How long does a protective suit need to be changed when you are on the frontline of the coronavirus epidemic? And for the women on the frontline, how long does it take for their supplies of sanitary napkins or of comfort pants (trousers-type sanitary napkins) to be used up during their period? As reported by the WeChat account 人物 and by many other Chinese media platforms, this issue was recently picked up by a Weibo blogger named Stacey, a 24-year old from Shanghai. After posting a message on Weibo wondering whether female doctors and nurses in Hubei province are in need of sanitary items, she received a large number of messages from front-line female nurses and doctors replying that they had ran out. She then began to form a team of volunteers named the “Relief Activity for Sisters Battling the Epidemic” (姐妹战疫, 安心行动) to provide physiological help to frontline female medical staff.
To help with raising the funds, Stacey reached out to the Lingshan Charity Foundation (灵山基金会), founded by Peking University alumni, through a volunteer graduate from the university. With their help, the team raised an estimated RMB 2.26 million, which was used to purchase 200.000 sanitary pads and more than 300,000 pairs of disposable underwear, as well as 100,000 for the logistical costs and 50,000 for emergency costs. In the early days after the outbreak began it was rare for hospitals to mention feminine health care products in public calls for help and donations, supposedly because of the social taboo towards the topic of menstruation.
Stacey has done her best to ensure that everything the campaign presents and communicates fits in with her ideals. The poster for the volunteer team was originally pink, but the young woman opposed this and advocated for it to be changed to blue, to make the point that women can also be represented by the colour blue. She is quoted as saying: “isn’t Elsa in Frozen blue? That’s an idol for girls born in the 00’s. Who says blue isn’t suitable for girls? No colour can represent a gender.” The blogger also changed the Chinese character for “heart” in the poster, replacing one of the strokes with a sanitary napkin. She has expressed her hope that after this epidemic ends, a normal physiological phenomenon possessed by half of the population will no longer be labeled as “special” and menstruation will no longer be considered shameful.
Editor: Gabriel Corsetti