Back in school, finals month used to be the most stressful time of our lives, for all the obvious reasons.
That is, until our periods showed up.
Period week was the absolute worst. Finals week was NOTHING when compared to the horror of getting your period. It wasn’t the period itself that made going to school horrible, it was the huge tension that came along with it, some of which were: our skirts getting stained, forgetting our pads, pads being visible through our skirts. The root cause of this tension was: embarrassment. Going to the store and asking for a pad in hushed tones, the fear that people will notice and point out the stains on our skirt, just plain old embarrassment.
WHY? Just…. WHY?
Aren’t periods a normal body function? So why should we be embarrassed about stains and pads? What’s more, mine was an all-girls school. Don’t each of us go through the exact same thing every month? Why weren’t we thought NOT to be embarrassed by all of this?
Why don’t we just normalize periods?
Why is it that we tend to whisper “I got my period” to our friends instead of talking in normal tones? Why do we speak about it in hushed tones? Why do people act like they’ve seen something crazy when they see a pad? Why do I have to hide my pad inside a cover and then inside my pockets like I’m smuggling drugs?
Some women are still worried about what others might think when you get loud about it. They don’t want others to feel embarrassed listening to the period conversation. Like girl, isn’t it bad enough that we’re oppressed by the patriarchy, now we’ve got to suffer through our uterus eating itself in SILENCE?! REALLY NOW?!
And yet, we have immature folks who act like periods are the most disgusting things in the world, the ones who make weird facial expressions and say stuff like “Yuck stop talking about all of that”, and avoid all conversations about periods. I remember my guy friends getting disgusted when the girls and I complain about our cramps and how painful the flow is. These guys spend their time shooting and killing stuff in video games and watch movies filled with blood and gore, but apparently they’re okay with watching fictional blood squirt out of people’s heads, while actual blood, which isn’t even visible to them, is disgusting. OK as a woman who is suffering, I can be as disgusted as I want. But if you don’t have a uterus, then in the wise words of Rachel Greene, “no uterus, no opinion!”
There was another instance where a friend of mine wanted to buy a pack of pads, and I asked her did she have a particular brand in mind. Now because I asked her that question in front of our entire gang which comprises of guys as well, she got annoyed and yelled at me. Oh I’m sorry, I forgot that men’s ears are so fragile that they fall off every time they hear us talk about periods- and that’s exactly what I told her.
For me, personally, I don’t care. Gone are the days when I used to be embarrassed. I whip my pad out like a bag of chips in the middle of a lecture, or in the bus like it’s no big deal because hey, it’s not some great secret that girls get the monthly flow.
We need to start teaching girls not to be embarrassed about any of this, that it’s not the end of the world when your dress is stained, and at the same time we must teach or rather drill into people’s heads that it is NOT OKAY to point such things out. Heck, we need to normalize talking about periods, not just among women, but among everyone.
And on a VERY serious note, can we please start having gift coupons for food along with every pack of pads that we buy? Discounts, gift vouchers, coupons for food, chocolates or ice-cream?
Can we start a petition?
or E-mail: email@example.com
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