Period ShamingHaving your period is one of the most natural experiences in the world. It is a mark of femininity and fertility, and a huge part of life. The menstrual cycle is normal of anyone with a working uterus and ovaries, it is a sign your body is working. Nothing shameful, disgusting or even different about this cycle, or about menstruation itself.
But for some reason women are still made to feel ashamed or embarrassed simply because we bleed.
Period shaming extends to many parts of a woman’s physiology. It involves the shame around discussing and caring for your menstrual needs. This leads to the exclusion of women from social, domestic, and educational activities. Many feel the topic of periods is awkward, embarrassing, and even disgusting.
Period shame is something many women feel, some at their very first cycle. Research shows Forty-two percent of women have experienced some type of period-shaming. One in five have these feelings because of comments made by a male friend or a close relative. This leads women to use code words or slang to refer to periods.
To make it simple, Period shaming is associating the act and art of menstruation with a stigma. Period shaming goes beyond insulting or victimizing women for bleeding. It’s a reminder propagated by society that your period is a thing of shame. Sorry females, I don’t think So. This is a big problem in our society!
The Root of Period Shaming
Some ancient cultures and texts considered menstruation unclean. These beliefs date back thousands of years. And have molded generations of cultural stigmas.
One such custom is Chhaupadi. Where Hindu women live in menstrual huts during their period. They are prohibited from participating in social or family activities during their period.
The Bible details a story of one woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years. She was considered unclean and excluded from social and religious aspects of society.
Many scholars consider these writings to be influenced by personal hygiene. There is still controversy about this. Some believe that menstrual taboos and period shaming predate culture and even language.
Period Shaming Affects Everyone
Period shaming is common not only in our country, but also across the world. In other countries, menstruating girls and women are prohibited from entering the kitchen or places of worship. This is because their bodies are believed to be impure.
This is another struggle faced by low income girls and women in other countries. Cultural and religious believes hinder progress in many places. We need to end discriminatory practices and educate people. This is a bodily function that affects half the population of this planet.
Visual shame is not the only part of this. Studies show sixty-three percent of women have canceled plans when dealing with PMS or their cycle. From this forty percent said they gave a false excuse as they felt uncomfortable.
What about in the workplace? This is where it sucks. Studies show fifty one percent of men think it is inappropriate for a women to discuss their menstrual cycle. Women usually ask a friend to go with them to the bathroom to make sure there are no leaks and avoid the stress of continuously checking their clothes. They usually have to hide their pads and liners from co-workers on the way to the bathroom, while others have to call in sick during their cycle. This is how bad it gets.
We need to put a Stop to Period Shaming. We need to educate our children so this is no longer a Stigma. Let's include everyone in the conversation. Let's not stop until it becomes normal and acceptable!