HCAU Talks: Boys + Periods

Boys and Periods

In this day and age, it’s difficult to believe that men can be unaware of what periods are. However, Ryan Williams took to Twitter to show his disgust towards menstruation. In his tweets, Ryan said that he thought that tampons should not be free, because women only need them because they are incapable of holding their bladder. This is clearly someone who knows nothing about women, or the human body.  He describes himself as a meninist, and claims to have many others supporting his ideas about periods. One (female) fan posted a picture of herself wearing a T-shirt featuring one of Ryan’s tweets. He claims this person is his fan, but it is difficult to believe that any female could support such ignorance towards the reproductive activities of their bodies, It is more likely that this girl is making fun of Ryan, rather than being a supporter. 

Pictures from Twitter : @ryanwilliams97

Twitter users were in disbelief of Ryan’s comments, and expectedly, he received plenty of backlash. The popular Vlogger, Alfie Deyes,(@PointlessBlog) said that Ryan should delete his Twitter account and another user (@silhoutedskin) tweeted: “Geez I didn’t know my period was something I could control. Where have I been these last couple of years?” Looking back at the original tweets, it is difficult to tell if Ryan really is that clueless, or if he is simply trolling and looking for a reaction for the fun of it. Either way, such degrading comments, suggesting that all women are incontinent, are disrespectful and can be read as shaming women for menstruating. Periods are already talked about in hushed tones, with plenty of women being too embarrassed to mention their period, when they are completely natural and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It is important to normalise periods in order to boost young women’s’ confidence with their bodies, rather than to embarrass them. Unable to believe that Ryan represented the views of all males, I asked a few of my male friends what they thought about Ryan’s tweets, and I was pleased with their responses. Neil thought that the tweets were funny, and said “it doesn’t even come out of the bladder!” Matthew didn’t think that Ryan was being serious with his tweets and said that “they’re stupid and were done to wind people up. He’s an idiot and should be ignored.” Andrew added that Ryan has a “profound ignorance in relation to female bodily health, which is strange considering we got 6 years of personal and social education at school.” He also stated that “his claims are ludicrous and most of the male population will be ashamed to be mutually associated with him.” I also asked them what they thought about AUSA putting free baskets of towels and tampons in the toilets around campus, and they thought that this was an excellent idea. Ewan stated that “AUSA offering tampons for free at uni is a great step in the right direction and makes a very good stand in that these products should not be taxed and should be considered more of a right that a luxury product.” It is reassuring to know that Ryan does not represent the views of multiple males, and has not gained respect or laughs for his antics.

My own picture: Hub Toilets

Although there will always be boys like Ryan who are either completely ignorant to female health, or are trying to be funny by talking about it, it is good to know that not all men are as out of touch about periods as we may think. The accepting and understanding attitudes from most men is a huge step in the right direction towards females not being ashamed of their bodies or its functions. It seems that Ryan has now been sufficiently educated by the internet and was recently dumped by his girlfriend because of his tweet. It even seems as though he got what he deserved.  (Many thanks to Ewan Campbell, Neil Matheson, Matthew Gibson and Andrew Burns for reading the tweets and taking the time to give me their opinions about them)