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norway & menstruation

February 6, 2024
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Periods in Norway: From Homemade Pads to Open Conversations

Table of Contents

Exploring Norway’s past, known for its stunning scenery and rich culture, uncovers a part of history often overlooked – the story of menstruation. In the article, “We didn’t menstruate, we had stomach ache. Norwegian experiences of menstruation from the 1900s“, Camilla Mørk Røstvik, an art historian and post-doctoral fellow, digs into this less-talked-about aspect.

Røstvik dives into the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History records, digging up stories of Norwegian women dealing with periods, from homemade pads in the early 1900s to the modern convenience of disposable pads. This historical journey tracks the changes in period products and shows how society’s views and the challenges menstruating individuals face have shifted over the years.

Cultural & Historical Context

Understanding these cultural and historical aspects for both locals and travellers exploring Norway adds an exciting layer to the experience. Røstvik’s exploration makes us think about how people in Norway viewed and coped with periods in the past. The stories shared in Røstvik’s research touch on everyday experiences and Norwegian culture’s unique aspects. Stories of horror, confusion, pride, and joy related to periods offer a peek into the emotional journey of women in Norway.

Røstvik’s research doesn’t just focus on history; it encourages us to think about the present. While advanced period products offer convenience, Røstvik raises questions about whether our increasing focus on hiding periods distances us from the natural aspects of menstruation. The rise of artistic rebellions challenging the silence around menstruation, as well as the widespread use of tampons and heavily scented pads, contribute to the ongoing concealment of periods. Making us think about the paradox of modern life, all these choices to hide things away but, simultaneously, a society that’s becoming more open about it. But Røstvik notes a shift in perception, with the rise in popularity of washable sanitary pads, period pants and menstrual cups suggesting a return to a more natural approach.

Menstruation Stigma

Despite Norway being declared the world’s most socially progressive country in 2022, Røstvik points out that menstruation is still a taboo. Even with all the advancements, there’s still a lingering hush-hush vibe. As we explore Norway’s menstrual history, we must acknowledge the importance of open conversations and shared experiences to end Menstruation Stigma.

The M Scale App

The M Scale app offers a platform for individuals, both locals and travellers, to connect and share their menstruation stories by rating facilities. Download the M Scale app on iOS and Android and join the movement to break the silence, fostering understanding and empathy for menstruating individuals worldwide. Share your experiences on the app and contribute to a more open and supportive dialogue around menstruation.

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Navigating Periods in Norway: Practical Tips

As you explore Norway, keep practical aspects of menstruation in mind, bridging historical insights from Camilla Mørk Røstvik with the conveniences of modern times. Here are some period tips for navigating Norway:

Pack Essentials

Pack your preferred menstrual products. While larger cities and towns will have pharmacies, having your preferred products on hand is always good.

Public Toilets in Norway

Be prepared to pay for public toilets in Norway, such as in shopping malls, train stations, and other public places, so keep some local currency handy (10-20 NOK). While free in most restaurants, you may get toilet codes on your receipt in cafes, so keep this handy.

Water and Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential, especially during your period. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it regularly. Norway is renowned for having some of the cleanest tap water globally, so you don’t have to worry about finding a reliable source of hydration.

Local Pharmacies and Painkillers

Pharmacies “Apotek,” are easy to find in Norway. But remember that painkillers in Norway can be pricier compared to other countries, and supermarkets generally do not sell them. Consider packing a supply before your trip for convenience.

Download the M Scale App

Join the conversation around menstruation using the M Scale app. Share your experiences about having you period while travelling in Norway. Rate facilities and contribute to a broader dialogue.

In summary, exploring Norway’s history of menstruation reveals the evolution of period practices and the emotional journeys of people who menstruate. As travellers, embracing open conversations, sharing experiences on the M Scale app, and navigating practical aspects ensure a more comfortable journey while contributing to a broader dialogue surrounding this natural part of life.

Freya Devlin

Freya is a content writer and SEO specialist passionate about traveling. From exploring bustling cityscapes to uncovering hidden wilderness gems, Freya hopes to inspire readers to seize the present and embark on our own journeys.

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