Are You on Your Period or Something?

Dear Fellow Women Who Menstruate, 

Let me set a scene for you. You’re showing emotion about a situation--for once, you finally feel close enough to the person to let someone see how much even something that seems small hurts you. Maybe you’re even told to hold your emotions in and someone sees that you’re upset.

Then, of course, these words are uttered, for the thousandth time in your life, from your interlocutor, “Are you on your period or something?”

Sigh.

Many women’s emotions and passionate views that they have are often discredited by these very words. Why must others make women feel as though their periods should be a cause of embarrassment? A woman’s bodily functions should be embraced and rejoiced (because, hello, those same body parts made the human being who is then shaming a woman’s period). Rather than allowing women to feel comfortable about their own bodily functions, we have created a society in which people are apt to make a woman feel as though she must hide her tampons and pads, her emotions, her own body. All this, in order to fit into the mold that the period-shaming society has created for each and every woman.

Why should girls be taught to be embarrassed of boys seeing their pads and tampons? Why should women care about if the boys in their class think that periods are “gross”? I feel as though this seemingly small act is a consequence of a larger issue in our patriarchal/women-subordinating society. A girl taught that she must subordinate her body in lieu of making a boy less ignorant of the situation, and therefore less “grossed-out,” seems very probable to be but yet another instance of women today subordinating themselves for the sake of pleasing men.

This disparity between men and women that is exemplified in period shaming extends to a financial impact on women as well. Women are taxed for every box of pads, tampons, and other sanitary supplies that we need for our period, while the government deems it a “luxury.” As women, it is very clear that this is no luxury, as that implies that we can willingly stop and start menstruating. Periods are naturally occurring either every month, or for some irregularly without warning, therefore we must stock up on these sanitary supplies ahead of time, which adds up very quickly. With this absurdity coming to the attention of female congressmen, a bill is in place to abolish this tax, and New York is already on its way to denouncing it soon.

So, fellow menstruating women, I leave you with this: never feel the need to hide yourself for the sake of another’s comfort. Be happy and rejoice in the gift that nature has bestowed upon you. 

Sincerely, 

An Outraged (But Not Ashamed) Woman