Words by Smiley Team
A YouTuber who started out making women’s health videos has become a period educator online, helping young people with their concerns and questions.
Sharon, known as ‘Just Sharon’ on YouTube, began making videos five years ago but started making health and period content just three years ago.
She initially uploaded a video called ‘Reading Your Worst Period Horror Stories’ after asking her subscribers to anonymously share tales of embarrassment around periods. The video has 651,000 views to date and the response was so positive that Sharon realised that responding to these stories with advice and reassurance could benefit the whole community of her subscribers.
“I'm not afraid to talk about anything, so one day I gave my audience the theme of periods. It was such a success that periods have become one of the most popular types of content I make”, Sharon tells Smiley News.
“I kept making videos answering questions about periods, which products to use and how to use them, how to put in a tampon, hacks for school and more.”
The comments on Sharon’s period videos fill up with comments, mainly from young people experiencing their first periods.
One anonymous user commented on Sharon’s video: “I’ve never been more anxious in my life than being on my period at school.”
Sharon decided to push forward with her period content and take it further, to encourage openness about menstruation and to help anyone feeling isolated or confused.
“My main reason for doing so was knowing that if someone is so ashamed or embarrassed of their period, they might also be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. I've sort of become an internet big sister that these girls turn to for advice and comfort,” Sharon says.
“What motivates me to keep doing this, are the comments I get saying things like, ‘You've made me more confident with my period. I'm no longer ashamed of it, and I'm comfortable talking about it.’ In the end, that's my main goal. A period is a natural, bodily function that happens to half of the population and it shouldn't be a taboo topic.”
In 2021, Sharon hosted her first ever period drive, collecting donations of sanitary products for those experiencing period poverty.
There are an estimated 16.9 million people in period poverty in the US alone, and 1 in 10 menstruating young people in the UK can’t afford sanitary products.
Sharon collected 17,189 individual products and has already teamed up with a group of organisations to host her next drive, which she plans on doing annually.
The ‘Just Sharon’ channel also offers advice on other topics from breakups and first dates, to shaving and school.
WATCH: To watch Sharon’s videos and find out more about her content, visit her YouTube channel.
DONATE: To find out how you can donate to those experiencing period poverty, visit: https://periodpoverty.uk/ .