Wednesday, October 2nd 2019

S3 Episode 32 Pinoe and Periods

One of the biggest things I learned through my training as a biological anthropologist, particularly a reproductive ecologist, is that the menstrual cycle and other associated reproductive systems are adaptively flexible. That is, they evolved to be responsive to environment, which means these systems, especially in menstruators, are supposed to be variable depending on what’s going on with your life. This is the exact opposite of what I hear from many of my friends and listeners: they learned that the menstrual cycle is supposed to be one way, and stay that way for life regardless of what the world throws at you.

This is the fundamental misunderstanding that Dr. Meredith Reiches corrected in her great piece at the GenderSciBlog, “Period power or wrong, period? The science of athletic performance across the menstrual cycle.” This blog post was a response to a recent article touting the achievements of the US Women’s National Team… despite their having menstrual cycles. (Oh, no!)

Dr. Reiches and I discuss her recent piece, our dreams for our longitudinal science projects (which include sponsorship and support of Megan Rapinoe), and the importance of bringing a critical lens to scientific research on the body. These articles also get mentioned so I want to be sure to link them:

Dr. Reiches is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Assistant Director of the GenderSci Lab at Harvard. Working with the methodologies and critical apparatus of biocultural anthropology and feminist science studies, Reiches investigates how tenacious, received ideas about sex and gender shape reconstructions of human origins and understandings of contemporary human bodies. Her work has appeared in Signs, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Annual Review of Anthropology, Current Anthropology, American Journal of Human Biology, Annals of Human Biology, and Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health.

Dr. Meredith Reiches

Do you want to be a patron, or is there someone in your life who would want to be? Check out my Patreon page for ways to support this podcast. Help me make beautiful things!

Want a better PERIOD?

Subscribe to PERIOD so you don’t miss an episode! Subscribing, especially on Apple Podcasts, helps us a ton with promoting the podcast and getting the word out to more people. So does leaving a review, so please do that too!

Call or write me! I am collecting two things right now: your period questions, and first period stories. Leave me a voicemail with either or both at 262-PERIOD-2 (262-737-4632). Don’t forget to tell me how to contact you if you don’t mind my following up.

Other ways to contact me:

I can’t wait to hear what you think! Thanks for listening!

Direct download: here

Permalink: here



Monday, September 23rd 2019

S3 Episode 31 Menstrual hygiene, whatever that means

In this week’s episode I interview Dr. Julie Hennegan. Dr. Julie Hennegan is a Research Associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She undertakes mixed-methods research exploring the design and evaluation of complex social interventions for women’s health. Julie leads multiple programs of menstrual health and hygiene research at Johns Hopkins, including a multi-country project to improve the definition and measurement of core constructs in menstrual health research.

In this episode, Dr. Hennegan and I talk about what’s called menstrual hygiene management, and how what we assume menstruators need isn’t always what they actually need. I also really appreciated what Dr. Hennegan had to say about making sure that the evidence we collect on menstruation and menstrual hygiene is good. That is, when we have the best of intentions it’s tempting to read more into what is currently not a strong evidence base. You’ll see what she means in the interview, so have a listen.

Dr. Julie Hennegan

Do you want to be a patron, or is there someone in your life who would want to be? Check out my Patreon page for ways to support this podcast. Help me make beautiful things!

Want a better PERIOD?

Subscribe to PERIOD so you don’t miss an episode! Subscribing, especially on Apple Podcasts, helps us a ton with promoting the podcast and getting the word out to more people. So does leaving a review, so please do that too!

Call or write me! I am collecting two things right now: your period questions, and first period stories. Leave me a voicemail with either or both at 262-PERIOD-2 (262-737-4632). Don’t forget to tell me how to contact you if you don’t mind my following up.

Other ways to contact me:

I can’t wait to hear what you think! Thanks for listening!

Direct download: here

Permalink: here



Monday, September 16th 2019

S3 Episode 30 Flaws in the system

Join me as I interview the brilliant Dr. Jodi Flaws of the University of Illinois on her research on how phthalates affect the female reproductive system. I’m grateful for the research on how endocrine disrupting chemicals affect kids… but not enough folks seem to center their research on direct effects of women. Learn about what our cosmetics, toys, and food contain, how to reduce exposure to these chemicals, and the kinds of effects these chemicals have on our menstrual cycles, menopausal symptoms, and more.

I was lucky to just have to bike a few miles for this interview, because we work at the same university. I’m also lucky enough to get to have lunch with Jodi about once a month as part of a women faculty mentoring group. Dr. Flaws is a Professor in Comparative Biosciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois. Dr. Flaws’ research program is mainly focused on determining the mechanisms by which environmental chemicals affect the development and function of the ovary. Her research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Environmental Protection Agency.  She has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers that have involved extensive participation and authorship by graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, veterinary medical students, and undergraduate students.  She is the recipient of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland Student Mentoring Award, the Patricia Sokolove Outstanding Mentor Award, the Dr. Gordon and Mrs. Helen Kruger Research Excellence Award, the Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence, the University Scholar Award, the Women in Toxicology Mentoring Award from the Society of Toxicology, and the Society for the Study of Reproduction Trainee Mentor Award.


Do you want to be a patron, or is there someone in your life who would want to be? Check out my Patreon page for ways to support this podcast. Help me make beautiful things!

Want a better PERIOD?

Subscribe to PERIOD so you don’t miss an episode! Subscribing, especially on Apple Podcasts, helps us a ton with promoting the podcast and getting the word out to more people. So does leaving a review, so please do that too!

Call or write me! I am collecting two things right now: your period questions, and first period stories. Leave me a voicemail with either or both at 262-PERIOD-2 (262-737-4632). Don’t forget to tell me how to contact you if you don’t mind my following up.

Other ways to contact me:

I can’t wait to hear what you think! Thanks for listening!

Direct download: here

Permalink: here



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