Last week our university had a presentation competition and I was asked to be one of the judges and so I went with a tumbler full of coffee to keep myself alert. I think I overdid it with the coffee because about 15 minutes before the competitions got under way, I was jumping up and down in the courtyard ready to do cartwheels. But I did manage to gather what’s left of my brain cells and with a modicum of calmness and got myself to the presentation hall. As I sat down at my designated seat, my boss told me I would be responsible for asking questions after each presenter so there I was for the next three hours, trying to pry my eyes open and taking meticulous notes for questions. Some of the topics were so lame I had difficulty thinking what to ask. Joy of joys indeed.
Anyway, one of the presentation topics was about periods. In her presentation, the student recounted some painful memories of boys calling her dirty for having her period and how emotionally scarred she was after that episode. Her presentation was really good until s she said that Daimaru, a Japanese department store was considering giving out a sticker/badge which shows a manga character for Seiri Chan to staff members who are having their periods and she believe all the students and women should do it on campus. Click here for the reference article: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/29/period-badges-japanese-store-reconsidering-plan-after-public-backlash.html
So I sat there wondering where I stand on this whole issue. I fully support normalising period talk but I also don’t want to wear a sticker or a badge every time I have my period. I think it would lead to me being alienated by my two male colleagues rather than being treated with extra kindness. I guess rather than a sticker, open conversations which give men knowledge on the topic is what I would like to see as a long-term solution. So for now the Seiri Chan will just have to wait before she can be part of my wardrobe choice but I am very intrigued and would like to read the manga. Only in Japan will you see a manga comic dedicated to periods. Japan being Japan I guess.
By the way, the student won the first prize for the presentation contest. So good for her but during the deliberations all the judges sort of awkwardly skipped over the sticker/badges issue.