Comedy Gala-ing a Comedian's Perspective

  • By Chloe Tingle
  • 02 Dec, 2016

Guest Blog from the wonderful, hilarious Louise Leigh

“Hi Louise, could you do my gig?” I knew already that I was going to say yes. I’m basically a whore for doing stand up. But I don’t get paid. So actually, I’m not a whore, I’m just a massive slut. Go me! I’m not picky, I’ll swipe right on anything. (Is it swipe right? I haven’t been single since the 20th Century. It could be left, I’ve no idea. But I think I’ve established my credentials as someone who is Down With the Kids, which is why of course I was approached by some Young People to do their comedy gig at Roll for the Soul, No More Taboo's.)

 And here’s the thing. Yes, I’m a massive slut for stand-up, with a diary full of one-night stands, but some one-night stands are special. Like the one where he made me a bacon sandwich the next day. Like the one where I decided not to transpose two digits of my phone number (20th Century dating meant no stalking on social media and you could genuinely lose people by just swapping two numbers) I married that one.

Anyway, I have massively digressed. It’s an age thing. No More Taboos was a properly brilliant night. If I were the kind of person who was discerning in the types of gigs she did, I’d have discerned it. I’d discern it again tomorrow. Why? Here’s a list:

 • No More Taboos was in aid of a properly brilliant cause: fanny pads and mooncups for women who find periods even fucking harder than they already are, because they are homeless. I don’t have periods because I am smacked up to the gills on baby-preventing drugs. [Once you have actual babies, you know you don’t want to rely on mechanical means, or men, or remembering to take a damn pill. Imaginary babies are beautiful and amazing and you can cope brilliantly. Actual babies aren’t. You don’t want to risk accidentally getting any actual babies.] Anyway, I digress again; an age thing, I read somewhere. When I did have periods, I was absolutely not okay with tampons and nasty disposable fanny pads. I was a mooncup user when the students who were at the gig were in nappies. I have held up a flagon of my own blood and wondered at its crimson glory, emptied the flagon and then stuffed the empty flagon back up my twat. Anything that promotes the use of the menstrual cup is okay by me.

 • Roll for the Soul has three of my favourite things: coffee, wine and bikes.

 • We were an all women bill where we could talk about our genitals without being concerned that somebody was going to think it was a bit yucky. “You’re at a gig about periods, what the fuck did you expect????” we could, quite reasonably, have shouted, if they had dared. We could have even looked ugly while we did it.

 • The actual women on the bill: Jo Duncan, Eliza Fraser, Alice O’Brien, Pravanya Pillay, Becky Povall, Imogen Truselle, me and a bunch of improvisers from Bristol Improv. I bloody love these actual women. Some of them are my comedy sisters. I have laughed at them and with them in seedy bars and cafes all over Bristol and the South West. The improv was a revelation. I used to be into it when I was a young’un, but I’d been laboring under the apprehension that it was a bit wanky ever since, possibly under the influence of an ex-boyfriend, now I come to think of it. Well, I can sort of see why my ex boyfriend thought it was wanky. Because it was brilliant fun and he was a boring bastard. Proper hilarity, quick-thinking, great performances, I could watch it all night and next year, I am going to have a go at it myself, for the first time since the early nineties.

 • The audience. What a smashing bunch. And so spectacularly beautiful and young that I was left slightly moist.

 So, if you guys are ever thinking of doing anything ever again, please do invite me. I had proper fun. Louise x
By Chloe Tingle 18 Sep, 2017

Hi everyone,

Today we have an announcement to make. We have decided to put our Monthly Hugs subscription service on pause. We absolutely love Monthly Hugs and have put a lot of time and energy into making it happen, so this hasn’t been an easy decision and it’s taken us some time to reach.

The reason for the pause is that even though we have had a really amazing reception to the boxes, a lot of positive feedback and even featuring in the Independent’s top 10 self-care subscription boxes, we’ve had less subscribers than we expected following the launch.

Given that we are such a small organisation with limited resources, we’ve come to this difficult decision to put Monthly Hugs on pause for the next few months until we can source significant investment or a partner which can support us to cover the overheads of building a larger customer base.

Nonetheless we would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has supported us during the Crowdfunder in June and beyond to get Monthly Hugs of the ground, it has been a pleasure and we are so pleased with our Endless Summer box that went out in August.

This journey has given us invaluable experience and the resources we so desperately needed to carry on with our Tackling Period Poverty project working with low-income vulnerable women right here in Bristol, which we couldn’t have done without the support of Bristol Green Capital.

We would like to emphasise that funds have been used exactly as allocated through the Crowdfunder, particularly those that were for workshops and donating boxes to the vulnerable women we work with. With this, we have already managed to conduct 3 workshops, 2 period clinics and give out 9 boxes, each with a reusable sanitary product.

We are solely putting Monthly Hugs on hold for the next few months due to the huge amount of resource needed to create each month’s Monthly Hug. As a small not-for-profit with only a few members of staff, we have taken the strategic decision to put our energy into forwarding the Tackling Period Poverty Programme for the time being until funding or a partner is established for Monthly Hugs.

If you love the Monthly Hugs idea and would be interested in becoming a subscriber in the future after we re-launch please submit your email here . Please note this is non-binding and your details will not be shared with any third-parties. 

The more people we have register their interest the more likely we are to be successful in our search for external funding and/or a partner to take on Monthly Hugs.

Once again, we would like to thank you for all of your support and we are really sorry that we can’t keep Monthly Hugs going at the moment, but we promise we will do everything we can to get it up and running again in the near future.

If you have any comments, concerns, questions or feedback please get in touch with Chloe .


Lots of love,
NMT Team x
By Chloe Tingle 02 Jun, 2017
So, what's been going on with the Tackling Period Poverty project here at No More Taboo?

We’ve been working really hard to understand how we can make a positive, long-lasting change to vulnerable people that menstruate, through engaging with community groups, talking to individuals, and putting the people that we’re trying to help at the heart of our project planning and development. In the process, we’ve met amazing people along the way – individuals with inspiring stories, and  people who are working really hard to improve the lives of those in the local community, making Bristol a more inclusive, friendly and liveable city for those who struggle the most.  

May was a really important month for our Tackling Period Poverty project. We have been developing sustainable lasting methods to tackle period poverty and change attitudes about periods, as well as ensuring these ways are delivered in a manner that is effective and useful for the people we work with. A few weeks ago, we delivered our first workshop with the women who attend Bristol Drugs Project’s women’s morning!  This marked the start of our work with vulnerable groups to tackle period poverty.

We were really happy with our first workshop – but hey, don’t hear it just from us! Here’s what Becky, women’s morning’s lead Engagement Worker, had to say:

The workshop went really well! It’s quite a controversial topic, and to start off with, both clients and staff were a little bit sceptical about how it was going to go – it’s a bit of a difficult topic after all! However, the workshop did everything it said on the tin, and more. It was a really appropriate workshop for a women’s group. It helped break down the taboo around speaking about periods, and it really brought us all together.

In the weeks following the workshop, women attending the group have been a lot more open to talking about their health and periods, and they had been thinking a lot about the social issues surrounding periods, such as issues of affordability and sustainability, and how they can make a change in their lives. Our clients have come back asking questions, exploring different options available to them and really interested in swopping to a reusable sanitary product to save them money.

The activities that were in the workshop were really interesting and different – they were eye-opening, educational and practical. They helped us to think about women’s health more broadly, and made everyone really relaxed about opening up and speaking within the group setting.

The workshop had benefits beyond that of informing clients about periods – it really helped me in my role with working with vulnerable women. It taught me a lot about the issues surrounding period poverty and now I feel a lot more confident talking to women about their menstrual health. Not only has it been an informative session, but we feel closer as a group, making women feel more comfortable to engage in future sessions”.

What’s next for our work with Bristol Drugs Project? We’re going to be returning to the women’s morning and running a Period Clinic – one to one sessions with women who are wanting to switch to reusable products, talking them through the options and answering any questions or concerns that they have. We have got funding from Lush Charity Pot and the People’s Postcode Trust to run these workshops and supply women with reusable sanitary products – providing them with a sustainable solution to period poverty, without having to worry each month about buying tampons, relying on food banks, or going completely without.

So what's next? Our work is going to continue into the summer, with collaborations with Crisis Centre Ministries, Refugee Women of Bristol, Avonmouth Community Centre, and the Homeless Period Gloucestershire, and many more in the making! We’re not only excited to continue with our workshops, but also increase our reach beyond the city of Bristol into surrounding areas.

If you’d like to donate to the project, we’ve just launched a Crowdfunder for our new product, all the profits of which will go straight into funding Tackling Period Poverty! Check it out here , and the video below!




By Chloe Tingle 15 May, 2017

Research suggests that if my boyfriend and I were to walk into a hospital with the same agonizing mystery condition, his pain would be taken much more seriously than mine . In fact, 36% of women feel like their pain is ignored, dismissed or just not taken seriously by healthcare professionals. Now, I’m not saying that all doctors or nurses ignore women’s pain, and I’m certainly not suggesting that those who do, do so on purpose. But, there is a growing body of research that indicates that some women are not given the medical attention that they need because of gender bias. For example, an American study found that in comparison to men, women are considerably less likely to have their pain taken seriously, and medical professionals are more likely to hold back on treatment for women until after objective evidence into the cause of pain has been found.

 

And this isn’t a problem that just exists across the pond: a recent study on endometriosis carried out by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health uncovered a shocking set of statistics. Although endometriosis has life-changing symptoms , such as debilitating pain, 40% were only referred to a gynaecologist after seeing their doctor at least 10 times and 42% said that their doctors had shown them no dignity or respect throughout the course of their diagnosis. Despite affecting nearly 2 million women in the UK and leaving suffers at risk of severe health problems , such as reduced fertility rates and increased likelihood of depression, endometriosis has publicly been labelled a “garbage bag disorder” by Doctor Drew. And it’s not just celebrity doctors who don’t take endometriosis seriously: women of all backgrounds and ages recall being told that it’s all in their head, that they’re a hypochondriac, that they just need to toughen up, that they’re being over-emotional, that that’s just how a women’s body works.

 

By Chloe Tingle 26 Apr, 2017

The question of whether women should receive ‘period leave’ has been a hot topic of debate ever since Dr Grudzinkas said that it would boost a woman’s motivation and productivity in the workplace. But would being given up to three days a month of paid ‘period leave’ help to break down menstrual taboos? Or will it make things worse?

I’m totally guilty of it – stuffing a sanitary pad up my sleeve so that I don’t have to walk past my colleagues with it in view. Never, ever wearing light coloured clothes when I’m on my period, just in case I end up with blood stains on my clothes. And refusing to take sick leave because I don’t want to have to tell anyone that it’s my time of the month, even if my cramps are so bad I can’t stand up properly. So will ‘period leave’ help us talk more openly about menstruation and go some towards stopping many of the stigmas that surround it?

Last year, Bristol based Coexist made the headlines after announcing that they were going to bring in a “period policy” that would allow those suffering from painful periods to time off of work without declaring it as sick leave. Although the policy was introduced to make Coexist more work efficient, less than 6 months after it was introduced, staff reported that period embarrassment had become a thing of the past within the office environment. Women spoke freely about their periods and shared with their colleagues what stage in their cycle they were at. By encouraging female staff to mirror their workloads to their natural bodily cycles, Coexist employers felt like menstrual taboos had been combatted in their office.

So ‘period leave’ can’t be a bad thing, right?

Well, some believe that it is. That’s because not everyone thinks that ‘period leave’ will help to tackle menstrual stigma. By taking a day or two off from work to rest, some worry that women will be seen as ‘weak’ and unable to cope with the way that their bodies naturally function. We’ve been fighting for years for equal recognition in the workplace, and submitting to our bodies in such a way could undo the rights that we’ve won over the decades.

Some worry that such a policy will result in society taking three steps backward, and bosses will once again feel like discriminatory ‘favouring’ is justified just as it once was because of women taking maternity leave. Female employers who don’t take ‘period leave’, along with their male counterparts, will be favoured over those who do choose to take the time off, increasing the stigmas attached to menstruation. A ‘period policy’ would be counterproductive and would actually make it harder for women suffering from painful periods to take the time off they need.

And others argue that encouraging women to stay at home when on their periods will push talk about periods even further behind doors – out of sight out of mind, after all.

It seems that the debate cannot be easily solved. What is clear, however, is that we should be working towards demystifying periods and making sure that no woman is made to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Unfortunately, the question of whether this will be achieved by a national ‘period policy’ is much harder to answer.

 What do you think? Comment below and let us know your thoughts! 



By Chloe Tingle 19 Apr, 2017

NoMoreTabooer Alex blogs here about leaks:

While it’s a normal thing to happen while you are adjusting to your cup, you should master inserting it after 2-3 periods. If after that period you still struggle and these bloody leaks are putting you off the reusable sanitary products, check out our little guide to prevent them:

By Chloe Tingle 19 Apr, 2017
We have a volunteer opportunity to join our team as an intern for 8 weeks. 
If you are a student looking for experience in the third/voluntary/start-up sector this summer please get in touch, we are open to ideas and suggestions and keen to take on volunteers for short periods of time over the summer. 
We are currently looking for an intern to start on 8th May for 8 weeks- 2 days a week (sorry I know its exam season!).

See below for the details:

Job Description- Events and Crowdfunding Internship

Reference: NMT/120

Job Purpose: No More Taboo is a social enterprise empowering society to revolutionise the way we talk, view and manage periods. We are passionate about ensuring all women everywhere have a happier, healthier and more affordable period. Whether that is empowering a woman living in poverty in Bristol to have the confidence to access sanitary products, or helping a girl in Bolivia learn the facts about menstruation, or providing women and girls in the UK with a choice of sustainable sanitary products.

We are at a pivotal stage of our development, we are currently launching a brand new subscription box and plan to launch this through a crowdfunding campaign, the crowdfunding will start on 28th May (international menstrual hygiene day) and run for one month, we are aiming to raise a minimum of £10,000. As part of this campaign we plan to have a major Launch Event in mid-June, which we need support in organising. This is an opportunity to gain experience in event management and to have the freedom to be creative. We are already working on developing an exciting crowdfunding campaign but need support to put this into action. This is an ideal internship for anyone looking to gain experience in the not-for-profit, charity, social enterprise or start-up sector. Working in a small team you will have responsibility, will play a key role in our development and gain a wide range of experience.

Key Tasks and Responsibilities:

-Plan and deliver our major Launch event in mid-June.

-Marketing and promoting events and crowdfunding campaign with the support of the marketing and communications team.

-Helping with expanding networks and finding key supporters for the crowdfunding campaign.

-Helping to develop and source resources for crowdfunding campaign including video and rewards.

-Developing, coordinating and running activities for the events.

-Managing and administrating the events budgets with support from the Directors.

-Organising venue(s), communicating with venue owners exactly what is required and setting clear expectations, including preparation of venue.

-Ensuring all resources for events, such as leaflets, promotional materials and any extra equipment required for running a successful event are prepared in a timely manner.

-Promoting the events and crowdfunding with local media, including writing press releases.

-Engaging the Bristol public, through social media or other means in the build up to the event and crowdfunding.

-Managing, assisting with recruitment and training of other volunteers to help out at the event.

-General promotion of the no more taboo ethos and advocacy of the issues throughout the duration of the role.

-Assisting with general administration including answering emails, sending out invitations, preparing resources, managing the budget, keeping clear records of spending and reporting back to manager.

Full training and induction shall be provided.

Skills/attributes/knowledge/experience

Essential:


Confident self- starter

Experience of coordinating events and/or teams

Committed and able to dedicate two full days each week to the role.

Interested in our causes and ethos around menstruation, sanitation and the environment.

Proven verbal and written communication skills

Team working experience.

Confidence to work on own initiative with minimum supervision but knowing when to consult with and inform others.

Organised, able to set and meet own targets and goals.

Happy to work from home on occasion and prepared to work in hot-desking spaces.

Desirable:

Creativity and imagination.

Confidence to experiment.

Experience of events promotion.

Experience of crowdfunding or similar fundraising tools.

Competent with social media and communication tools.

Experience of working with the charity or not for profit sector.

 

Salary: Travel and food expenses- £8 per day.

Location: Bristol with occasional working from home.

Hours: 15 hours per week (Equivalent to 2 full days but flexible)

Term: Minimum 8 weeks, 120 hours.

Reports to: Alex Kmiecik (Director)

How to Apply:

Send a copy of your C.V to chloe@nomoretaboo.org and complete the application form available here: https://goo.gl/forms/CwRTjSdbtYdYz5TW2

Closing Date: Midnight, 30th April

You will hear back from us on 1st May whether you are successfully through to interview stage or not.

Interview Date: 3rd, 4th, 5th May 2017 in Bristol, (we appreciate this is a tight timeline and will have flexibility on times of day e.g. we can interview in the evening or at a time to suit you)

Start Date: Week commencing 8th May.

Voluntary Internship working 2 days per week. Responsible for planning and running events and supporting the delivery of our crowdfunding campaign to launch a new product. Ideal internship for anyone looking to gain experience in the not-for-profit, charity, social enterprise or start-up sector.


By Chloe Tingle 03 Apr, 2017

With an entire adventure playground, a ping pong table and a pool table all ready to be enjoyed waiting outside our room, our hopes were not initially high that we would attract a group of teenage boys into our workshop about periods. However, soon enough, some of the young men wandered in to see what we were doing. Most of them ended up talking to us and participating enthusiastically in the workshop for the next hour and a half!

The attitudes these young men held towards menstruation were extremely encouraging:

  • All of the participants scored themselves 8/10 or higher when asked how comfortable they were discussing menstruation (with 10 being most comfortable). Considering that when I was at school, the rare mention of periods would have sent your average boy into a frenzy of ‘yuck’ and ‘eww’. This was a refreshing statistic. Instead, the general sentiment was not one of disgust but of maturity: ‘girls have periods, get over it’.

  • During our discussion of the more practical side of menstruation, the young men were shocked to find out that a woman uses on average 11,000 disposable sanitary products across their lifetime. We discussed the cost of this, and they collectively disapproved of the tampon tax, calling it unnecessary and unfair! At this point, I was sincerely hoping that this group represents the attitude of teenage boys and men as whole.
  • Although most of them found the idea of reusable sanitary products distasteful when we first introduced the products to the group, they came around when we told them that some menstrual cups could be used for years. They considered the positive financial and environmental impact of using these products.

They also surprised me by offering up an alternative name for period - ‘reds’. I am definitely going to look out for that one!

Overall, it was extremely promising to see a group of teenage boys voluntarily give us their time to participate in the workshop. As pilot projects go, it was a success: they learnt more about menstruation, and we learned more about how to discuss menstruation with teenage boys and young men. Thank you very much for an educational and heartening experience, boys!
By Chloe Tingle 20 Feb, 2017

 This week, from the 18th to the 25th of February, is Homelessness Awareness Week in Bristol. We want to kick off the week by showcasing some pictures with you that powerfully capture the reality faced by rough sleepers every day. Images are the most effective way to give justice to all those who struggle to raise their voices and are usually silent; they are the best way to honour the people that live behind the statistics. We have chosen some shots by photographers who – instead of just stealing pictures at a distance - decided to interact with homeless people, in order to go beyond the prejudices and connect with them.

 

Lee Jeffries was only an amateur photographer when he took the first picture of a homeless person in London. He tried to capture the image of an 18-year-old girl with evident addiction problems, who was rolled up in a sleeping bag among food containers. He used a long lens from a distance, but the girl noticed him. She was understandably upset and started shouting at him; however, instead of sneaking off, Jeffries decided to approach her and apologise. He listened to her story and discovered that she had lost both of her parents and, as a consequence, had no place to go. On that day, Jeffries realised that his passion for photography could be something more than a hobby: it could become a useful tool to draw attention on homelessness and raise funds for charities. He started a self-funded project and took dozens of emotional portraits of rough sleepers around the world, listening to their stories and connecting with them on a deeper level.

"I’m stepping into their world. Everyone else walks by like the homeless are invisible. I’m stepping through the fear, in the hope that people will realise these people are just like me and you". 

By Chloe Tingle 25 Jan, 2017
As we say in Yorkshire, you never get “summat for nowt” (southern translation: we do not usually receive anything for nothing). 

But that is exactly what we are giving you. The chance to test out our ‘monthly period hugs’ worth up to £75! You will receive three lots of our brand new products completely free of charge in exchange for your feedback and comments. 

All you have to do is complete a couple of surveys, answer some questions over the phone and be free to come along to a discussion group in Bristol (in the evening or on a Saturday) during the week commencing 20th or 27th March. Intrigued? 

Well get your name on the list here: http://tinyurl.com/hpq5bpa  before 5th February. We will send you a survey to see if you qualify to be part of the research which you must complete by 8th Feb.

There are only a limited number of places so get your application in ASAP! We're super excited to share this with you!

Chloe (Official Yorkshire Lass) and the No More Taboo Team
By Chloe Tingle 22 Dec, 2016
Listen in to our feature on BBC Worldservice (plays right after the Berlin intro) with our Founder Chloe and Pema for Nepal Fertility Care Centre. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04km44t
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