Have you ever felt ashamed or uncomfortable about menstruating? Like menstruating and people finding out can be potentially mortifying? I’ve felt that since the first week I experienced menstruation. I don’t know why, but once it started I felt like I was gross. It was like something dreadful and terrible had begun. And the first thing I learned about it was all the different names there is to refer to menstruation. Cycle, period (the one I usually use), shark-week, that-time-of-the-month, la regla, and many others. But, why do we need to call it for something other than it’s real name?
This is where the taboo comes into light. There has been a negative connotation towards menstruation since sooo many years ago, it is actually baffling. There’s a mention of it in the Bible:
“…in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean… whoever touches…shall be unclean and shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening” (Leviticus 15)
and in the Quran…
“…go apart from women during the monthly course, do not approach them until they are clean…” (Quran 2:222)
they even mention it in the first Latin Encyclopedia…
“Contact with [menstrual blood] turns new wine sour, crops touched by it become barren, grafts die, seed in gardens are dried up, the fruit of trees fall off, the edge of steel and the gleam of ivory are dulled, hives of bees die, even bronze and iron are at once seized by rust, and a horrible smell fills the air; to taste it drives dogs mad and infects their bites with an incurable poison .” (1).
So yes, those have a big influence on why we perceive periods as such a negative and impure, and borderline unnatural, when it is completely the opposite. One might ask, “So what if we I don’t call menstruation by its proper name? That’s no big deal!”, but that’s not the point. Call it what you want, it doesn’t really make a difference, to me at least. It’s about all the negative feelings that come from this whole taboo. How you feel embarrassment when you must get a pad or tampon from your bag and walk all the way to restrooms with it in your hands. How it is used as an insult when a woman is upset or speaking her mind about an issue. How there is probably a few things more embarrassing than staining your pants with menstrual blood by accident.
There are some societies that see menstruation as a natural, powerful and sacred process. So, I wonder, why can’t we let go of the taboo around periods too? Menstruation is the root of fertility. It’s where life begins. Without it, none of us would be here right now. I don’t understand how something so important can be viewed in such a negative light.
All this uncomfortableness surrounding something so natural and common is just ridiculous. There should be no shame in menstruation. There should be no shame in walking towards a stall with a tampon in your hand, and no shame if you accidentally leaked and stained your pants, or no shame if you want to engage in sexual relations whilst on your period. None. There is nothing wrong about a natural process nearly every woman on Earth must go through. No more blue liquids being spilled on pads because a red liquid would be too realistic and too “offensive”.
I want my future daughter (if I have one), and the future female generations to grow up feeling comfortable about their periods. To know that they are not alone in this. That they can talk about it freely without feeling gross or inappropriate. That having their menstruation is a sign of a (potentially) healthy and functioning body. We should strive for a more open and accepting society, where we can at least not feel embarrassed about something our bodies have to do and we cannot help. There are far more gross and offensive things in our society than a little blood, but I digress. Let’s be period positive, folks. We owe it to ourselves as women and men of the modern day.