Dirty Little Secret
Why is it so taboo to talk about getting your period? Why are women and girls mortified if they drop a pad or tampon out of their bag in the presence of the opposite sex?
Simply put, it’s because it makes people — specifically, men — uncomfortable, so it’s been made into this dirty, taboo subject. What is the spark we need to turn periods from taboo grossness into everyday conversation?
In many parts of the developing world, menstruation is still seen as unclean and women who are on their period are sequestered away from the rest of the population until they stop bleeding. This makes it difficult for women to maintain their homes, keep up with their jobs or go to school.
Even in the developed world, having a period is often frowned upon — I mentioned in my last post that one woman even allegedly found herself in trouble with HR over having period cramps at work and using a heating pad to deal with the pain.
Breaking the Stigma
As women, we’re taught from a very young age to keep things like menstruation secret. It becomes our problem to bear, and it has led to the creation of this totally backward stigma that having a period is something to be ashamed of.
It’s 2018, and that is definitely one of the most important things we need to get rid of in the coming year. If you really think about it, we can actually turn having a period into something to be proud of. Congratulations — you’re not pregnant but you have a functioning uterus! Well done, you!
On the Front Lines
You may have heard of Miki Argawal, the mind behind THINX period panties. They’re a line of absorbent panties designed to be worn during your period. Miki has faced an unbelievable amount of backlash to her product, with the loud theme being that the idea of period panties is “gross.”
Again — the word “gross.” Some women might really like this idea, but are now afraid to try these for fear of being deemed gross if friends find out they’re wearing them. This is so backwards. Period panties may not be for everyone, but we have someone trying to come up with a new invention in an industry that is severely lacking in conversation and innovations. Why do we always make everything to do with menstruation “gross?”
Miki hasn’t let it stop her. She’s put ads for her products up in some of the biggest transit hubs in New York and other cities in an attempt to get people talking. Argawal is also working to provide reusable pads to women in developing countries who might not have access to sanitary products otherwise.
Poet Rupi Kaur also faced the stigma surrounding periods head-on when a picture of her was removed from Instagram for showing period blood staining her pants and sheet. Her account was also blocked as a result of this. After a wave of indignation from fans and from Kaur herself, Instagram was forced to recant and reinstate both her image and her account.
Clinging to the backward stigma that menstruation is something dirty or something to be ashamed of isn’t just hurting us. It’s also hurting the next generation of young girls who are going into this new stage of their lives completely unprepared because so many people are too ashamed to discuss having a period.
It’s up to us to destroy this taboo. Don’t just be proud of being a woman — take the stigma surrounding menstruation, toss it into the street and stomp it into little bits. There is nothing wrong with having a period! It’s totally natural, and we need to stop letting people make us feel bad for it.
Article by Kate Harveston, Journalist and Freelance Writer
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