The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

Let’s Paint the Town Red

Keli Garza gathers students for an informational session on menstruation

Kelly+starting+off+the+discussion+of+Shedding+the+Stigma+of+Menstruation
Kelly starting off the discussion of Shedding the Stigma of Menstruation

Kelly starting off the discussion of Shedding the Stigma of Menstruation

Cara Gonzalez

Cara Gonzalez

Kelly starting off the discussion of Shedding the Stigma of Menstruation

Janice Peregrina, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






When is the last time you talked about your period in public? Students gathered in a “red tent” at the U-SU to do just that. The Cross Cultural Centers hosted the event, called “The Red Tent: Shedding the Stigma of Menstruation”, was a reference to both the Biblical tale of Dinah and Anita Diament’s 1997 novel “The Red Tent.”

In the novel, women who are going through their monthly cycle spend their time in a red tent, a meeting place where everyone takes care of themselves and supports each other in a welcoming environment. The Cross Cultural Centers set up the Alhambra Room with chairs in a circle with everyone facing each other, with some students even sitting on the floor from how popular the event was; reflective of the red tents in the novel. Not only was the title of the event a reference to these meeting places, but it also referenced the period itself, with “shedding the stigma of menstruation” symbolizing the shedding of the uterine lining.

Guest speaker Keli Garza headed the talk about the stigmas associated not just with menstruation, but being a woman in general. She is the founder of Steamy Chick Inc., a line of vaginal steam saunas, and has an M.A. in International Development from American University.

“Why do you think there’s such a stigma about it? Why is it so covert?” Garza asked of the audience. To this, she had one answer. “Men. Men are in power. We live in a patriarchal world.” She further explained that women are expected to assimilate into this world by attempting to mirror what men do, and that this is considered empowering in some circles.

Since men do not have periods, and will not understand the process of going through a monthly cycle, women feel pressured to hide this natural part of being alive from the public eye. Garza explained that by doing this, “we’re not making ourselves the target of otherness.” The consequences associated by not embracing the menstrual cycle as something natural rather than something to be swept under the rug has some unexpected and harmful effects.

Garza spoke about the fundamental differences between gynecologists and midwives, and how today’s gynos are trained to disregard the advice of old when it comes to menstrual problems. Garza lamented that when women are experiencing negative side effects of periods, especially cramps, gynecologists jump to suggest chemical forms of birth control, like the Pill, to shorten or eliminate the period altogether.

In more extreme cases, hysterectomies, the surgical removal of the uterus, are suggested. She called the Pill a form of “period suppression,” and that women are expected to be okay with changing the natural chemistry and anatomy of the female body to not feel pain. “Just make yourself not female,” said Garza, emulating these opinions.

Garza told a personal story about how her ideas of what a normal period is changed when she researched traditional Chinese medicine practices regarding women’s health. Medically, the menstrual cycle is when the uterine lining is shed through the vaginal canal in the event that an egg is not fertilized.

“The body sends the blood to clean that stuff out,” she said. Garza shared that for years she had a period that consisted of mostly brown discharge, and that her doctor said that this was normal. After reading more about Chinese tradition, she found that this type of period signified old blood, which meant that the normal shedding of the uterine lining was going through a circulation issue and that her lining was not completely being shed away. Menstrual cramps signify the body trying to release that residual lining. “You’re actually having a contraction” when you have cramps, according to Garza. “It’s a sign that something got stuck.”

Garza then listed some solutions to irregular and abnormal periods that have worked through her experiences with herself, her customers, and through her readings. Eating foods high in protein to facilitate blood production during your cycle will  ensure the body doesn’t tire itself out while shedding blood.

Garza stressed the importance of resting during the entire week. “The more that you rest during your period, the more energy you have during the whole month.” For ridding the body of residual uterine lining, cramp relief, and many more symptoms, Garza recommended vaginal steaming. Her website, steamychick.com, provides more information about how and when to steam, as well as first-hand reviews from buyers about the effectiveness of the treatment.

“The Red Tent: Shedding the Stigma of Menstruation” was an event not only to promote the embrace of the menstrual cycle in the public eye, but a place for both women and men to learn about what they can do to better themselves and their relationships with the period.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Comment

One Response to “Let’s Paint the Town Red”

  1. Keli on May 2nd, 2017 6:46 pm

    Niiice.

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Lifestyle

    A Student’s Guide to Halloween

  • Let’s Paint the Town Red

    Lifestyle

    Running and screaming

  • Lifestyle

    Top Five Apps Students Must Have

  • Let’s Paint the Town Red

    Lifestyle

    Music Tastes Good Fest 2017

  • Let’s Paint the Town Red

    Lifestyle

    What’s up with the Unicorns?

  • Let’s Paint the Town Red

    Lifestyle

    The Coffee Confab

  • Lifestyle

    Vietnamese Coffee Hour

  • Let’s Paint the Town Red

    Lifestyle

    Escaping the Pressures of the “Model Minority Myth”

  • Let’s Paint the Town Red

    Lifestyle

    Is Google Recording Our Conversations?

  • Let’s Paint the Town Red

    Lifestyle

    Friday Night at the Movies

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles
Let’s Paint the Town Red