It seemed fairly straightforward when it was explained to us in year 7 PDHPE; you bleed, it’s natural, you’re a woman, it’s life. So why are we still so embarrassed? 

For centuries women have gone to great lengths in order to hide the symptoms of menstruation. Preferring instead, to mask the tell-tale signs behind a series of strategic manoeuvres. Females employ these tactics for a number of reasons, primarily out of an intrinsic fear that society will – god forbid – know the dreadful truth about the circumstances of their visit to the bathroom.

OHHHHHHH THE HORRRRRORRRRRRRR!

Let’s be real, we’ve all been here before. However, whilst unintentional, women are actually perpetuating period shame by avoiding the topic altogether (guilty)! So we’ve compiled a list of reprehensible habits that women adopted in order to hide their periods.

  • Placing tampons/pads up your sleeves/down your pants/in your pockets/ in your wallet, in order to sneak them to the bathrooms unnoticed.
  • Employing an unreasonable degree of care and delicacy to open the packaging of your feminine products so that it goes unheard in the bathrooms.
  • Subtly visiting the bathroom at tactical times of the day, when you think no one will notice.
  • Carrying a bag, clutch or handbag with you ALL DAY just to transport your feminine products.
  • Taking the entire day off school/work when your period coincides with; swimming class, athletics carnival, exam time, dance class, team bonding, group workouts etc.
  • Overthinking how long you are spending in the bathroom, or how many times you have gone that day.
  • Utilizing all kinds of excuses to avoid telling your partner/boyfriend/male friends the real reason you don’t want to hang out.

 

And the list goes on.

So what can we do to change the stigma? How do we fight ‘period shame’ in the public realm?

Here are a couple of initiatives that are working towards the elimination of period shaming and the normalisation of menstruation. Check them out for a bloody-good change of perspective.

Shark Week – Tsunohttps://www.facebook.com/events/775526035886594/

Women can have around 450 periods during their lifetime, which on average equates to around two months each year; yet, discussions surrounding them are still often hushed. Tsuno is working with others around the world, to try and change that.

‘There Will Be Blood’ – Emma Avrida Bystromhttp://www.vice.com/read/there-will-be-blood 

Photographer, Emma Arvida Bystrom posted “There Will Be Blood,” a fashion spread, in Vice depicting women engaging in everyday acts (studying, making out, waiting for a bus) with bloodstains blooming around the crotches of their outfits.

Team Thinxhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-MQyta6aLc

Thinx is committed to breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation

“We see a world where no woman is held back by her body. We will work proudly and tirelessly until every single girl has an equal opportunity for the brighter future she deserves.

By reimagining feminine hygiene products to provide support, comfort, confidence, and peace of mind, we aim to eliminate shame, empowering women and girls around the world.”

So what can you do to help?

TALK ABOUT IT! Periods are 100% natural and normal. So why shy away? You are a magical creature that has the ability to create human life. It’s time we start embracing the process and not just the result.