The Need to Break Taboo on Periods

Chloe Lendi, Writer

In spite of all social advancements that have contributed to the better treatment of women today, there still remains a stigma that goes unnoticed because it has been engraved into our society: periods.

Thanks to the Short Subject Documentary “Period. End of Sentence,” menstruation was acknowledged for the first time in Hollywood and had drawn attention to the stigma that surrounds periods in India.

Both genders were interviewed and were highly uneducated on what a period is. When the men in India were asked what a period is, they responded by saying it was an illness that mainly affected women.

The women only knew they bleed to have babies and did not know how to use a pad when handed one.

The lack of education in India can also be seen in the United States.

In our community, students are required to take a health class in the seventh grade, which is the only health education children will receive during their teenage years.

This class did not cover menstruation, which is dangerous because girls tend to begin their periods at that age.

Without a proper education, we become ignorant and turn a blind eye to important subjects that are relevant in our everyday society.

It is also human nature to stereotype and place labels on something they do not know, such as periods.

Periods are seen as gross and make people uncomfortable, especially for men. Men will never have a period and do not have experience to talk from. This makes the subject hard for them to discuss, which leads them to avoid the topic of menstruation all together.

When society places the label “gross” on periods, women feel ashamed and embarrassed to have something natural happen to them that they cannot control.

Many females will hide their tampons or pads up their sleeves, in their shirts, and in their pockets when they need to change their product.

I have witnessed my peers, including myself, trying to sneak a pad from my backpack into my pocket without anyone noticing, and when someone notices, we turn red.

Not only has the embarrassment of holding a feminine product been normalized, but also the tax placed on these items. Women have periods every month. It’s not like we can choose when and where we get it.

If we have a natural body cycle happening to us until we are 45-50 years old, how are we supposed to afford a box that costs us $10 every month? A woman spends around $120 per year on sanitary products.

What about the homeless women who can’t even afford a meal?

What about the women who live paycheck to paycheck and barely have $10 to sacrifice on tampons?

Period poverty exists, and is highly dangerous because women resort to cloth, which can cause infections and diseases.

Society should stop avoiding discussion of periods. They should start igniting them.

We need to stop assuming they are gross and icky.

Let’s start educating ourselves. Let’s stop charging women for something that they can’t control. We need to begin to see tampons and pads as a necessity, not a luxury.