It’s Time to End Period Stigma

I would like to preface this article with a quick note: Every woman is completely entitled to her own thoughts, feelings and opinions in regards to her menstrual cycle. This article is in no way trying to bash how any woman feels about her period. This article is simply the thoughts, beliefs and opinions of one woman: myself. If you love the article and agree with it, please feel free to share it! If you disagree with the article, you have every right to, and I still thank you for taking the time to read it. In conclusion, every woman is beautiful and so is her period. 

I remember the day my period came. I was in the eighth grade and I woke up for school, covered in blood. I quickly ran to the bathroom while simultaneously crying for my mother. I cleaned myself up, my mom gave my some of her feminine products and I was allowed to stay home from school that day. That was about seven years ago, and I never thought that I would be writing a public article talking about periods, but I feel that it is an important subject to talk about freely. It is time to step out from behind the flowery tampon commercials and the displays of pads absorbing blue liquid; let’s get real here about periods.

Stop Hiding

Ever since that fateful morning in the eighth grade, I have felt like I needed to hide my period. I needed to hide my pad or my tampon as I went to the bathroom. I would carry my purse with me to the bathroom and almost felt this embarrassment like everyone knew why I was carrying my purse there. I would feel embarrassed as I put a box of tampons or pads on the conveyor belt at the drug store. Why? Why do I and other women feel this way? This need to hide our feminine products as we go to the bathroom as if we have something to be ashamed of. Having a period is NOTHING to be ashamed of. It is a completely normal and healthy part of being a woman.

Public Restrooms

Most women have noticed that the majority of public restrooms do not have a dispensary for feminine products, and if they do, the products are extremely low quality. This poses an issue for women who may have started their period while out at Target, or at a restaurant or at the movies. Now, most women are usually prepared for this because we have learned to not rely on public restrooms for our pad, tampon or pantie liner needs. But, we women are not perfect and sometimes we are caught off guard without any form of period protection. It is not irrational to expect public restrooms to adequately provide for women’s period needs. Half the world’s population currently does, or will, or has had, a monthly period.

“Are You on Your Period?”

If I had a dime for every time I heard this phrase, I would be lounging on my own private island somewhere. I cannot stand this phrase. It is used as a derogatory phrase toward both men and women. For men, it is something they may hear from their friends or their peers. For example, a man has had a long day at school or work and does not want to join his friends for a drink. He explains this and his friends respond, “What are you on your period?” The same is for women. If a woman shows the smallest sign of irritability or frustration (i.e. normal human emotions), she can be instantly hit with, “What are you on your period?” I despise the fact that periods are directly correlated with someone being irrational or moody. Maybe, someone is just having an off day. Or, yes, she may be on her period. There is still no reason to use this derogatory phrase toward anyone.

“She Can’t be President”

I have honestly heard adults say that a woman cannot be president or hold any type of leadership position because what will happen when she’s on her period? Oooooo, I don’t know. Maybe she will release the codes for the nukes and completely destroy our earth, or even worse, maybe your lady boss will fire you on the spot because you dropped her coffee!!! Women can’t possibly hold leadership positions because they will just be so emotional and irrational during that time of the month, right? Umm, wrong. Women (and people) have this wonderful thing called self-control. Yes, your lady boss or our future Madame President may be on her period, but that is not going to affect her ability to lead. She could be having a rough day (due to bleeding, cramps, fatigue, bloating, and a plethora of other symptoms), but she isn’t going to let that affect her doing her job, trust me on that one. Women are some serious warriors.

Don’t Downplay the Symptoms

Speaking of period symptoms, don’t downplay them. For some women, periods are extremely painful. The cramping can be so bad that they cannot even get out of the bed, or they have to go to the Emergency Room. And it isn’t just cramping. The headaches, the bloating, the constant feeling of tiredness, and the annoyance of blood. Period symptoms are very real.

Don’t Talk About It

From the moment I got my period until just a few months ago, I felt awkward or embarrassed to talk about it. I mean the word “period” can really turn some heads or silence a room. I thought about why I was feeling so embarrassed and I could not find any reason of logic except for the fact that society tells women not to talk about their periods in public, especially around men (i.e. their male friends, their dad, brother, etc.). I felt that being embarrassed to talk about it in public was nonsensical. I am a woman and my period is a part of my life and a part of my awesome womanhood; I don’t want to feel like I have to whisper about it.

These are just my thoughts on what I have personally experienced and witnessed as a woman with a period. Some may completely relate to these topics, some may not at all. I am hoping this article can add to the continuance of a dialogue on periods. It is 2017, there is no reason to let periods be something that both men and women can’t talk about and ask questions about. Periods are not always awesome, but they should be celebrated. We should teach our girls that they should not be ashamed about their period and that a period is a sign of feminine health.

It’s time to end period stigma. 

So, Collegiettes, let's end it.