Bree Farmer's Precious Stars YouTube channel has given hundreds of thousands of women across the globe the confidence, education, and guidance to switch to a reusable menstrual product. We asked Bree a couple of questions about her motivation, period experience and how we are going to collective dispel the menstrual taboo.
Q: WHY DID YOU START THE PRECIOUS STARS CHANNEL?
A: I started the Precious Stars channel because I really wanted to help women and girls who were thinking about switching to reusable menstrual products get some idea of how the products worked and what the benefits were. I also wanted to help normalize a topic which is still considered taboo to so many people.
Q: HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT MENSTRUAL CUP? WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL THOUGHT?
A: I first heard about RUMPs via a support sight for young people with ME (a chronic illness I used to suffer from). Somebody mentioned a Mooncup and I had no idea what this was so I went and looked it up, when I saw what it did I thought it was a fantastic idea and immediately went out to get one (This was when I was 15). Unfortunately the cup didn’t work for me but it sparked my interest in the idea of a reusable tampon.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE TABOO? DO EVER WORRY ABOUT PEOPLE'S PERCEPTION ON MENSTRUATION?
A: Not really. Menstruation is something completely normal, and having open conversations about it can help women feel more confident if they are worried something might not be right but are too scared to talk about it to someone.
Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD TAKE TO DISSOLVE THE MENSTRUAL TABOO? DO YOU THINK IT WILL HAPPEN IN OUR LIFETIME?
A: I sincerely hope it does, but it will take more than people like me to break it, it will take all women and girls around the world feeling confident enough to talk about it, to end it for good.
Q: DO YOU THINK THAT BOYS ARE INTIMIDATED BY YOUR UNAPOLOGETIC APPROACH TO MENSTRUATION?
A: No definitely not! In fact I find the boys are more open to the topic, sometimes I feel like they want to know whats going on so they can support their girlfriends. One of my closest male friends (who I also secretly fancy…) has told me that he thinks what I do is amazing.
Q: YOU ARE AVERY CONFIDENT YOUNG WOMAN – WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO GIRLS ABOUT THEIR BODIES AND BODY ACCEPTANCE?
A: You only get one body to live in and you will be so much happier when you stop worrying about what other people think of you. Don’t get me wrong, its hard, but once you’ve managed to do it you will soon reap the benefits.
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR FELLOW TEENAGERS WHO WANT TO EXPLORE REUSABLE MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS?
A: I would recommend getting a couple of pads and a menstrual cup to just try them out and see how you go, the Lena cup small in particular has been designed with young girls in mind so it would make a great cup for many teenagers.
Q: A LOT OF TEENAGERS FEEL THAT THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE IN TRYING A MENSTRUAL CUP IS THEIR MOTHERS. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR BOTH DAUGHTERS AND MOTHERS?
A: I would suggest having a relaxed chat with your main parent/carer and saying that you’ve found a new product you would really like to try because of the health and environmental benefits. Being mature about this topic and explaining your reasons for wanting to try it will help convince someone that you a serious about wanting to try it and its not just something you saw on Facebook.
Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUNG WOMEN'S PERCEPTION ON MENSTRUATION TODAY?
A: I think young girls are starting to talk about it more and realize that its not something to be ashamed of. We should embrace this completely natural process that is just one part of what makes us a force to be reckoned with!
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR LIFE AND IS IT GOING TO BE RELATED TO MENSTRUATION AND REUSABLE MENSTRUAL PRODUCT?
A: In the future I would like to grown my business and also keep spreading the word about menstrual health and reusable menstrual products, in particular I would like to be more involved in projects that help girls in africa who miss school because of their periods. Everyone has the right to education and a healthy period.