Periods are a natural, crucial part of life. They signify health and fertility, yet are met with shame and negativity. Period shaming gives us the impression that we should keep our periods a secret. That they’re embarrassing and we need to hide our tampons up our sleeves.
But it’s time for change. It’s 2021 after all!
Saying ‘NO’ to period shaming
We are all about being period powerful and saying ‘NO’ to period shaming! We aren’t saying you have to stand on the street shouting ‘IM ON MY PERIOD’ (unless that’s your thing). But, if we accept/encourage shaming and negativity, menstruators will feel forced to deal with menstruation in silence. Talking about periods is vital, otherwise, how will we know what’s ‘normal’ or not? How will we know what products suit our lifestyle or budget best? And how will we know how to best manage symptoms of menstruation?
Changing the way we think about, talk about and care about periods can help end the shame, break the silence and alter attitudes towards periods.
The comments we all know and hate
Unfortunately, the majority of us have experienced some form of period shaming. In this blog, we’re acknowledging some of the most common period shaming comments we can all relate to. (We definitely don’t advise surrounding yourself with people that make these types of comments!)
“You’re in a bad mood, you must be on your period”
No, we don’t have to be on our period for an emotion to occur. We can all admit that our emotions are more all over the place when our hormones are raging. But saying to a menstruator that a situation has occurred because ‘they are PMSing’ is never a clever idea! It shows a lack of understanding of menstruation, and let’s face it, often comes off as patronising.
Comments such as “that explains why you’ve been in a bad mood the past couple of days” or “Why are you in a bad mood, are you due on?” or even “Someone is due on their period” suggests we can’t naturally express emotions. We are human and shouldn’t be shamed for doing so! Plus, this type of comment opens a can of worms if the person isn’t on their period.
“Cramps can’t be that bad”
We all experience cramps differently. Some menstruators really suffer from menstrual cramps, others not so much. But we can all agree that if we say we are in pain, the cramps are “that bad”. Menstruators shouldn’t be made to feel that they are overreacting to their cramp pain and be silenced by this type of comment. Talking about our pain helps establish what is and isn’t ‘normal’. People who suffer from extreme period pains could be suffering from an underlying condition and need support and encouragement.
To tell someone their cramps are not ‘that bad’ undermines their pain. Menstrual cramps are muscle contractions and it can occur in the lower abdomen, upper thighs, or lower back. Some people perhaps with an underlying condition can get such severe cramps that they even pass out! So, it’s important to understand a stray comment such as this can have a big impact. It can be the difference between someone seeing their pain as severe, and therefore going to a GP, or seeing their pain as trivial leading the person to just put up with it in silence.
There is definitely nothing ‘gross’ about being on your period. It isn’t unsanitary or un-hygienic, so don’t let anyone make you think it is! It’s a natural and necessary bodily function.
We like to challenge this comment with a question – why is it gross? Maybe the person making the comment needs to think about why they think it’s gross.
That’s all we have to say on this one!
Let’s replace shameful comments with positive ones. Periods are part of life so let’s talk about them! No shame, no negativity.
Support other menstruators, encourage others to learn/talk about menstruation and carry your tampons/pads with pride.
If you see someone who has leaked, help them and reassure them it’s not embarrassing! Carry spare products around as someone at work or in the public toilet may need them.
Even if you do not get periods, make the effort to learn about this and understand the impact shaming has on menstruators all over the world.
Together we can change attitudes towards periods!
We hope this blog has helped you feel #PeriodPowerful! Let us know what you think in the comments below or tweet us @totmorganic! For some #PeriodPowerful inspo, meet our pioneers here. These women are all working hard to make a difference in the world of menstruation.