Read on to learn about the top five ways how to end menstruation stigma.
Let’s start this with a little story!
There was a girl named Neelam. One evening, she was playing with her friends, and suddenly she felt uncomfortable.
She went home and used the bathroom, and terrified and confused by the view, she thought to tell this to her mother.
But Neelam got scared and couldn’t muster the courage to speak to her mother.
Days went by, and she struggled continuously. And finally, troubled by her situation, she broke her silence and spoke to her mother.
She immediately comforted Neelam and walked her through the process of periods and menstruation.
Neelam felt at home after days of struggle and confusion.
Of course, this was not some fictional story but the tale of thousands of girls who, after crossing puberty, start menstruating.
And their first experience can be something like this or even worse if they are not aware of the biology of menstruation and other related significant information.
Even though it is a very natural process, menstruation stigma is not leaving us behind, even in the 21st century.
People still hesitate to talk about periods in the open and acknowledge it with some weird code words in a hush-hush manner.
Not to mention, the menstruation stigma is prevalent around the world, of course, in different degrees and forms.
However, according to reports, period stigma and poverty are likely to be more prevalent in developing countries, especially among the indigent community.
Following studies, a lot of women still go through “period shaming,’ making them even more embarrassed about this biological process.
The consequences of menstruation stigma can be very harmful, especially for women’s mental health.
Besides, this preconceived notion of periods being only a woman’s problem doesn’t serve any good either.
It creates yet another divide between men and women, in spite of making us more inclusive and united.
How Does Menstruation Stigma Manifest In Our Society?
The menstrual cycle is not a new concept. Even someone 40 years ago was having their periods, and it’s okay.
However, the stigma around periods is so strong that it manifests its consequences in various different ways.
Shaming and Embarrassment:
Period stigma stems from a lot of different cultural and traditional norms and beliefs. This natural biological process gets seen as some form of impurity or dirtiness.
Even today, in some households, girls are asked to use different rooms and eat in different areas of the home. Why? Just because they are bleeding and it is supposedly dirty and impure.
This not only increases period shaming but also pushes young girls to bottle up their feelings and emotions around menstruation even more.
Also, it slowly becomes a generational thing. If your mom is teaching you to perceive periods as something worthy of being kept secret and not talked about, the chances are that you are also going to pass on the same ideology to your daughter.
Isn’t it? Is it going to be useful and progressive? We need to ask ourselves with utmost honesty!
Hush Hush Conversations:
The biggest sign of period stigma comes when we use these weird code names for menstruation, like “Aunt Flow,” “Shark Week,” or God knows what more names there are for describing this natural process.
In many households still today, girls are asked to hide their pads and tampons from the eyes of the males in the house.
Because of these hush-hush conversations, menstruation stigma is still so widespread today, even when we are surpassing every possible technological innovation you can think of.
Poor Access to Sanitary Products:
According to studies, period poverty is a serious consequence of the stigma around menstruation.
A 2021 study even showed that 14% of college-attending women in the United States had experienced period poverty in that year, with an additional 10% experiencing it every month.
These numbers can be even more massive in the case of some developing countries. The problem is huge, and we’ve got to do something about it.
How to End Menstruation Stigma and Normalise Conversations
Here are some of the effective ways to end period stigma:
Talk about periods openly:
The very first solution regarding how to end menstruation stigma starts with talking about it openly.
Start conversations around periods from a non-judgmental stance.
Normalise daily chit-chats on menstruation and how it is a normal part of a woman’s biology.
And most importantly, stop using these euphemisms for acknowledging the menstrual cycle.
Say No To Period Shaming (Stand Against It):
If you are witnessing a woman getting shamed or called names for bleeding, take a strong stand right there and then. Speak up and stop period shaming from happening.
Educate the unaware about the natural biological procedure of menstruation and how it is one of the biggest reasons for reproduction and human survival.
Involve men on the scene:
Menstruation awareness and acceptance can’t be done without involving men on the scene.
First of all, this perception that periods are just a woman’s problem is wrong on so many levels.
Men make up more than half of the world’s population. Their involvement in this movement becomes highly crucial.
And there’s no two ways about it.
However, according to sources, men feel extremely hesitant when it comes to talking about periods.
Also, according to a report published on Girl Up, men feel more comfortable discussing periods with other men than women.
So, it’s high time we start seeing menstruation stigma as a societal issue, other than putting it into the bracket of some gender.
Promote Better Period Policies at Work:
If you are someone who has never menstruated in their entire life, it can be difficult for you to wrap your head around period cramps and pain.
It can be intense, painful, and weird in uncountable ways. Women who are bleeding need attention, care, and kindness.
And if not given proper care, it can lead to poor women’s mental health.
A lot of women find it difficult to go to work while on their periods. Therefore, the implementation of better policies around women’s menstruation is a must.
It allows women to rest and give attention to themselves when they need it the most.
Improve Access to Sanitary Products:
If you are someone from a well-to-do, middle-class background and have access to all your basic necessities (sanitary products are basic to have), it might be difficult for you to fathom this issue.
However, there are women who can’t even afford basic sanitary pads and are pushed to use clothes or paper while they bleed.
And it can be so harmful and dangerous for their reproductive and physical health.
It can lead to urinary tract infections, vaginal diseases, and other problems in women. Some women even reuse these materials during their periods.
That can be harmful to women’s health in so many ways, to say the least.
More clear representation in media:
In 2023, the media is undoubtedly one of the most powerful sources of information and representation for the world.
We need more and more acknowledgment and clear portrayal of the stigma around menstruation on our television boxes, movies, shows, web series, and more.
To let you know, according to the following sources, a decade ago things were even more depressing in terms of period awareness and hygiene.
The representation of periods was almost zilch some years ago. However, things have started changing for the better since 2015.
Things Have Changed For The Better Since 2015-
According to sources, before the year 2015, things were very bad when it came to period awareness and genuine depiction in the media.
Shockingly, even sanitary product advertisements used to show blood in blue and not red.
However, things have gotten better over the years, especially after 2015.
This massive shift happened when the #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult hashtag was born in August 2015 after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that GOP debate moderator Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever.”
The hashtag started circulating on the internet like a widespread fire, with more and more people chiming in on the conversation around period shaming, and that’s how the whole online activism started in 2015 to fight back against period stigma.
Also, a feminist and singer, Kiran Gandhi, raced the London marathon without using feminine hygiene products in April 2015.
She was living in Los Angeles and participated in the London Marathon while on menstruation without using any feminine hygiene products. And that created a huge wave of period awareness globally.
In order to inspire women to not feel self-conscious about their periods, she wanted to let her blood flow freely. And that one incident is believed to have changed a lot of mindsets around periods in the media.
Gandhi, who finished the race with a spot of blood on the crotch of her vibrant orange leggings, feels that the ability to discuss periods freely is the largest stride in the revolution.
She said, “So many people are weighing in about the problems they currently face with their periods. It makes people empowered to speak about their own bodies.”
And the biggest victory came when the United States observed its inaugural National Period Day in 2019 for the very first time.
It was the creation of podcaster and menstrual justice activist Nadya Okamoto, whose group PERIOD promoted societal and legislative change related to periods.
Menstruation Hygiene Day 2023 (How to End Period Stigma)-
We will be celebrating Menstruation Hygiene Day 2023 on May 28, 2023.
The theme of this year’s Menstruation Hygiene Day is to make menstruation a normal part of life. It is a great step forward on how to end menstruation stigma.
By 2030, the overriding objective is to create a society in which nobody is restricted because they menstruate, says the Menstruation Hygiene Organisation.
Menstruation is not some new concept that surfaced out of the blue. People used to menstruate even in ancient times.
Menstruation was regarded as a sign of fertility and a good omen for the home in the Babylonian, Hindu, and Chinese ancient civilizations.
In fact, the menstrual lady was regarded as the most significant individual and was shown respect by society, according to the Aztecs and the Mayans.
So, periods are not something to be ashamed of and should be out of our hush-hush conversations. Indeed!
Before wrapping up this, I would like you to leave with this quote to nudge on how to end menstruation stigma-
“Menstruation is just a way for your body to let go of something that is no longer needed. Menstruation is a small price you pay for being blessed with the grandest gift you can ever wish for, and that is to have the privilege to give birth.”
How to end menstruation stigma? Let us know your ideas and suggestions on this topic!
To get such special Hollywood Stories, Celeb Top Secrets, World News, Interesting Facts, and the Latest USA Updates from the Entertainment News, please like the Facebook page of our website Freaky Funtoosh and follow us on social media. You will keep getting Notifications of articles published from time to time on your mobile.