Why Are Women So Scared To Talk About Their Period?

I know this might surprise you, but since the beginning of time, women have bled out of their vaginas. 

I know. Crazy, right? 

The correct answer is NO!

20th Century Fox Television / Giphy

So, if periods are something that women have been dealing with since the beginning of time, why are we still so terrified to talk about them? Why, unlike other taboos such as sugar companionship, sex work, and gay pride, menstration is still something that’s quite hush-hush? Why do women still feel the need to hide their pads and tampons when they go to the bathroom? Why are we as women so comfortable to talk about it freely with people of that community (aka women) and with people outside that community (aka men) it’s still super hush-hush, when men are fully aware (while definitely not fully educated) that women get periods? 

Periods, while unpleasant, painful, and just plain awful, are a natural and necessary thing for women. Without it, we couldn’t have children. So if this process is natural, why is it still so taboo? One reason is because it’s gross. I mean, blood is repulsive and when it comes out the same region as your urine, it’s even more gross. Another is because society encourages women to be quiet and submissive rather than loud and dominant like men are encouraged to be (read my “Being A Bad Bitch Isn’t A Bad Thing” article for more on that). Another is the fact that it happens to a woman. 

Throughout history, women have constantly been underestimated, belittled, and viewed as lesser than. And women have repeatedly proved the world wrong. Just look at Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I, Gloria Steinem, and Kamala Harris. There’s one thing that all these women have in common, besides making history. They have all menstruated. Even childless Queen Elizabeth I menstruated. As Daphne in Bridgerton showed us, women have menstruated since forever, since before pads and tampons were even invented. This isn’t a new idea. They had cramps and pains and aches and some of them even dealt with it before the invention of IbuProfen. That’s strength right there. So if women have to endure a monthly menstrual reckoning, why are they still considered the “weaker sex”? If anything, going through excruiating pain once a month for years on end makes women the strongest sex. 

20th Century Fox Television / Giphy

During winter break, I was talking to my mom while cooking dinner and we vented about all the frustration women deal with, which we often do. Over the course of this particular conversation my dad walked into the kitchen. Around this time, my mom and I started to talk about the Pink Tax, or the Tampon Tax. This is a tax specific for feminine hygiene products such as menstrual products. Yes, women are taxed for something that is necessary for their health. It’s extremely sexist. My dad was shocked. He didn’t know what the pink tax was or that it even existed. He, a cis white man in his 50s, was furious. This is the same fury women have dealt with since the beginning of time. This just goes to show how much men need to be educated about the frustration dealt with on a daily basis. 

Another sexist way periods are talked about, or I guess not talked about, is on vampire shows. It makes no sense that a vampire, a creature that smells and feeds on blood, wouldn’t be able to smell a woman on her period. However, no vampire show or movie (yes, even HBO’s boundary-pushing show 'True Blood'), ever mentions the existence of periods. It’s as if the women in these shows, women who get pregnant (like Sookie Stackhouse and Caroline Forbes in 'The Vampire Diaries') don’t menstruate, when menstruation is vital for pregnancy. How messed up is that? 

I follow so many accounts on Instagram that post ~graphic~ photos of pads and tampons, even bloody menstrual products (I know, it’s totally ~shocking~) to try and break the stigma against periods. They try to encourage women to talk openly about menstruation, which I very much agree with. Getting your period is a basic biological function like going to the bathroom or growing hair on your head, so for that reason alone, it shouldn’t be viewed as a taboo anymore. It should be discussed not just in a pseudo-therapy session amongst girls, but also with boys. Even though it doesn’t happen to them, they should still be educated about it. 

Here are resources to check out on Instagram and just around the internet:

Always.com

Tampax.com

@itsaugust

 

Happy bleeding!