s Masterclass: The Podcast 

The Hamish and Andy Show 

Shameless Podcast 

No Filter with Mia Freedman 

Crappy to Happy 

Home Truths 

Mentally Yours 

Table Manners with Jesse Ware 

Hope you have a wonderful day, and hey, after you read this, start up a conversation with someone nearby, send a text, phone a friend you have been meaning to talk to. 

 

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The Concept of Karma

The Concept of Karma

The Concept of Karma

Words by Montanna Macdonald

What goes around comes around, but does it really?

Where does this ideology come from and have we misused it in our Western perception? 

From a young age, many of us are brought up with the concept that we must treat people the way you would like to be treated. This has Christian foundations, based on “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, a biblical concept spoken by Jesus in Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12. There is a Chinese proverb that suggests how you treat the elderly is the way you will be treated when you are old. Even when someone does something untoward and mean to you, often the most common answer is “they will have it coming for them, Karma will bite them back”. 

What goes up, must come down- this idiom originated in the 1800s and came from the physical properties of gravity. If you throw a ball in the air, it will come back down. 

But where does Karma originate from? 

According to Brittanica, Karma, originating from the Sanskrit word Karmas “act”, comes from Indian religion and philosophy. Karma is referred to as the “universal causal laws by which good or bad actions determine the future modes of an individuals existence.” 

Samsara, translation to “flowing around”, is an Indian Philosophy adopted in Buddhism referring to metempsychosis, which in short means the migration of one’s soul after death to another, and being freed from one’s past deeds. Karma, in this sense, is the ethical process of this re-birth, whereby your current actions will determine future activities and situations of re-birth. 

In Indian philosophy, Karma motivates one to live a moral, ethical life and explains the existence of good and bad conceptually. 

The idea of Karma first appears in the oldest Hindu text the Rigveda (before c. 1500 BCE). With a limited meaning of ritual action, Karma continues to hold in the early ritual dominant scriptures, until its philosophical scope is extended in the later Upanishads (c. 800 BCE – 300 BCE).

According to Harvard University, when properly understood, however, Karma is both one’s acts and their consequences—in the world and for oneself. Acts do have effects, and the “law of karma” means that people truly never “get away with” anything. Every action leaves an imprint. The only way to free oneself of the entangling consequences of our actions is to act in the spirit of renunciation. Learning to act energetically, yet without personal or egotistical attachment to the fruits of action, is the challenge of the path to action.

Then when we cross into the science world, we discover an exciting convergence- take Newton’s third law, for example: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

To get more technical; with interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the forces on the second object. 

So, choose what you will, but either way, what you do impacts one way or another. Being mindful of our actions with perceptions in a healthy balance will keep us in good stead (we hope). There can be no doubt of the science of cause and effect. Hmmm. 

Do you believe in the concept of Karma?

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