This paper will discuss the a university produced social impact documentary, Bleeding Free, produced by an advocacy and impact collective, Bleedin Saor . The collective (meaning Bleeding Free in Scots & Gaelic) aimed to increase access to period products and to de-stigmatise menstruation. The Bleedin Saor projects have focused on students designing period product dispensers for use in Scottish schools, colleges and universities and a documentary charting the design process, and broader issues around menstruation. The projects were managed by staff and led by students at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland and were inspired by the Scottish Government’s initiatives and legislation (2017-2021) supporting free access to period products.
Bleeding Free situates the students as active campaigners and change-makers, engaging with other activists and menstruators, including footballers, fellow students, schoolgirls and social enterprises and organisations working in menstrual health education and support in Scotland and Uganda. The film showcases a range of approaches to effecting change through campaigning, improving access to menstrual products and education.
Bleeding Free mediates menstruation through the lens of access to period products and the agency of young people. It highlights the campaigning and advocacy power of young people and demonstrates the importance of policy and government support, and how personal issues are national and global issues and can be tackled and supported as such. Aimed at young people (12-22yrs) the film is supported by a digital (and paper) resource booklet and website (https://bleedingfree.wordpress.com) and has developed social media strategies to publicise the film and grow an engaged community and audience. Premiering online in May 2021 this paper will reflect on initial feedback and responses to the film and the sharing of Scottish and Ugandan perspectives of the issues it addresses of period poverty, stigma and education.
MacLeod, K. (2021, October). Bleeding Free – advocacy and activism in the production of a student led documentary on period poverty and menstrual health education. Paper presented at Menstruation in the Media (in collaboration with Menstruation Research Network), Sheffield Halam University