Written by Tyra Mills, Social Media Editor
Every woman can relate to the feeling of anxiousness her period produces. She thinks, “Is it leaking through my pants? Do I smell? Are people staring at me?” and the list goes on.
Having a period has its downsides naturally: cramping, mood swings, and other pains. But to have society add even more insult to injury has become the norm and it is quite frustrating. When did having a period become some sort of curse? We can’t help it, its how our bodies biologically operate, so why does it feel like society bullies us about it rather than try to help and support us?
Period shaming happens everyday, sometimes unintentionally but more times than not on purpose. The scariest part of period shaming is the fact that a lot of women don’t even realize how affected they are by this toxic thinking.
Women are embarrassed when they are caught having pads or tampons in their possession in public because we are taught to conceal it at all costs. It’s almost like an undercover drug deal just to ask another woman if she has a tampon you can borrow. We whisper as not to disrupt other people with our natural body problems. But why is it seen as a “problem”? A visible leak to a woman is the end of her reputation, but why? Why is this something we have become ashamed of? Why do people mock it as disgusting? It is natural, it is something we cannot stop, and it is apart of the female body.
However, when it comes to advertising or marketing for period products, ad companies choose to make periods seem like a disaster or problem that needs to be fixed. They make it seem like having a period is a curse that we must fight and defeat. They use words like “cleaner,” “easier to manage,” and “embarrassing” to give off the notion that having a period is an issue. This only helps to perpetuate the idea that periods are anything but natural and are almost offensive to those who don’t have them.
Throughout history, periods have been saturated with all type of connotations. In the Bible, at Leviticus 15:19, it says that if you touch a woman that is menstruating you will be defiled “until evening.” It also says that anything she touches or lays on will also be defiled. The Qur’ran states at 2:222 not to touch a woman until she’s “purified of it.” Pliny the Elder of Ancient Rome was also quoted saying “their bite becomes poisonous as in rabies.”
Not only are these ideologies from the past, they are still theories people live by to this day. There are people that actually believe that women shouldn’t water plants if they are on their periods because it will kill the plants. People actually think menstruating women shouldn’t swim because it will attract sharks.
Can we please put an end to these myths, misconceptions and connotations? People with uteruses are going to be menstruating as long as they are on this earth. It is not a curse, it is not a natural disaster and it is not going to stop. Can we learn to make menstruation a celebration, rather then an uncomfortable topic?
I can only wonder if period shaming would exist if men could menstruate…